A highly competitive field will race over lush natural fences in the $35,000 Noel Laing Handicap, the featured race of Saturday’s 83rd annual Montpelier Hunt Races on the grounds of historic Montpelier.
The 2 1/2-mile race over Montpelier’s distinctive brush fences will highlight a seven-race program, with a 12:30 p.m. post time.
The Noel Laing’s handicap weights are suggested by the horses’ National Steeplechase Association ratings. Carrying the highweight of 154 pounds after scratches is imported Three Kingdoms, now owned by Colvin G. “Gregg” Ryan and trained by Eva Smithwick. Tenth in his U.S. debut in Saratoga Race Course’s New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1) on Aug. 24, Three Kingdoms will be ridden by Gus Dahl.
Robert A. Kinsley’s Lyonell and Ballybristol Farm’s Andi’amu check in at 150 pounds. Lyonell handily won Far Hills’ Appleton ratings handicap, and Jack Doyle returns to ride for trainer Elizabeth Voss.
Andi’amu, trained by Leslie Young, most recently finished third in the Appleton. The French-bred will be ridden by Kieran Norris.
Young also entered Michael A. Smith’s Mercoeur, third in Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle for novices, and Amy Taylor Rowe’s For Goodness Sakes, seventh in Far Hills’ Peapack Stakes for fillies and mares. Darren Nagle, currently leading the rider standings by wins, will be aboard Mercoeur at 146 pounds, and no jockey was named on For Goodness Sakes, who carries 143.
Completing the field is PathFinder Racing’s veteran Cognashene, winner of Aiken Fall’s Budweiser Holiday Cup last Saturday. He carries 142 pounds and will be ridden by Michael Mitchell.
Here is the field for the $35,000 Noel Laing Handicap in post-position order after scratches. The horses’ handicap weights are in parentheses at the end of their profiles.
Three Kingdoms (Ire). 2009 ch. g., Street Cry (Ire)—Chan Tong, by Hampstead. Owner: Colvin G. Ryan. Trainer: Eva Smithwick. Jockey: Gus Dahl. Breeder: Darley (Ire). 2017 NSA record: 1-0-0-0, $0. In first U.S. start, finished 10th in New York Turf Writers (Gr. 1). Unplaced in England and Ireland in 2016-2017 for then-trainer Dermot Weld. Finished fourth in 2016 Guinness Kerry National Steeplechase before unplaced finish in 2017 Naas Supporters Hurdle. (154)
Andi’amu (Fr). 2010 b. g., Walk In The Park—Sainte Parfaite, by Septieme Ciel. Owner: Ballybristol Farm. Trainer: Leslie Young. Jockey: Kieran Norris. Breeder: Therese Bouche (Fr). 2017 NSA record: 4-0-0-2, $26,600. 2016 record: 6-1-2-0, $77,300. 2015 NSA record: 4-1-3-0, $56,400. Opened 2017 with fifth in Tryon Block House Handicap, then was distant third in Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1). Came home eighth in 2017 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) before finishing third in Far Hills’ Appleton ratings handicap. Finished hard-driving second in 2016 New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) and was fourth in Grand National (Gr. 1). (150)
For Goodness Sake (Ire). 2012 b. m., Yeats (Ire) —Muschana, by Deploy. Owner: Amy Taylor Rowe. Trainer: Leslie Young. Jockey: Open. Breeder: Aylesfield Farms Stud (Ire). 2017 NSA record: 4-1-0-0, $35,000. 2016 NSA record: No starts. Finished fifth in Saratoga’s 2017 Mrs. Odgen Phipps Stakes, then seventh in Far Hills’ Peapack Stakes. Won Fair Hill’s 2017 Iris Coggins Memorial with Paddy Young, seriously hurt a week earlier, as trainer. Ran fifth in Margaret Currey Henley at Iroquois Steeplechase, her U.S. debut. Maiden hurdle winner in England was competitive over fences and on flat while trained by Warren Greatrex. (143)
Mercoeur (Fr). 2011 gr. or ro. g., Archange d’Or (Ire)—Erivia, by Kendor. Owner: Michael A. Smith. Trainer: Leslie Young. Jockey: Darren Nagle. Breeder: Ambrose Dupont (Fr). 2017 record: 3-1-1-0, $33,550. 2016 record: 4-1-0-2, $19,500. Finished fourth in Far Hills’ 2017 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle. Won 2017 Radnor conditioned allowance hurdle after second in Tryon Block House allowance hurdle. Scored maiden hurdle victory at 2016 Montpelier Hunt Races. (146)
Lyonell (Ger). 2011 b. g., Montjeu (Ire)—Lysuna, by Monson. Owner: Robert A. Kinsley. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss. Jockey: Jack Doyle. Breeder: Gestut Hof Ittlingen (Ger). 2017 record: 3-1-2-0, $44,400. 2016 NSA record: 2-1-0-1, $22,000. Won Far Hills Races’ 2017 Appleton rating handicap by 5 1/2 lengths. Opened 2017 season with second in Middleburg Spring ratings handicap, then was second in Iroquois allowance hurdle. Won Radnor maiden hurdle in May 2016 after third at Virginia Gold Cup in his hurdles debut. Won a flat handicap in Germany last year. (150)
Cognashene. 2007 dk. b. or br. g., Dynaformer—Catch the Ring, by Seeking the Gold. Owner: PathFinder Racing. Trainer: Neil Morris. Jockey: Michael Mitchell. Breeder: Sam-Son Farm (Ont.) 2017 record: 8-2-2-2, $36,050. 2016 record: 4-0-0-1, $3,000. In busy 2017 season, won Aiken Fall’s Budweiser Holiday Cup ratings handicap and a Willowdale claiming hurdle. Finished third in Virginia Fall’s Randolph D. Rouse Memorial. (142)