Irish invader Dirar and leading novice Demonstrative will face off in the first running of the $35,000 Dorothy Fred Smithwick, co-feature of the 56th annual Virginia Fall Races on Saturday, Oct. 1. Also on the Saturday card is the $35,000 National Sporting Library Chronicle Cup for timber horses, and a second race program of Sunday will include the year’s first test for three-year-olds in the Nelson C. Noland Memorial.
Dirar, owned by Michael White, Marcus Reeder, and Emma Johansen, made his first U.S. start in Saratoga Race Course’s $100,000 New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) on Aug. 25 and finished second, 5 3/4 lengths behind Mabou. Dirar led at the final fence but could not stave off the winner’s late charge. Gordon Elliott trains the five-year-old King’s Best gelding.
Jacqueline Ohrstrom’s Demonstrative, last year’s three-year-old champion, has established himself as one of the year’s top competitors in novice races, which are restricted to horses in their first years of competition over fences.
Trained by Richard Valentine, Demonstrative won Belmont Park’s $70,000 William Entenmann Novice Stakes by seven lengths on July 3, and he subsequently finished second in the Jonathan Kiser Novice and the Michael G. Walsh Novice at Saratoga. Robbie Walsh has the mount.
Making his first U.S. start will be Irvin S. Naylor’s Black Jack Blues, an accomplished novice competitor in England and Wales who has won half of his six starts this year. Trained by Joseph Delozier III, Black Jack Blues will be ridden by Ross Geraghty.
Also carrying Naylor’s green and gold silks will be Organisateur, who finished fifth in the Walsh Novice in his first U.S. start. Darren Nagle will ride for trainer Bruce Miller.
Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard will send out Mary Ann Houghland’s Nationbuilder, who finished third in the $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) at Nashville on May 14 and Saratoga’s $75,000 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 2) before coming home fifth in the New York Turf Writers. Danielle Hodsdon will ride.
Sheppard also will saddle Bill Pape’s Lead Us Not, who was pulled up in his only 2011 start, the Carolina First Block House, an allowance race at Tryon, N.C., on April 23. Last season, the Royal Anthem gelding finished third in the $250,000 Grand National (Gr. 1) at Far Hills, N.J. Brian Crowley has the mount.
Tom Voss entered two Boys: Riverdee Stable’s Dictina’s Boy and Cashel Stables’ Ballet Boy. Dictina’s Boy most recently finished fifth in the Calvin Houghland Iroquois, and Ballet Boy was seventh in the Entenmann after winning the Vita C. Thompson Memorial, an allowance race that attracted a strong field at the Radnor Hunt Races in Malvern, Pa., on May 21.
Trainer Jack Fisher also will send out a pair for the 2 1/8-mile Dorothy Fred Smithwick over National Fences. Arcadia Stable’s Hope for Us All, who had two fourth-place finishes in optional allowances at Saratoga, will be ridden by Willie Dowling, and Xavier Aizpuru has the mount on Woodslane Farm’s Brave Prospect, a maiden winner at the Saratoga Open House on July 17.
National Sporting Library Chronicle Cup
He’s a Conniver, owned by Ernie Oare’s EMO Stables, will be seeking his second straight victory in the National Sporting Library Chronicle Cup, a 3 1/4-mile race over timber fences on Saturday. The nine-year-old Crafty Friend gelding followed up last year’s score with a victory in the International Gold Cup. He has been unplaced in two starts this year. Bernie Dalton will ride for trainer Dale Jackson.
Valentine will send out Anna Stable’s Music to My Ears, who most recently finished a good fourth in the Radnor Hunt Cup after two allowance victories. Walsh has the mount. Also in the field are 2011 winners Wolf Tone and Aero.
Nelson C. Noland Memorial
Valentine went overseas to acquire Demonstrative for Jackie Ohrstrom last year, and he is following a similar path with Gawaarib, who was raced by Dubai’s Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum before being purchased for $43,844 at the Tattersalls July sale in Newmarket, England.
The three-year-old Anabaa gelding, a maiden winner on the flat on Kempton’s all-weather course in April, will be one of the horses to watch Sunday in a field of seven for the Nelson C. Noland Memorial at 2 1/8 miles over National Fences. Valentine tapped Walsh to ride Gawaarib.
Also on the six-race Sunday program is the $10,000 Theodora A. Randolph Cup, a maiden hurdle that attracted a field of 11.
Who do you like in the Dorothy Fred Smithwick?
Dirar (Ire). 2005 b. g., King’s Best–Dibiya, by Caerleon. Owners: Michael White, Marcus Reeder, and Emma Johansen. Trainer: Gordon Elliott. 2011 record: 6-0-1-2, $55,423. 4-1 odds. Second to Mabou in Saratoga’s New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1) in first U.S. start. Finished third in Guinness Galway Hurdle Handicap for second straight year in July.
Organisateur (Ire). 2005 b. g., Highest Honor–Willamina, by Sadler’s Wells. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Bruce Miller. Jockey: Darren Nagle. 2011 record: 5-02-0, $16,935. 10-1 odds. Accomplished handicap hurdler in England finished fifth in Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 18 in his U.S. debut.
Dictina’s Boy. 2002 gr. or ro. g., With Approval–Dictina (Fr), by Dictus. Owner: Riverdee Stable. Trainer: Tom Voss. Jockey: Paddy Young. 2011 record: 5-0-3-0, $32,350. 15-1 odds. Finished fifth in Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) after second in Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) in April.
Brave Prospect. 2007 b. g., Purge–Issaqueena, by Mr. Prospector. Owner: Woodslane Farm. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Xavier Aizpuru. 2011 record: 6-1-2-1, $20,000. 15-1 odds. Lost rider at last fence of Saratoga’s National Steeplechase Association J. P. Morgan Chase Hurdle, an optional allowance, on Aug. 18. Scored maiden victory at Saratoga Open House in July.
Lead Us Not. 2002 ch. g., Royal Anthem–Sultress, by Gallant Romeo. Owner: William Pape. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Brian Crowley. 2011 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 15-1 odds. Pulled up in only 2011 start, in First Carolina Block House, an allowance race at Tryon, N.C., on April 23. Finished third in last year’s Grand National (Gr. 1).
Demonstrative. 2007 b. g., Elusive Quality–Loving Pride, by Quiet American. Owner: Jacqueline Ohrstrom. Trainer: Richard Valentine. Jockey: Robbie Walsh. 2011 record: 6-2-3-1, $82,500. 9–2 odds. Last year’s three-year-old champion won Belmont’s William Entenmann Novice by seven lengths and then was second in Saratoga’s Jonathan Kiser Novice and Michael G. Walsh Novice. Also won Foxfield Spring’s Daniel Van Clief Memorial.
Black Jack Blues (Ire). 2003 b. g., Definite Article (GB)–Melody Maid, by Strong Gale. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Joseph Delozier III. Jockey: Ross Geraghty. 2011 record: 6-3-1-0, $29,949. Odds: 8-1. Three-time winner in novice stakes in England and Wales will be tested for first time in U.S. competition.
Nationbuilder. 2004 dk. b. or br. g., Came Home–Seattle Bay, by Opening Verse. Owner: Mary Ann Houghland. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Danielle Hodsdon. 2011 record: 3-0-0-2, $27,500. 8-1 odds. Finished third in Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) and A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 2) before fifth in New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1).
Hope for Us All. 2006 b. g., Royal Anthem–Great Red Hope, by Red Ransom. Owner: Arcadia Stable. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Willie Dowling. 2011 record: 2-0-0-0, $6,360. 15-1 odds. Posted two fourth-place finishes in Saratoga optional allowances, the second as short-priced favorite, this summer.
Ballet Boy (Ire). 2004 b. g., Sadler’s Wells–Happy Landing, by Horning. Owner: Cashel Stables. Trainer: Tom Voss. Jockey: Paddy Young. 2011 record: 3-1-1-0, $22,500. 10-1 odds. Finished seventh behind Demonstrative in the William Entenmann Novice after winning the Vita C. Thompson Memorial, an allowance race, against a good field at the Radnor Hunt Races on May 21.