Doc Cebu, runaway winner of last year’s Genesee Valley Hunt Cup, returns to western New York on Saturday for a shot at a repeat victory in the $30,000 timber feature as the former flat claimer seeks a second straight National Steeplechase Association timber championship.
First post time is 1 p.m. at the historic Geneseo, N.Y., course, and the program also will include the $15,000 Martha S. Wadsworth Memorial maiden timber race and a 1 3/4-mile training flat race for amateur riders.
Purchased as part of an $12,000 two-horse deal in 2016, Doc Cebu roared to an 11 1/4-length victory in last year’s Genesee Valley Hunt Cup and followed two weeks later with an equally emphatic win in the International Gold Cup in The Plains, Va., to lock up the timber title.
Owned by Charles Fenwick Jr., Charles Noell, and Michael Hankin, Doc Cebu won Shawan Downs’ $25,000 Brown Advisory Legacy Chase by 3 1/2 lengths on Sept. 29. Trainer Jack Fisher named Hadden Frost to a return engagement on the eight-year-old Hard Spun gelding.
Finishing second in last year’s timber standings was Irv Naylor’s Ebanour, who was less than $9,000 behind Doc Cebu after winning the Virginia Gold Cup and Pennsylvania Hunt Cup for the second consecutive year. In his only start this year, the Irish-bred finished fourth in the Virginia Gold Cup on May 5.
Darren Nagle will ride Ebanour for trainer Cyril Murphy, who kept his options open by also entering Ebanour in the National Sporting Library & Museum Cup at the Virginia Fall Races in Middleburg on Saturday.
Naylor, last year’s leading timber owner, also was represented in the Genesee Valley Hunt Cup entries by Aquies, who has two second-place and two third-place finishes this year. Eddie Keating was named to ride by trainer Kathy Neilson.
Keating was also named by Neilson aboard Sycamore Run Farm’s Pured It, who was second to Doc Cebu in the Willowdale Steeplechase on May 13. Pured It, third in the Radnor Hunt Cup six days after the Willowdale race, also was entered in the National Sporting Library Cup.
An intriguing newcomer to timber racing’s top echelon is Frank A. Bonsal Jr.’s Stand Down, who has not tasted defeat in his two career starts, both this past spring, for trainer Joseph Davies. Eric Poretz will ride the six-year-old Irish-bred.
Trainer Forrest Kelly will be aboard Black and Blue Stable’s Monstaleur, who has been chasing Doc Cebu this year, finishing third in the Willowdale Steeplechase and fifth in the Legacy Chase.
Completing the field is Keystone Thoroughbreds’ Be Great, who will be returning to the races after 17 months. Winner of the 2015 Genesee Valley Hunt Cup, Be Great is trained by Todd McKenna and will be ridden by Archie Macauley.
Here is the field for the 3 1/2-mile Genesee Valley Hunt Cup in post-position order.
Be Great. 2007 b. g., Gulch—Classic Ingrid, by Regal Classic. Owner: Keystone Thoroughbreds. Trainer: Todd McKenna. Jockey: Archie Macauley. Breeder: Equivine Farm (Pa.) 2017 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2016 record: 3-0-0-1, $4,000. 2015 record: 3-1-0-1, $22,000. In only 2017 start, fell at the 15th fence of Willowdale amateur apprentice timber race. Opened 2016 with third in Winterthur Bowl open timber, then was fourth in Genesee Valley Hunt Cup, race he won in 2015, and was pulled up in the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup.
Aquies. 2012 b. g., Artie Schiller—Quies, by Quiet American. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Jockey: Eddie Keating. Breeders: Mr. and Mrs. M. Roy Jackson (Ky.) 2018 record: 4-0-2-2, $9,300. 2017 record: 4-1-1-2, $15,700. Finished third in 2018 Willowdale timber allowance after second a week earlier in similar race at Winterthur. Finished third in My Lady’s Manor 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.
Doc Cebu. 2010 b. g., Hard Spun—Berga, by Jade Hunter. Owners: Charles C. Fenwick Jr., Michael Hankin, and Charles Noell. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Hadden Frost. Breeder: Graceville Breeding (Ky.) 2018 record: 3-2-0-1, $39,000. 2017 record: 5-4-1-0, $96,600. 2016 record: 2-2-0-0, $21,000. Won Shawan Downs’ 2018 Brown Advisory Legacy Chase by 3 1/2 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 after 11 1/4-length score in Genesee Valley Hunt Cup. Opened his timber career with a maiden victory at 2017 My Lady’s Manor and was second in Queen’s Cup timber allowance. Won his two starts over hurdles in 2016.
Monstaleur. 2007 ch. g., Meadow Monster—Taleur, by Stalwars. Owner: Black and Blue Stable. Trainer: Forrest Kelly. Jockey: Forrest Kelley. Breeders: Dr. James E. Bryant and Linda P. Davis (Va.). 2018 record: 3-0-0-2, $9,500. 2017 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2016 record: 2-1-0-0, $9,750. Finished third in 2018 Grand National and Willowdale Steeplechase, then was fifth in Brown Advisory Legacy Chase at Shawan Downs. Pulled up in 2017 Willowdale Steeplechase, his only start that year. Closed ground for dead-heat win in 2016 Willowdale Steeplechase.
Ebanour (Ire). 2007 ch. g., Indian Ridge—Ebadilya, by Sadler’s Wells. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Jockey: Darren Nagle. Breeders: Aga Khan’s Studs (Ire). 2018 record: 1-0-0-0, $5,000. 2017 record: 5-2-1-0, $89,150. 2016 record: 4-3-0-0, $78,000. Finished fourth in 2018 Virginia Gold Cup. Won Virginia Gold Cup and Pennsylvania Hunt Cup in 2016 and 2017. His 18-length win at Unionville followed fifth in 2017 New Jersey Hunt Cup. Was disqualified to second from win in 2017 Radnor Hunt Cup. Won 2015 New Jersey Hunt Cup.
Stand Down (Ire). 2012 b. g., Yeats (Ire)—Quadrennial, by Un Desperado. Owner: Frank Bonsal Jr. Trainer: Joseph G. Davies. Jockey: Eric Poretz. Breeder: Mrs. E. Costelloe (Ire). 2018 record: 2-2-0-0-0, $18,000. Has won his two career starts by open lengths, beginning with 2018 Grand National timber allowance and then Willowdale allowance timber.
Pured It. 2009 b. g., Purim—Judiths Humor, by Hennessy. Owner: Sycamore Run Farm. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Jockey: Eddie Keating. Breeder: Ashleigh Stud, Frank Ramos, and Jackie Ramos (Ky.) 2018 record: 3-0-1-1, $10,050. 2016 record: 2-1-0-0, $10,200. Closed powerfully to finish second in 2018 Willowdale Steeplechase, then finished third in Radnor Hunt Cup. Missed the 2017 season and returned with fourth in John D. Schapiro Memorial amateur apprentice timber allowance at 2018 My Lady’s Manor. In first timber start and first jumps start in almost two years, won High Hope’s 2016 Jay Trump maiden hurdle by 10 1/4 lengths.