Barnstorming, who roared to a Saratoga Race Course stakes victory last summer, heads a compact field for the $25,000 Sandhills Cup, the featured conditioned allowance hurdle at the 63rd annual Stoneybrook Steeplechase in Raeford, N.C., on Saturday, April 5. First post time for the five-race program is 1:30 p.m.
Trained by his owner, Racing Hall of Fame member Jonathan Sheppard, Barnstorming will be ridden by Bernie Dalton. Barnstorming won the $75,000 Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes by 6 1/4 lengths in August and then competed at the sport’s top level.
After a fifth-place finish in the $250,000 Grand National (Gr. 1) at Far Hills, N.J., in October, he finished a good second in the $100,000 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup in Camden, S.C., on Nov. 23. From seven starts in 2013, the seven-year-old Thunder Gulch gelding earned $93,500.
Irvin S. Naylor, a three-time champion owner, will field veteran British steeplechaser For Non Stop for the 2 3/8-mile Sandhills Cup. Making his U.S. debut, the nine-year-old Irish-bred gelding has earned more than $230,000 in overseas racing. For Non Stop will be making his first start in a year, after a fifth-place finish in the Johns Smith Melling Steeplechase at Aintree. Roddy Mackenzie will ride For Non Stop for trainer Cyril Murphy.
Virginia-based trainer Doug Fout will saddle Betsy Mead’s Forgotten Man, who will be looking to make a strong impression in the Sandhills Cup. He most recently won an allowance hurdle at the International Gold Cup in The Plains, Va., on Oct. 19. Willie McCarthy, currently the National Steeplechase Association leading jockey with four wins, has the mount.
Richard Valentine, a leading Virginia-based trainer, will send out The Elkstone Group’s Albany Road, a maiden hurdle winner at the Fair Hill Races in Maryland last spring before running second in a Saratoga optional allowance. Kieran Norris, last year’s champion apprentice jockey, will ride.
Completing the field is Randleston Farm’s Duc de Savoie, who finished fourth in the Carolina Cup for novices in his only 2013 start. Trainer Jimmy Day named Danielle Hodsdon to ride.
Here are the Sandhills Cup starters in post-position order:
For Non Stop (Ire). 2005 b. g., Alderbrook–Lost Link, by Shernazar (Ire): Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Jockey: Roddy Mackenzie. 2013 NSA record: No starts. 3-1 odds. Making first U.S. start after extensive racing career in England, where he earned more than $230,000, including $52,826 last year. Made most recent start at 2013 Grand National meet at Aintree, where he finished fifth in the John Smiths Melling Steeplechase. Finished second in the Ryanair Festival Trophy Steeplechase at the 2013Cheltenham Festival.
Albany Road. 2007 ch. g., Mr. Greeley—Jane’s the Name, by Trempolino. Owner: The Elkstone Group. Trainer: Richard Valentine. Jockey: Kieran Norris. 2013 NSA record: 6-1-1-1, $31,618. 5-1 odds. Won maiden hurdle at Fair Hill Races in late May before good second to All Together in Saratoga optional allowance on Aug. 1. Finished sixth in Colonial Cup’s allowance hurdle after third in Steeplechase at Callaway’s AFLAC Supreme Hurdle.
Barnstorming. 2006 b. g., Thunder Gulch—Soul of the Cat, by Stravinsky. Owner-trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Bernie Dalton. 2013 record: 7-1-2-0, $93,500. 2012 record: 2-0-0-1, $8,000. 2-1 odds. Finished 2013 with second in Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1) after fifth in the $250,000 Grand National (Gr. 1) at Far Hills, N.J. Rolled to a 6 1/4-length victory in Saratoga Race Course’s Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes after good second in Saratoga’s Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes. Fourth in the National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3) at the Radnor Hunt Races and the Queen’s Cup MPC ‘Chase in North Carolina. Finished fifth in Carolina Cup in his 2013 debut.
Forgotten Man. 2008 ch. g., Bowman’s Band—Hark the Sound (GB), by Robellino. Owner: Betsy Mead. Trainer: Doug Fout. Jockey: Willie McCarthy. 2013 record: 7-1-0-2, $29,850. 6-1 odds. Homebred won International Gold Cup allowance hurdle by a nose after third-place finishes in Carolina Cup and Saratoga optional allowance.
Duc de Savoie. 2006 b. g., Harlan’s Holiday—Tee for Three, by Lil E. Tee. Owner: Randleston Farm. Trainer: Jimmy Day. Jockey: Danielle Hodsdon. 2013 record: 1-0-0-0, $2,500. 2012 NSA record: 6-1-1-0, $24,450. 8-1 odds. In his only 2013 start, finished fourth in Carolina Cup for novices. Pulled up in 2012 Charleston Cup optional allowance hurdle after distant sixth in Foxbrook Champion Hurdle at Far Hills, N.J. Finished seventh, beaten 6 1/4 lengths, in Belmont Park’s 2012 Lonesome Glory Stakes (Gr. 1).