The three most recent Maryland Hunt Cup winners and the two-time winner of the Virginia Gold Cup will meet Saturday in the $50,000 Grand National, the second jewel of Maryland’s timber triple crown. In all, 10 horses were entered to contest the Grand National’s 3 1/4 miles.
First post for the three-race program in Butler is 3:30 p.m., with the Grand National kicking off the action. With a 66% increase in the purse for the 116th Grand National, the meet will offer record purses of $85,000.
The two most recent Hunt Cup winners are trained by Joseph G. Davies, who reunited French amateur jockey Gozangue Cottreau with Derwins Prospector and added blinkers to the equipment of Gerry Brewster’s 2017 Hunt Cup winner. The 10-year-old finished fifth in last year’s Grand National.
Skip Crawford’s Senior Senator won last year’s Grand National after prevailing in the prior year’s Hunt Cup. Now eight, Senior Senator fell at the third fence of last year’s Hunt Cup. Eric Poretz, his regular jockey, will be in the saddle.
Trainer Todd Wyatt entered Raven’s Choice, who was awarded the 2015 Hunt Cup trophy when the first finisher, Imperial Way, lost saddle weights over a fence and was disqualified. No rider was named aboard Ann Jackson’s 11-year-old, who was third in last year’s Grand National.
Also entered for the Grand National was Kinross Farm’s Old Timer, who was the Grand National’s runner-up last year before losing his rider late in the Hunt Cup. Trainer Richard Valentine named McLane Hendriks for a return trip on Old Timer.
Irv Naylor’s Ebanour, who has won the last two editions of the Virginia Gold Cup and Pennsylvania Hunt Cup, will be ridden by leading amateur jockey Mark Beecher. Now 11, Ebanour is trained in Butler by Cyril Murphy.
Here is the field for the $50,000 Grand National in post-position order.
Ebanour (Ire). 2007 ch. g., Indian Ridge—Ebadilya, by Sadler’s Wells. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Jockey: Mark Beecher. Breeders: Aga Khan’s Studs (Ire). 2017 record: 5-2-1-0-, $89,150. 2016 record: 4-3-0-0, $78,000. Won Virginia Gold Cup and Pennsylvania Hunt Cup in 2016 and 2017. His 18-length win at Unionville followed fifth in 2017 New Jersey Hunt Cup. Was disqualified to second from win in 2017 Radnor Hunt Cup. Won 2015 New Jersey Hunt Cup.
De Chera. 2006 ch. g., Deputy Commander—Torchera, by Pirate’s Bounty. Owner-Trainer: H. Bruce Fenwick. Jockey: Chris Gracie. Breeder: Hidden Point Farm (Fla.). 2017 record: 7-1-2-0, $19,650. 2016 record: 2-0-0-0, $750. Awarded win in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup timber allowance on medication disqualification after finishing second by a neck. Fell at last in New Jersey Hunt Cup. Finished fifth in 2017 Shawan Downs maiden timber after sixth in Fair Hill timber allowance and second in Willowdale maiden timber. Finished second in the Grand National’s 2017 Benjamin H. Murray Memorial amateur allowance race, beaten a neck before early fall in Maryland Hunt Cup.
Gas Can Eddie. 2007 ch. g., Maria’s Mon—Donnan’s Holly, by Dixieland Band. Owner: Mrs. William D. Class Jr. Trainer: William Meister. Jockey: Bryan Cullinane. Breeder: Bohemia Stable (Md.) 2017 record: 2-0-0-0, $450. 2016 record: No starts. Finished distant sixth in 2017 Willowdale maiden after bolting in division of John Rush Streett Memorial maiden timber race at 2017 My Lady’s Manor.
Sovereign Fund. 2006 dk. b. or br. g., Giant’s Causeway—Colonial Play, by Pleasant Colony. Owner: Upland Partners. Trainer: Stephanie Dowling. Jockey: Open. Breeder: Robert S. Evans (Ky.) 2017 record: No starts. 2016 record: No starts. 2015 record: 4-1-1-0, $18,250. Finished fourth in 2015 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup for second straight year. Finished second in Willowdale Steeplechase after losing rider in Maryland Hunt Cup. Opened 2015 season with win in Grand National’s Benjamin H. Murray Memorial timber allowance race.
Old Timer. 2006 b. g., Orientate—Chatham Hall, by Green Dancer. Owner: Kinross Farm. Trainer: Richard L. Valentine. Jockey: McLane Hendriks. Breeder: Gainesway Thoroughbreds (Ky.) 2017 record: 2-0-1-0, $5,400. 2016 record: 4-0-1-2, $17,400. Was leading in 2017 Maryland Hunt Cup when he unseated his rider at second-to-last fence. Finished second in 2017 Grand National, beaten 1 1/2 lengths. Finished third in 2016 New Jersey Hunt Cup after second in Radnor Hunt Cup.
Monstaleur. 2007 ch. g., Meadow Monster—Taleur, by Stalwars. Owner: Black and Blue Stable. Trainer: Forrest Kelly. Jockey: Forrest Kelly. Breeders: Dr. James E. Bryant and Linda P. Davis (Va.). 2017 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2016 record: 2-1-0-0, $9,750. Pulled up in 2017 Willowdale Steeplechase, his only start that year. Closed ground for dead-heat win in 2016 Willowdale Steeplechase after being pushed off course in Grand National’s Benjamin H. Murray Memorial. Won maiden timber victory at 2015 Steeplechase at Callaway by nine lengths.
Senior Senator. 2010 b. g., Domestic Dispute—Queen Kennelot, by Awesome Again. Owner: Irvin L. Crawford II. Trainer: Joseph Davies. Jockey: Eric Poretz. Breeder: Charles C. D. McGill (Pa.) 2017 record: 2-1-0-0, $18,000. 2016 record: 2-1-0-0, $60,000. 2015 record: 2-0-2-0, $10,800. 2014 record: 3-1-1-0, $12,000. Fell at third fence of 2017 Maryland Hunt Cup after winning Grand National by 1 1/2 lengths. Won 2016 Maryland Hunt Cup after setting most of the pace. Finished first and disqualified to last for interference in 2016 Benjamin H. Murray Memorial amateur allowance timber at Grand National.
Class Indian. 2007 gr. or ro. g., Waquoit—Class Story, by Class Secret. Owner: Jeremy A. Batoff. Jockey: Justin Batoff. Trainer: William Dowling. Breeder: Mede Cahaba Stable and Stud (Va.). 2017 record: 5-1-1-0, $13,650. 2016 record: 3-1-0-1, $14,000. 2015 record: 4-1-0-2, $14,000. Fell while leading in Genesee Valley Hunt Cup. Won 2017 John D. Schapiro amateur apprentice timber race at My Lady’s Manor, then was fourth in Grand National’s Western Run Plate and second in Winterthur amateur apprentice timber allowance. Finished seventh in Shawan’s Legacy Chase. Won 2016 Queen’s Cup timber allowance.
Joshua G. 2006 ch. g., Run Softly—Search for Reality, by Regal Search. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Jockey: Eddie Keating. Breeder: Jason L. Cole (Pa.) 2017 record: 2-0-0-0, $1,050. 2016 record: 5-0-0-3, $8,000. 2015 record: 4-0-0-0, $5,750. 2014 record: 3-1-0-0, $10,400. Fell at sixth fence of 2017 Maryland Hunt Cup, then was last of six in Willowdale Steeplechase. Finished fourth in 2016 Grand National, then fell in Maryland Hunt Cup and finished third in Willowdale amateur allowance timber. Finished third in Genesee Valley Hunt Cup, then was third in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup allowance timber race. Finished fifth and placed fourth in Maryland Hunt Cup.
Derwins Prospector. 2008 ch. g., Van Nistelrooy—Stringtown Sally, by Crafty Prospector. Owner: Gerry L. Brewster. Trainer: Joseph Davies. Jockey: Gozangue Cottreau. Breeders: Patricia Lagden and Devi Hall (Ky.). 2017 record: 2-1-0-0, $61,200. 2016 record: 4-0-1-1, $5,100. Won the 2017 Maryland Hunt Cup by three-quarters of a length in a stirring stretch battle. Finished fifth in the 2017 Grand National. Finished sixth in 2016 Grand National, then lost rider in Maryland Hunt Cup.
Raven’s Choice. 2007 dk. b. or br. g., Dance With Ravens—Millashand, by Regal Intention. Owner: Ann Jackson. Trainer: Todd Wyatt. Jockey: Open. Breeder: Cary W. Jackson (Md.) 2017 record: 3-0-0-1, $3,300. 2016 record: 2-1-0-0, $18,000. Finished third in 2017 Grand National, then was pulled up in Virginia Gold Cup and Willowdale Steeplechase. Won 2016 Grand National, then fell at 16th fence in Maryland Hunt Cup. Placed first in 2015 Maryland Hunt Cup after finishing close second. Won 2014 Willowdale Steeplechase.