Irv Naylor’s Dawalan powered away from his all-star competition on Saturday to win the 46th running of the $100,000 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1) and assure himself the National Steeplechase Association’s Lonesome Glory Champions Award as the year’s leading earner.
The five-year-old French-bred gelding, a product of the Aga Khan’s renowned breeding operation, also positioned himself to claim the year’s Eclipse Award as champion steeplechase horse. The Colonial Cup was his second Grade 1 victory in three U.S. starts, following his score in the $300,000 Grand National at Far Hills, N.J.
Dawalan, held in midpack early by jockey Ross Geraghty, quickly drew away after the final fence and finished 5 1/4 lengths clear of stablemate Rawnaq, ridden by Sean McDermott. Both are trained by Cyril Murphy. Demonstrative set the early pace and held on gamely for third, a quarter-length behind Rawnaq.
Dawalan, by Azamour and out of the Miswaki mare Daltawa, ran the Colonial Cup’s 2 3/4 miles in 5:11.80 on turf rated as good.
The first two placings gave owner Naylor a new record for annual NSA purses, exceeding $775,000 and shattering the $719,725 mark he set in 2011. Naylor was unable to attend, and the Colonial Cup trophy was accepted by his wife, Diane.
“I’m blessed to have a great wife,” he told NSA President Guy J. Torsilieri, who called the York, Pa., resident to tell him that his wife was busy in the Springdale Race Course winner’s circle. “Cyril Murphy is a fabulous trainer, and I have great riders,” Naylor said.
Bob Le Beau, who had led the earnings standings going into the Colonial Cup based on his Grade 1 victories in the New York Turf Writers and Lonesome Glory Handicap, prefers firm ground and raced over a course softened by heavy rains on Wednesday evening. He finished fifth.
Jacqueline Ohrstrom’s Demonstrative, the reigning Eclipse champion, went to the lead at the start in a field packed with talent and devoid of early speed. Murphy said he had heard that Demonstrative might go to the front under Darren Nagle, and the champion set a solid pace.
Geraghty placed Dawalan several lengths off the pace in the second flight of horses. “I was happy where he was,” Murphy said. Dawalan picked up the pace on the final turn and cruised to the lead at the final fence on the spacious Springdale course. He widened to the finish line as Rawnaq overtook a determined Demonstrative for the second spot.
“My biggest regret is that Irv isn’t here to see it. This is his great love,” Diane Naylor said after accepting the trophy. “This is a team effort, everyone working together. I’m excited for Cyril and the barn. It’s a dream come true. Everyone ends the season on a good note.”