Irv Naylor’s Decoy Daddy collected his third victory in Montpelier Hunt Race’s $45,000 Noel Laing Handicap when he set the early pace, surrendered the lead to Spy in the Sky in the stretch, and then came back for a 2 1/4-length victory under Carol-Ann Sloan on Saturday, Nov. 2.
Trained by Cyril Murphy, Decoy Daddy carried the 156-pound highweight and ran the Noel Laing’s 2 1/2 miles over natural brush fences in 5:15.80 on turf rated as good.
Randleston Farm’s Spy in the Sky finished 24 3/4 lengths clear of Naylor’s Changing Times, who took third money.
With some pressure from Changing Times, Decoy Daddy set the pace, with Danielle Hodsdon placing Spy in the Sky in midpack. Spy in the Sky made his usual strong run into the stretch and briefly headed Decoy Daddy. But the 11-year-old veteran fought back gamely and secured his third stakes victory of the year.
Winner of the Noel Laing in 2010 and 2011 before a second-place finish last year, Decoy Daddy won the Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) at Middleburg, Va., and the National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3) at the Radnor Hunt Races near Philadelphia, where he also was headed and came back to secure the victory.
Murphy, who took over Naylor’s main division in the summer, secured his second stakes win for owner Naylor, who is battling Bill Pape for the leading owner title. Murphy trained Naylor’s Sacred Soul to an impressive score in the second division of the $75,000 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle at the Far Hills Races on Oct. 19.