Trainer Alicia Murphy has nominated the two leading prospects for this year’s timber championship–Michael T. Wharton’s Grinding Speed and Armata Stables’ Cornhusker—to the $35,000 National Sporting Library & Museum Cup, the featured race of the 61st annual Virginia Fall Races in Middleburg on Saturday, Oct. 10.
In all, 17 timber specialists were nominated to the 3 1/4-mile race at Glenwood Park Course. A full afternoon of racing will kick off at 1 p.m.
Cornhusker is coming off a dominant victory in Iroquois Steeplechase’s Mason Houghland Memorial on May 9. Three weeks earlier on the Glenwood course, he won the Middleburg Hunt Cup.
Grinding Speed, winner of the My Lady’s Manor and the Virginia Gold Cup in the spring, started his fall campaign with a fourth-place finish in the Legacy Chase over timber at Shawan Downs on Sept. 26.
Jack Fisher, currently on course for his fourth straight champion trainer title, nominated five contenders to the National Sporting Library & Museum Cup. Among them are Sheila Williams’ and Andre Brewster’s Straight to It, who was disqualified to second after finishing first in the Radnor Hunt Cup, and 2014 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup winner Delta Park, campaigned by Arcadia Stable.
Ballylifen and Two’s Company, both owned by Bruton Street-US, won divisions of the John Rush Streett Memorial maiden timber race at My Lady’s Manor. Fisher’s fifth nominee is Northwoods Stable’s Peace Fire, second in the Legacy Chase.
Super Saturday heads leading owner Irv Naylor’s four nominees to the Middleburg race. Trained by Kathy Neilson, Super Saturday finished a close second to Cornhusker in the Middleburg Hunt Cup on April 18. Two Naylor nominees, Chess Board and Personal Brew, are trained by Billy Meister, and Cyril Murphy trains Ebanour.
Meister also nominated Donald Reuwer Jr.’s Grand Manan, seven-length winner of the Valentine Memorial novice timber race at Fair Hill, Md., in May.
Trainer Chris Read nominated the Kinross Farm duo of Schoolhouse Woods and Old Timer. Schoolhouse Woods was an easy winner of the Willowdale Steeplechase on May 10, and Old Timer is coming back after a long layoff.
Magalen O. Bryant’s Dakota Slew, a closing second in the Virginia Gold Cup, was nominated by trainer Richard Valentine. Trainer Doug Fout nominated Al Griffin Jr.’s Aero, winner of the 2011 National Sporting Library.
Here are the nominees to the $35,000 National Sporting Library and Museum Cup.
Aero. 2005 b. g., Northern Spur (Ire)–Best Victory (Fr), by Cadoudal. Owner: Alfred C. Griffin Jr. Trainer: Doug Fout. 2015 record: No starts. 2014 record: No starts. Would be making first start since fifth in 2013 International Gold Cup. Finished second in 2012 International Gold Cup after fourth in National Sporting Library Chronicle Cup. Won 2011 National Sporting Library Chronicle Cup before second in International Gold Cup.
Ballylifen (Ire). 2007 b. g., Brian Boru—Line Jade, by Luchiroverte. Owner: Bruton Street-US. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: J. Mangan (Ire). 2015 record: 2-1-0-0, $13,500. 2014 NSA record: 1-0-1-0, $2,700. Finished fourth in 2015 Virginia Gold Cup after winning division of John Rush Streett maiden timber race at My Lady’s Manor.
Chess Board (GB). 2003 b. g., Vettori–Cruinn a Bhord, by Inchinor (GB). Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: William Meister. 2015 record: 0-0-0-0, $0. 2014 record: 3-0-0-1, $5,200. 2013 record: 1-1-0-0, $15,000. Finished sixth in 2014 Radnor Hunt Cup. Had third in the 2014 Middleburg Hunt Cup, then lost rider in the Virginia Gold Cup. Won 2013 New Jersey Hunt Cup.
Cornhusker (GB). 2007 b. g., Dynaformer–Nebraska Tornado, by Storm Cat. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: Alicia Murphy. Breeder: Juddmonte Farms (GB). 2015 record: 3-2-0-0, $63,900. 2014 record: 5-2-1-0, $50,300. Won Iroquois’ Mason Houghland Memorial for the second straight year on May 9. Won 2015 Middleburg Hunt Cup after sixth-place finish in My Lady’s Manor. Ended 2014 season with second in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup.
Dakota Slew. 2007 dk. b. or br. g., Slew City Slew—Klearlee Kiera, by Allen’s Prospect. Owner: Magalen O. Bryant. Trainer: Richard Valentine. Breeder: Larry Curtis (Ky.) 2015 record: 2-0-1-0, $17,700. 2014 record: 4-1-1-0, $32,600. Finished second in Virginia Gold Cup after fourth in My Lady’s Manor. Won 2014 National Sporting Library & Museum Cup at Virginia Fall before second in International Gold Cup and fifth in Colonial Cup’s Springdale open timber race.
Delta Park. 2004 b. g., Johannesburg–Excedius, by Seattle Dancer. Owner: Arcadia Stable. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeders: Earl Silver and Michael Eiserman (Ky.). 2015 record: 1-0-0-0, $1,000. 2014 record: 4-1-0-1, $24,800. Finished fifth in his 2015 debut, the Willowdale Steeplechase. Won the 2014 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup after fifth in Shawan’s Legacy Chase. Won 2012 Radnor Hunt Cup and 2011 New Jersey Hunt Cup.
Ebanour (Ire). 2007 ch. g., Indian Ridge—Ebadilya, by Sadler’s Wells. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Breeders: Aga Khan’s Studs (Ire). 2015 record: 1-0-1-0, $1,800. 2014 record: No starts. After missing the 2014 season, returned with a good second in John D. Schapiro Memorial amateur apprentice timber at My Lady’s Manor.
Grand Manan. 2009 b. g., Giant’s Causeway—Manoa, by Seeking the Gold. Owner: Donald Reuwer Jr. Trainer: William Meister. Breeders: Stuart S. Janney III and Phipps Stable (Ky.). 2015 record: 1-1-0-0, $18,000. 2014 record: No starts. In first start in more than two years, won Fair Hill’s Valentine Memorial Novice Timber by seven lengths after setting all the pace. By top sire but failed on the flat, managing a third in an $8,000 maiden claimer at Delaware Park, his most recent start in 2012.
Grinding Speed. 2006 gr. or ro. g., Grindstone—Cozelia, by Cozzene. Owner: Michael T. Wharton. Trainer: Alicia Murphy. Jockey: Mark Beecher. Breeders: Alan S., Mark T., Mitchell A., and Madeline R. Kline, et al. (Md.) 2015 record: 3-2-0-0, $73,250. 2014 record: 5-1-1-2, $46,350. Finished fourth in Shawan’s Legacy Chase on Sept. 26. Won his second Virginia Gold Cup on May 2 and also won second International Gold Cup in 2014. Won 2015 My Lady’s Manor.
Old Timer. 2006 b. g., Orientate—Chatham Hall, by Green Dancer. Owner: Kinross Farm. Trainer: Christopher Read. Breeder: Gainesway Thoroughbreds (Ky.) 2015 record: No starts. 2014 record: 2-0-1-1, $12,900. Finished second in 2014 My Lady’s Manor before third in Virginia Gold Cup. Finished second in 2013 National Sporting Library Chronicle Cup.
Peace Fire. 2007 b. g., Peace Rules–Miss Evans, by Nijinsky II. Owner: Northwoods Stable. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: Briggs-Cromartie (Fla.) 2015 record: 3-0-2-1, $14,000. 2014 record: 2-0-0-0, $800. Finished second in Shawan Downs’ Legacy Chase on Sept. 26. Finished third in Iroquois Steeplechase’s 2015 Mason Houghland Memorial after good second in Winterthur Bowl. Won 2013 Winterthur Bowl.
Personal Brew. 2006 dk. b. or br. g., Milwaukee Brew—Sergeant Mimi, by Personal Flag. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: William Meister. Breeders: Tammy Barnes and John Ubelhor, D.V.M. (Ky.) 2015 record: 3-1-0-0, $9,000. 2014 record: No starts. Won Foxfield Spring maiden timber after unplaced finish in John Rush Streett division at My Lady’s Manor. Lost rider in Winterthur timber allowance.
Schoolhouse Woods. 2007 b. g., Sky Classic—Mabelino, by Trempolino. Owner: Kinross Farm. Trainer: Christopher Read. Breeder: Kinross Corp. (Ky.). 2015 record: 3-2-1-0, $41,700. 2014 record: 4-2-0-0, $21,000. Won Willowdale Steeplechase by 14 lengths on May 10, eight days after victory in Virginia Gold Cup’s Steeplethon. Also second in Middleburg Spring’s Alfred M. Hunt steeplechase. Finished fourth in 2014 International Gold Cup.
Sol a Pino. 2005 b. g., Dynaformer—Kuda, by Strawberry Road (Aus). Owner-trainer: Nicki Valvo. Breeder: Haras Santa Maria de Araras (Ky.) 2015 NSA record: 2-0-0-1, $3,750. 2014 record: No starts. Finished third in Middleburg Hunt Cup and then was fourth in a Willowdale maiden timber on May 10.
Straight to It. 2006 ch. g., Giant’s Causeway—Helsinka (Fr), by Pennekamp. Owners: Sheila J. Williams and Andre Brewster. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: Thierry Grandsir (Ky.). 2015 record: 3-0-1-1, $15,600. 2014 record: 7-1-0-3, $33,000. Disqualified from victory in Radnor Hunt Cup on May 16. Finished fifth in 2015 My Lady’s Manor, then third in Virginia Gold Cup. Won Colonial Cup’s Springdale open timber for second straight year to close 2014 after third-place finishes in National Sporting Library & Museum Cup, International Gold Cup, and New Jersey Hunt Cup. Won the 2012 New Jersey Hunt Cup at Far Hills.
Super Saturday. 2009 gr. or ro. g., Any Given Saturday—Lady Aloma, by Cozzene. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Breeder: Walton Breeders (Ky.) 2015 record: 3-1-1-0, $18,400. 2014 record: 5-1-0-1, $13,000. Started 2015 with 2 1/4-length victory in Carolina Cup’s allowance timber race, then was second in Middleburg Hunt Cup and fifth in Winterthur Bowl. Broke through for a seven-length victory in a 2014 Shawan Downs maiden timber race, then was fourth in New Jersey Hunt Cup.
Two’s Company (Ire). 2009 b. g., Soviet Star—Gaye Lady, by Pistolet Bleu (Ire). Owner: Bruton Street-U.S. Trainer Jack Fisher. Breeders: M. W. and Mrs. M. Doran (Ire). 2014 record: 2-1-0-0, $9,000. Won his first career start in John Rush Streett division at My Lady’s Manor and fell at last of Queen’s Cup timber allowance.