Irv Naylor’s Decoy Daddy, still racing in top form at age 13, will shoot for this third straight victory in Saturday’s $50,000 National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3), the featured hurdle contest of the 85th annual Radnor Hunt Races. Among his four opponents is Parker’s Project, recent winner of the David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2).
Also on the six-race program at the W. Burling Cocks Racecourse in Malvern, Pa., is the $30,000 Radnor Hunt Cup over timber fences. The action gets under way with a 1:30 p.m. post time.
Conservatively managed by leading owner Naylor and trainer Cyril Murphy, Decoy Daddy started three times last year, all in stakes races, and he won them all. His string of consecutive stakes victories ended on April 18 when he was narrowly beaten in the Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3), a Middleburg Spring race he had won in 2013 and 2014.
He will have the services of his regular jockey, Carol-Ann Sloan, who rode him to his two prior National Hunt Cup victories.
Owned by the Hudson River Stables of Edward P. Swyer, Parker’s Project returned to top form with a score in the Semmes at the Virginia Gold Cup on May 2. Despite a slow early pace, he closed ground late to catch the leader shortly before the finish line and won by a neck.
The Semmes was his first victory since the 2012 Marcellus Frost Stakes (Gr. 2). After more than two years on the sidelines, he returned to the races last fall and finished second in the Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1).
Reigning champion jockey Willie McCarthy has the mount on Parker’s Project for Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard.
Also coming out of the Semmes is Rock Ford Stables’ Sporty, who finished fourth. Kieran Norris will ride for trainer Julie Gomena.
Trainer Elizabeth Voss will saddle The Fields Stable’s duo of Bob Le Beau and Portrade. Bob Le Beau, who will be making his 2015 debut, will be ridden by Irish jockey Jack Doyle, who has won two of four starts since returning to the U.S. for the Virginia Gold Cup meet, finished second twice, and banked purses of nearly $150,000.
Portrade fell in the Queen’s Cup MPC ‘Chase at the Queen’s Cup Steeplechase on April 25 and will be ridden by Gus Dahl.
Here is the field for the $50,000 National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3) in post-position order.
Portrade. 2009 b. g., Trade Fair (GB)—Portorosa, by Irish River (Fr). Owner: The Fields Stable. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss. Jocky: Gus Dahl. Breeder: Keene Bloodstock (Ire). 2015 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2014 NSA record: No starts. Fell at second-to-last fence of the Queen’s Cup MPC ‘Chase for novices on April 25. In final 2014 starts in Ireland, won Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle at Listowel and then was second in a handicap hurdle at Tipperary.
Decoy Daddy (Ire). 2002 ch. g., Lord of Appeal–Young Bebe, by M. Double M. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Jockey: Carol-Ann Sloan. Breeder: Charles Persee (Ire). 2015 record: 1-0-1-0, $9,000. 2014 record: 3-3-0-0, $87,000. Finished second, beaten only a neck, by Grade 1 winner in Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) on April 18. Mirrored his 2013 victories with scores in 2014 Temple Gwathmey, Radnor’s National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3), and Noel Laing Handicap, his fourth win in that race.
Bob Le Beau (Ire). 2007 dk. b. or. br. g., Big Bad Bob—Shine Silently, by Bering (GB). Owner: The Fields Stable. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss. Jockey: Jack Doyle. Breeder: Anamoine Ltd. (Ire). 2014 record: 4-0-1-0, $9,450. Finished second in Virginia Fall’s 2014 W. Gary Baker Memorial, then was pulled up in David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 3) at International Gold Cup. Finished sixth in Saratoga’s Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes, his U.S. debut, before losing his rider in Saratoga’s Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes.
Parker’s Project. 2006 dk. b. or br. g., Parker’s Storm Cat–Let’s Canoodle, by Oh Say. Owner: Hudson River Farms. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Willie McCarthy. Breeder: Jonathan Sheppard (Pa.) 2015 record: 1-1-0-0, $45,000. 2014 record: 3-0-1-1, $55,000. Began 2015 campaign with neck victory in Virginia Gold Cup’s David Semmes Memorial. In first start in more than two years, closed well to finish second in Belmont Park’s $150,000 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1), then finished third in Grand National (Gr. 1) at Far Hills, N.J. Closed 2014 season with sixth in Colonial Cup (Gr. 1).
Sporty. 2007 dk. b. or br. g., Smarty Jones—Byzantine, by Quiet American. Owner: Rock Ford Stables. Trainer: Julie Gomena. Jockey: Kieran Norris. Breeder: Nursery Place (Ky.) 2015 record: 2-0-0-0, $6,750. 2014 record: 4-0-0-2, $13,500. Tired late to finish fourth in Virginia Gold Cup’s David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2) on May 2. Began 2015 with fifth in Carolina Cup for novices. Finished fourth in 2014 Carolina Cup before third in Iroquois Steeplechase’s Marcellus Frost Stakes and in Saratoga’s Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes. Fell after being bothered in Saratoga’s Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes, his final start of the year.