Decoy Daddy will continue his quest for a third victory in the $45,000 Noel Laing when he heads a four-horse entry from leading owner Irvin S. Naylor in the featured race of the 79th Montpelier Hunt Races on Saturday, Nov. 2. First post time for the seven-race program in 12:30 p.m.
Now trained by Cyril Murphy, Decoy Daddy carries the 156-pound highweight for the Noel Laing’s 2 1/2 miles over natural brush fences at the historic Montpelier course. Decoy Daddy, now 11, won the Noel Laing in 2010 and 2011 before a second-place finish last year.
He sports two Grade 3 stakes victories this year, in the Temple Gwathmey at Middleburg, Va., and the National Hunt Cup at the Radnor Hunt Races near Philadelphia. Carol-Ann Sloan will ride.
Murphy took over Naylor’s main division in the summer and scored his first major victory for Naylor when Sacred Soul won the second division of the $75,000 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle at the Far Hills Races on Oct. 19. He also entered Naylor’s Top Man Michael, a four-year-old who finished sixth in the first division of the Foxbrook for novices. Roddy Mackenzie has the mount.
Also carrying Naylor’s green and gold silks are Changing Times, a recently imported Irish-bred, and Lake Placid, the 2011 novice champion who is winless in two starts this year. Kathy Neilson, who trains Changing Times, named James Slater to ride, and three-time champion jockey Paddy Young will be aboard Lake Placid for trainer Leslie Young.
Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard entered Bill Pape’s Powerofone, who finished third to Sacred Soul in the second Foxbrook division. In his previous start, Powerofone had finished a game second in the $75,000 William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes at Belmont Park on Sept. 19. Reigning champion jockey Ross Geraghty will ride.
Randleston Farm’s Spy in the Sky was a multiple Grade 1 race winner in past seasons, and he will be looking for his first victory of the year in the Noel Laing. Trained by Jimmy Day, Spy in the Sky most recently finished seventh in Far Hills’ $250,000 Grand National (Gr. 1). Danielle Hodsdon again will be in the saddle.
Betsy Mead’s Forgotten Man enters the Noel Laing from a memorable nose victory in a $25,000 allowance hurdle at the International Gold Cup Races on Oct. 19. Kieran Norris, who had two victories at the Virginia race meet, takes over the mount for trainer Doug Fout.
Also coming into the Noel Laing from the International Gold Cup meet is Kinross Farm’s Schoolhouse Woods, who drew away to a 5 1/4-length win in the $20,000 Steeplethon over natural obstacles. Martin Rohan will ride for trainer Neil Morris.
Who do you like in Montpelier’s $45,000 Noel Laing?
Powerofone. 2009 b. g., A.P. Indy—Byzantine, by Quiet American. Owner: William L. Pape. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Ross Geraghty. 2013 record: 6-2-1-1, $60,000. 2012 record: 1-0-0-0, $1,250. 7-2 odds. Tired late to finish third in the second division of Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle on Oct. 19. Finished game second in William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes at Belmont Park on Sept. 19 after fall in Saratoga’s Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes. Started 2013 with two wins, in Carolina Cup maiden race and optional allowance at the Atlanta Steeplechase, before being pulled up in Marcellus Frost Novice Stakes at the Iroquois Steeplechase on May 11.
Forgotten Man. 2008 ch. g., Bowman’s Band—Hark the Sound (GB), by Robellino. Owner: Betsy Mead. Trainer: Doug Fout. Jockey: Kieran Norris. 2013 record: 5-1-0-2, $28,520. 2012 record: 4-1-0-3, $31,000. 2011 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 8-1 odds. Won $25,000 International Gold Cup allowance hurdle after two starts at Saratoga, an eighth in the Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes and a third in an optional allowance hurdle. Started 2013 with third-place finish in Carolina Cup on March 30.
Spy in the Sky. (146) 2004 ch. g., Thunder Gulch—Monaassabaat, by Zilzal. Owner: Randleston Farm. Trainer: Jimmy Day. Jockey: Danielle Hodsdon. 2013 NSA record: 5-0-0-0, $17,000. 2012 record: 6-1-1-1, $111,250. 2011 record: 6-0-0-3, $12,000. 6-1 odds. His 2013 drought continued when seventh in the $250,000 Grand National (Gr. 1) on Oct. 19. Finished fifth in Belmont Park’s $150,000 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) on Sept. 19 and Saratoga Race Course’s $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1) on Aug. 22 after fourth in $100,000 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) on Aug. 1. Finished seventh in Radnor’s National Hunt Cup in seasonal debut on May 18. Upset 2012 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) at 25-1, ran third in the New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1), and was nipped at the wire in the $150,000 Lonesome Glory Stakes (Gr. 1) at Belmont Park.
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. 2013 record: 4-2-0-1, $62,500. 2012 record: 6-1-1-0, $34,300. 2011 record: 7-3-2-0, $124,100. 3-1 odds. Making his first start after finishing seventh in Colonial Downs’ David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 3) on June 8. Came back after being headed to win Radnor’s National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3) on May 18. Drew away to an 8 1/2-length win in the Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) at Middleburg Spring Races on April 20. Chased early speed and finished third in Stoneybrook Steeplechase’s Sandhills Cup open allowance on April 6. Finished fourth in 2012 Colonial Cup (Gr. 1) after a second when bidding for third straight win in Montpelier’s Noel Laing Handicap.
Changing Times (Ire). 2006 b. g., Dr. Massini (Ire)—Pharenna (Ire), by Phardante (Ire). Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Jockey: James Slater. 2013 NSA record: No starts. 5-1 odds. Recent import is looking for his first win of the year after thirds at Cheltenham and Aintree.
Schoolhouse Woods. 2007 b. g., Sky Classic—Mabelino, by Trempolino. Owner: Kinross Farm. Trainer: Neil Morris. Jockey: Martin Rohan. 2013 record: 4-2-1-0, $20,700. 2012 record: 2-1-0-1, $6,650. 10-1 odds. Drew away smartly to a 5 1/4-length victory in International Gold Cup’s $20,000 Steeplethon on Oct. 19. Won maiden victory over timber at Willowdale Steeplechase on May 12.
Lake Placid. 2005 b. g., Giant’s Causeway–Saranac Lake, by Smart Strike. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Leslie Young. Jockey: Paddy Young. 2013 record: 2-0-0-0, $6,000. 2012 record: 5-2-0-0, $27,500. 2011 record: 12-6-0-1, $114,750. 8-1 odds. Finished fifth in the $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) on May 11. Tired to finish seventh in the Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) after setting the early pace on April 20. Scored two victories in 2012 starter allowance races but was unplaced in two Saratoga novice stakes, the Jonathan Kiser and Michael G. Walsh. Was 2011’s novice champion.
Top Man Michael (Ire). 2009 b. g., Antonius Pius—Top Brex (Fr), by Top Ville (Ire). Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Jockey: Roddy Mackenzie. 2013 record: 4-0-0-1, $6,000. 2012 NSA record: 2-1-0-0, $15,000. 10-1 odds. Most recently finished sixth in the first division of Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle after a distant ninth in Parx Racing optional allowance hurdle. Was third in Virginia Gold Cup allowance on May 4. Impressive 2012 Gladstone winner fell at the last fence of the Raymond G. Woolfe Memorial at Camden, S.C., while bidding for the lead. Had a win and second over hurdles in Ireland before being imported.