Irv Naylor’s Decoy Daddy will seek a repeat victory in the $50,000 National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3) when he heads the field for the Radnor Hunt Races’ handicap stakes on Saturday, May 17. Carol-Ann Sloan, who rode Decoy Daddy to a comeback victory in last year’s National Hunt Cup, again will be in the saddle.
The National Hunt Cup will highlight the 84th annual Radnor Hunt Races in Malvern, Pa., and the 2 3/8-mile race over National Fences will share billing with the $40,000 Radnor Hunt Cup over timber fences. First post time is 1:30 p.m.
Now 11, Decoy Daddy has been a mainstay of Naylor’s stable for several years. In addition to the National Hunt Cup, the Irish-bred also won two Virginia stakes races, the Temple Gwathmey and the Noel Laing Handicap, last year. Now trained by Cyril Murphy, Decoy Daddy kicked off his 2014 campaign with repeat win in the Temple Gwathmey at the Middleburg Spring Races on April 19.
Decoy Daddy was assigned 154 pounds in the handicap and will be conceding eight pounds or more to his opponents. Second in the weights at 146 pounds is Michael Moran’s Staying On, winner of the Queen’s Cup MPC ‘Chase in North Carolina on April 26. Jeff Murphy will ride for leading trainer Jack Fisher.
In many ways, Staying On is a Radnor type of horse. Owner Moran is the son of Radnor Co-Chair Elizabeth R. Moran, and Staying On scored his maiden win over fences by 16 lengths at the 2012 Radnor meet.
Sharing a 144-pound assignment are Randleston Farm’s Spy in the Sky and Meritage Racing’s Inti. Spy in the Sky has two Grade 1 victories on his résumé, most recently a win in Saratoga Race Course’s 2012 A. P. Smithwick Memorial, but he is winless since that race. Thomas Bennett will ride for trainer Jimmy Day.
Inti, also trained by Cyril Murphy, will be looking for his first win since scoring a 24-1 upset in last year’s David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial at Colonial Downs. In his only start since the Ferguson, he finished fourth in the Temple Gwathmey. Kieran Norris has the mount.
Current leading jockey Willie McCarthy will be astride The Fields Stable’s Wanganui, the 2011 three-year-old champion who missed all of last racing season and will be making his first start for trainer Elizabeth Voss Murray.
Completing the field is William E. Riddle Jr.’s Absolum, winner of a Middleburg Spring optional allowance hurdle on May 19. Second in last year’s Thompson Memorial allowance hurdle, Absolum is trained by Leslie Young and will be ridden by her husband, four-time champion jockey Paddy Young.
Who do you like in the $50,000 National Hunt Cup?
Wanganui. 2008 ch. g., Love of Money–Distant Drumroll, by Eastern Echo. Owner: The Fields Stable. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss Murray. Jockey: Willie McCarthy. 2014 record: No starts. 2013 record: No starts. 10-1 odds. Champion three-year-old in 2011. Missed 2013 season after winless 2012 season, although he accumulated three second-place finishes.
Spy in the Sky. (146) 2004 ch. g., Thunder Gulch—Monaassabaat, by Zilzal. Owner: Randleston Farm. Trainer: Jimmy Day. Jockey: Thomas Bennett. 2014 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2013 NSA record: 7-0-1-0, $25,100. 8-1 odds. Drought continued when pulled up in Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) on April 19. Also pulled up in the 2013 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1). Second to Decoy Daddy in Noel Laing Handicap at Virginia’s Montpelier Hunt Races on Nov. 2. Upset 2012 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) at 25-1.
Absolum. 2008 dk. b. or br. g., Fantasticat—Zenon, by Hawkster. Owner: William E. Riddle. Trainer: Leslie Young: Jockey: Paddy Young. 2014 record: 1-1-0-0, $12,000. 2013 record: 5-1-1-1, $19,350. 10-1 odds. Won Middleburg Spring optional allowance hurdle on April 19. Won 2013 Middleburg Spring maiden claimer by 12 lengths before second in Radnor’s Thompson Memorial and third in a Parx optional allowance. Finished fourth in division of Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle for novices in October and then was pulled up in Colonial Cup starter handicap.
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. 2014 record: 1-1-0-0, $30,000. 2013 record: 7-3-0-1, $89,500. 9-5 odds. Won Middleburg Spring’s Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) for second straight year on April 19. Collected his third victory in Montpelier’s Noel Laing Handicap last November, then was seventh in the season-ending Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1). Came back after being headed to win Radnor’s 2013 National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3).
Inti (Uru). 2005 gr. or ro. g., Dubai Dust-Rigolina (Uru), by Ritz (Arg). Owner: Meritage Racing. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Jockey: Kieran Norris. 2014 record: 1-0-0-0, $2,500. 2013 record: 3-1-0-0, $33,500. 8-1 odds. Began 2014 season with fourth in Middleburg Spring’s Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) on April 19. Pulled 23.90-1 upset in Colonial Downs’ David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 1) last June.
Staying On (Ire). 2005 b. g., Invincible Spirit (Ire)—Lakatoi (GB), by Saddler’s Hall (Ire). Owner: Michael J. Moran. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Jeff Murphy. 2014 record: 1-1-0-0, $30,000. 2013 record: 5-1-2-0, $65,400. 3-1 odds. Won Queen’s Cup MPC ‘Chase by 2 1/4 lengths on April 26 in 2014 debut. Scored game upset victory in Belmont’s 2013 William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes on Sept. 19, then was nosed out in first division of Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle. Also had second in Parx optional allowance in June.