Two-time timber champion Doc Cebu and other leading performers are among 11 nominees to the $100,000 Virginia Gold Cup, the headline race for the 94th annual Virginia Gold Cup on Saturday, May 4, at Great Meadow Race Course in The Plains.
The Virginia Gold Cup annually attracts American Steeplechasing’s largest crowd, and the festivities on the first Saturday in May will kick off with a 12:30 p.m. first post time.
Doc Cebu, owned by Charles Fenwick Jr., Michael Hankin, and Charles Noell, clinched his timber-racing title the last two seasons at Great Meadow with victories in the International Gold Cup, and he will attempt the Virginia Gold Cup’s four miles for the first time in his career.
Also for the first time, he will be coming into a race after being unplaced in his prior start. He struck the top rails of the next-to-last fence of the My Lady’s Manor on April 13 and stumbled on landing, dislodging jockey Hadden Frost.
Doc Cebu is trained by Jack Fisher, who also nominated Bruton Street-US’s Lemony Bay, who finished third in the My Lady’s Manor.
The Virginia Gold Cup nominees include the first two finishers in the My Lady’s Manor, Keystone Thoroughbreds’ winner Mystic Strike and Blair Wyatt’s Witor, who finished 1¼ lengths back. Todd McKenna trains Mystic Strike, winner by disqualification of the 2017 Radnor Hunt Cup, and Todd Wyatt trains Witor for his wife.
Also on the My Lady’s Manor program, Frank Bonsal Jr.’s Stand Down finished second in the John D. Schapiro Memorial amateur apprentice timber race. The Virginia Gold Cup nominee had won the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup in his previous start.
The other Virginia Gold Cup nominees were in action on April 20 in Virginia and Maryland. Ballybristol Farm’s Andi’amu, winner of the Virginia Gold Cup’s Steeplethon Stakes last May, conquered the Middleburg Hunt Cup by 5¾ lengths for trainer Leslie Young.
Finishing second was Michael A. Smith’s Le Chevalier, who had won Virginia Fall’s National Sporting Library & Museum Cup. The 10-year-old is trained by Julie Gomena.
Last year’s Middleburg Hunt Cup winner, Irv Naylor’s Super Saturday, finished fifth this year. He finished third in the 2018 Virginia Gold Cup.
In Maryland at the Grand National, Naylor’s Aquies charged past Armata Stables’ front-running Vintage Vinnie to win the Benjamin H. Murray Memorial timber allowance by 2¼ lengths. Aquies and Super Saturday are trained by Kathy Neilson, and Joe Davies trains Vintage Vinnie.
Hudson River Farms’ Codrington Cottage finished third in the Grand National’s Western Run Plate amateur apprentice allowance. The Irish-bred is trained by Racing Hall of Fame member Jonathan Sheppard.
Here are the nominees to the 94th Virginia Gold Cup.
Andi’amu (Fr). 2010 b. g., Walk In The Park—Sainte Parfaite, by Septieme Ciel. Owner: Ballybristol Farm. Trainer: Leslie Young. Breeder: Therese Bouche (Fr). 2019 record: 1-1-0-0, $18,000. 2018 record: 2-2-0-0, $36,000. 2017 NSA record: 6-0-1-2, $32,900. Won the 2019 Middleburg Hunt Cup by 5¾ lengths. Won Middleburg Spring’s 2018 Alfred M. Hunt steeplethon, then added Virginia Gold Cup’s Steeplethon Stakes. Finished second in 2017 Noel Laing Handicap after third in Far Hills’ Appleton ratings handicap. Opened 2017 with fifth in Tryon Block House Handicap, then was distant third in Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1). Came home eighth in 2017 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1).
Aquies. 2012 b. g., Artie Schiller—Quies, by Quiet American. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Breeders: Mr. and Mrs. M. Roy Jackson (Ky.) 2019 record: 2-1-0-0, $14,500. 2018 record: 5-0-2-2, $9,300. 2017 record: 4-1-1-2, $15,700. Won Grand National’s Benjamin H. Murray Memorial after fourth in My Lady’s Manor. Fell in 2018 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. Finished third in 2018 Willowdale timber allowance after second a week earlier in similar race at Winterthur. Finished third in My Lady’s Manor’s 2018 John D. Schapiro Memorial and second in Grand National’s Western Run Plate. Won 2017 Willowdale maiden timber and was third in Fair Hill novice timber.
Codrington College (Ire). 2010 ch. g., Duke of Marmalade—A.P. Easy, by A.P. Indy. Owner: Hudson River Farms. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Breeder: Laundry Cottage Stud Farm (Ire). 2019 record: 1-0-0-1, $1,000. 2017 record: 1-1-0-0, $9,000. Finished third in Grand National’s 2019 Western Run Plate. Won his timber debut at 2018 Queen’s Cup.
Doc Cebu. 2010 b. g., Hard Spun—Berga, by Jade Hunter. Owners: Charles C. Fenwick Jr., Michael Hankin, and Charles Noell. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: Graceville Breeding (Ky.) 2019 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2018 record: 5-4-0-1, $102,000. 2017 record: 5-4-1-0, $96,600. Timber champion, 2017, 2018. Knocked down second-to-last fence and lost rider in 2019 My Lady’s Manor. Won International Gold Cup for a second time to lock up 2018 timber title. Also won Shawan Downs’ 2018 Brown Advisory Legacy Chase by 3 1/2 lengths and scored a second victory in the Genesee Valley Hunt Cup by seven lengths. Won Willowdale Steeplechase for a second straight year in 2018 after third in Middleburg Hunt Cup. Clinched 2017 timber championship with 11-length victory in International Gold Cup.
Le Chevalier. 2009 g. or ro. g., Broken Vow—Orellana, by With Approval. Owner: Michael A. Smith. Trainer: Julie Gomena. Breeder: Haras du Mezeray (Ky.) 2019 record: 1-0-1-0, $5,400. 2018 record: 4-1-2-1, $54,900. 2017 record: 1-0-0-1, $3,000. Finished second in 2019 Middleburg Hunt Cup. Won 2018 National Sporting Library & Museum Cup, then was third in International Gold Cup. Finished second in Virginia Gold Cup and Middleburg Hunt Cup. Won the 2016 New Jersey Hunt Cup.
Lemony Bay (GB). 2009 b. g., Overbury—Lemon’s Mill, by Roberto. Owner: Bruton Street-US. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: G. R. Waters (GB). 2019 record: 1-0-0-1, $5,000. 2017 record: 3-1-1-0, $37,500. Finished third in 2019 My Lady’s Manor after missing 2018 season. Won 2017 My Lady’s Manor, then was game second in Virginia Gold Cup and fourth in Radnor Hunt Cup. Won Virginia Gold Cup’s 2016 Steeplethon and Middleburg Spring’s Alfred M. Hunt steeplechase after second in division of John Rush Streett maiden timber at My Lady’s Manor.
Mystic Strike. 2009 b. h., Smart Strike—Mystic Rhythms, by Citidancer. Owner: Upland Partners. Trainer: Todd McKenna. Breeder: Peter Vegso Racing (Fla.). 2019 record: 1-1-0-0, $30,000. 2018 record: 4-0-2-1, $17,600. 2017 record: 2-2-0-0, $27,000. Won the 2019 My Lady’s Manor. Finished fifth in 2018 New Jersey Hunt Cup. Finished second in 2018 Radnor Hunt Cup and Winterthur Bowl after third in My Lady’s Manor. Barely beaten and then placed first in 2017 Radnor Hunt Cup.
Stand Down (Ire). 2012 b. g., Yeats (Ire)—Quadrennial, by Un Desperado. Owner: Frank Bonsal Jr. Trainer: Joseph G. Davies. Breeder: Mrs. E. Costelloe (Ire). 2019 record: 1-0-1-0, $1,800. 2018 record: 5-3-0-1, $45,000. Finished second in 2019 John D. Schapiro timber allowance at My Lady’s Manor. Won 2018 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. Sustained first career defeat when third in 2018 Genesee Valley Hunt Cup, then was pulled up in International Gold Cup. Won first two career starts by open lengths, beginning with 2018 Grand National timber allowance and then Willowdale allowance timber.
Super Saturday. 2009 gr. or ro. g., Any Given Saturday—Lady Aloma, by Cozzene. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Breeder: Walton Breeders (Ky.) 2019 record: 1-0-0-0, $1,200. 2018 record: 6-1-2-1, $51,800. 2017 record: 6-0-1-1, $13,400. Finished fifth in Middleburg Hunt Cup. Finished second in 2018 International Gold Cup and Pennsylvania Hunt Cup after fifth in National Sporting Library & Museum Cup. Won 2018 Middleburg Hunt Cup, then was third in the Virginia Gold Cup and fourth in Radnor Hunt Cup.
Vintage Vinnie (Ire). 2009 b. g., Vinnie Roe (Ire)—Bobby’s Jet, by Bob’s Return. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: Joseph G. Davies. Breeder: Carmel Hennessy (Ire). 2019 record: 1-0-1-0, $3,600. 2018 record: 1-0-1-0, $2,700. 2017 NSA record: No starts. Finished second in Grand National’s 2019 Benjamin H. Murray timber allowance after leading at last fence. In first U.S. start, finished second in division of 2018 John Rush Streett Memorial at My Lady’s Manor. Winner of an Aintree steeplechase by 22 lengths in June 2017, he subsequently was unplaced in the Galway Plate Steeplechase.
Witor (Ger). 2008 b. g., Dashing Blade—Wurfspeil, by Lomitas (GB). Owner: Blair Wyatt. Trainer: Todd Wyatt. Breeder: Gestut Farhof (Ger). 2019 record: 1-0-1-0, $9,000. 2018 record: 2-1-0-1, $13,000. 2017 record: 2-1-0-0, $10,250. Finished game second in 2019 My Lady’s Manor. Won 2018 John D. Schapiro Memorial amateur apprentice timber at My Lady’s Manor, then was third in Winterthur Bowl. Scored maiden timber victory at 2017 Willowdale meet and then was fourth in a Fair Hill timber novice.