Owner Oakwood Stable, trainer Julie Gomena, and jockey Carl Rafter enjoyed banner afternoons on Saturday, May 15, when they scored victories in major races at the Radnor Hunt Races in Malvern, Pa., and the Strawberry Hill Races at Colonial Downs in New Kent, Va.
The owner, trainer, and jockey combined for a nose victory by Country Cousin in the $50,000 National Hunt Cup, the richest race on the 80th Radnor Hunt Races program. Country Cousin just got the better of The Fields Stable’s Left Unsaid, the 2009 novice champion who was ridden by Ross Geraghty. Mrs. S. K. Johnston Jr.’s Ambersham finished third in a field of seven. Country Cousin ran the National Hunt Cup’s 2 3/8 miles over National Fences in 4:40 1/5.
A seven-year-old Lear Fan gelding, Country Cousin collected his third straight victory and came into the Radnor race, a Sport of Kings novice stakes, from a sparkling seven-length victory in the Glenwood Hurdle at the Middleburg Spring Races in Middleburg, Va., on April 17.
Immediately before the National Hunt Cup, Rafter rode Meet At Eleven to a more comfortable 3 1/4-length victory in the $40,000 Radnor Hunt Cup over timber fences. The Whacker finished second, and Music To My Ears was third in a field of six. Todd McKenna trains Keystone Thoroughbreds’ Meet At Eleven, who ran the Radnor Hunt Cup’s 3 1/4 miles in 7:01 2/5.
Rafter closed out Radnor’s six-race program with a victory aboard Chadds Ford Stables’ Saluda Sam in the $20,000 Henry Collins, a maiden hurdle. Saluda Sam is trained by Kathy N. McKenna, who also won Radnor’s Milfern Cup, a Sport of Kings maiden hurdle, with Move Up Stable’s Quiet Approval.
In a day of doubles, 2009 champion jockey Paddy Young scored with Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Mabou in the $30,000 Vita C. Thompson Memorial and with Barracuda Stable’s Eagle Beagle in the $25,000 James M. Moran Jr., a Sport of Kings maiden hurdle.
Oakwood and Gomena notched their second victory of the afternoon when Virginia Minstrel hit all the right notes in a 6 1/4-length score in the $25,000 Strawberry Hill Classic at the 78th edition of the Strawberry Hill Races. Expel finished second, and Prince Rahy was third.
Matt McCarron rode Virginia Minstrel, a Pleasant Tap gelding who ran the Strawberry Hill Classic’s 2 1/4 miles over National Fences in 4:25 2/5. It was the second consecutive victory for Virginia Minstrel, who won the Camden Cup, a Sport of Kings novice maiden hurdle, at the Carolina Cup Races at Camden, S.C., on March 27.
–Written by Don Clippinger