Twenty horses dropped into the entry box for Saturday’s $125,000 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle for novices, or horses in their first seasons of racing over fences, and Far Hills Races officials split the race, with $125,000 in each division.
The split raised Far Hills’ purses to a National Steeplechase Association record $900,000 for a race meet.
Wendy Hendriks’ Surprising Soul, undefeated in two stakes starts this year, heads the first division. Trained by Ricky Hendriks, Surprising Soul will be ridden by Ross Geraghty, who was aboard for victories in Radnor’s National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3) in May and Saratoga Race Course’s Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes in August.
Hendriks, currently tied with Jack Fisher atop the trainer standings, also will saddle Rosbrian Farm’s and Martin Wasylocha’s Veneer of Charm, upset winner of Cheltenham Race Course’s Boodles Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle in March for former trainer Gordon Elliott. Jack Kennedy rides Veneer of Charm.
Also in that division is Carrington Holdings’ Boss Man, victor in Belmont Park’s William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes on Sept. 20 after a third in the Walsh. Trainer Arch Kingsley Jr. gave Michael Mitchell a return call.
Fisher, who has a strong contingent of novice competitors, has three entries in the first division: Riverdee Stable’s City Dreamer, fifth in the Entenmann with Willie McCarthy; Woodslane Farm’s Pik Em, winner of a High Hope Steeplechase ratings handicap with Sean McDermott aboard last month; and Northwoods Stable’s and Sheila J. Williams’ Notjudginjustsayin, a maiden winner who will be ridden by Danny Mullins.
Neil Morris will saddle Gillian Johnston’s Mutasaawy, who finished fifth in the Walsh. Barry Foley has the mount on the winner of Fair Hill’s Valentine Memorial ratings handicap on May 26.
Irv Naylor will be represented in the first division by Bobabout and Salix. Trained by Cyril Murphy, Bobabout finished second in the National Hunt Cup, while Salix finished sixth in the Walsh. Darren Nagle will be aboard Bobabout, while Gerard Galligan rides Salix.
Mrs. Johnston will have two maiden hurdle winners, Cite and Set to Music, in the wide-open second division. Cite, trained by Fisher, will be ridden by McCarthy, and Galligan rides Set to Music for trainer Kathy Neilson.
Fisher also will saddle DASH Stable’s Ice It, Riverdee Stable’s Gibralfaro, and Duodecim Stable’s All for Us in the second division. Ice It finished second in the Entenmann and will be ridden by Nagle; Gibralfaro finished sixth in the Entenmann and will be handled by McDermott; All for Us won a Shawan Downs allowance hurdle and will be ridden by Mitchell.
Hendriks and Geraghty will team up in the second division with Rosbrian Farm’s Detroit Blues, who finished third in the Entenmann.
Here is the field for the first division of the $125,000 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle in post-position order. The horses’ National Steeplechase Association ratings are in parentheses at the end of their profiles.
Surprising Soul. 2012 b. g., Perfect Soul (Ire)—Elusive Surprise, by Elusive Quality. Owner: Wendy W. Hendriks. Trainer: Ricky Hendriks. Jockey: Ross Geraghty. Breeder: Charles Fipke (Ont.) 2018 record: 2-2-0-0, $75,000. 2017 record: 7-3-0-1, $106,500. Won Saratoga’s 2018 Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes. Opened 2018 with dominant victory in Radnor’s National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3). Advanced to third in Saratoga’s 2017 Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes after victory in Iroquois’ $100,000 Marcellus Frost Champion Hurdle. Finished 10th in Foxbrook Champion Hurdle. (131)
City Dreamer (Ire). 2014 ch. g., Casamento—Cadesia, by Cadeaux Genereux (GB). Owner: Riverdee Stable. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Willie McCarthy. Breeder: Redpender Stud (Ire). 2018 NSA record: 1-0-0-0, $3,000. Finished fifth in Belmont Park’s 2018 William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes, his U.S. debut. Won two English juvenile hurdles in September 2017 and had been competitive in modest handicap company before joining Fisher stable in summer 2018. (134)
Belisarius (Ire). 2011 b. g., Montjeu—Lasting Chance, by American Chance. Owner: Gary Barber, Brous Stable, and Wachtel Racing Stable. Trainer: Kate Dalton. Jockey: Bernie Dalton. Breeders: Lynch Bages Ltd. And Camas Park Stud (Ire). 2018 NSA record: 4-1-1-2, $31,200. Set all the pace and won 2018 Monmouth Park maiden hurdle by two lengths. Never has finished off the board in four jumps starts. (116)
Bobabout (Ire). 2013 b. g., Big Bad Bob—Chaperoned (Ire), by High Chaparral (Ire). Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Jockey: Darren Nagle. Breeder: John Harrington (Ire). 2018 record: 1-0-1-0, $9,000. 2017 NSA 1-0-0-0, $0. Finished second in 2018 National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3). In first U.S. start, finished seventh in Saratoga’s 2017 Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes. Won Punchestown handicap in April 2017 for breeder-trainer and then had two seconds before sixth at Tipperary in late June. (122)
Boss Man. 2010 ch. g., English Channel—Jenny Joy, by Acceptable. Owner: Carrington Holdings. Trainer: Arch Kingsley Jr. Jockey: Michael Mitchell. Breeder: Kinsman Farm (Fla.) 2018 NSA record: 5-3-0-1, $99,500. Won Belmont Park’s 2018 William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes after third in Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes at Saratoga. Won Saratoga allowance hurdle by front-running 2 1/4 lengths. Graduate of Jason Servis’ flat training operation scored his maiden victory over fences at the 2018 Queen’s Cup. Pulled up in initial start over fences at the Tryon Block House meet. (127)
Pik Em. 2014 gr. or ro. g., Tapit—Seattle Smooth, by Quiet American. Owner: Woodslane Farm. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sean McDermott. Breeder: Mercedes Stables (Ky.). 2018 record: 3-2-0-0, $28,500. Won 2018 High Hope ratings handicap handily after maiden victory over fences in Radnor maiden claiming hurdle. Finished fourth in Foxfield Spring maiden hurdle. (115)
Veneer of Charm (Ire). 2014 b. g., Fast Company (Ire)—Nova Tor (Ire), by Trans Island (GB). Owners: Rosbrian Farm and Martin J. Wasylocha. Trainer: Ricky Hendriks. Jockey: Jack Kennedy. Breeder: P. Burns (Ire). 2018 NSA record: No starts. Scored 33-1 upset victory in 2018 Cheltenham Festival handicap hurdle but failed to retain that form and finished well-beaten sixth in an allowance hurdle in his final overseas start.
Mutasaawy. 2010 b. g., Tapit—Pretty Proud, by Mr. Greeley. Owner: Gillian Johnston. Trainer: Neil Morris. Jockey: Barry Foley. Breeder: Pretty Proud Syndicate (Ky.). 2018 NSA record: 5-1-1-0, $40,500. 2017 NSA record: 6-2-1-1, $66,900. Finished lackluster fifth as 9-to-5 favorite in Saratoga’s 2018 Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes. Won Fair Hill’s 2018 Valentine Memorial ratings handicap before second in Saratoga’s Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes as favorite. Finished seventh in 2018 Queen’s Cup MPC ’Chase and fell in Iroquois’ Marcellus Frost Champion Hurdle. Third in Belmont Park’s 2017 William Entenmann Novice Stakes. (127)
Notjudginjustsayin. 2014 dk. b. or br. g., Broken Vow—Mythical, by Dixieland Band. Owner: Northwoods Stable and Sheila J. Williams. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Danny Mullins. Breeder: Colts Neck Stables (Ky.). 2018 record: 2-1-0-0, $19,500. Won a 2018 Fair Hill maiden hurdle in his jumps debut and then was fourth in Shawan allowance hurdle. (115)
Salix (Fr). 2014 gr. or ro. g., Grey Risk—Yes Mate, by Lord of Men. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Jockey: Gerard Galligan. Breeder: Remi Sabatier (Fr). 2018 NSA record: 1-0-0-0, $2,250. Graduate of Ben Pauling’s operation arrived in the U.S. from two dominant wins in lower-level hurdle handicaps and finished sixth in 2018 Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes. Maiden winner on flat in France in November 2017 before converting to jumping. (123)
Here is the field for the second division of the $125,000 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle in post-position order. The horses’ National Steeplechase Association ratings are in parentheses at the end of their profiles.
Cite. 2013 b. g., Blame—Cross, by Mighty. Owner: Gillian Johnston. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Willie McCarthy. Breeders: Claiborne Farm and Adele B. Dilschneider (Ky.) 2018 record: 2-1-1-0, $29,400. Won 2018 Iroquois Steeplechase maiden hurdle after second in his jump-racing debut in a maiden hurdle at the Queen’s Cup. (116)
Gibralfaro. (Ire). 2012 b. g., Dalakhani (Ire)—Ronda, by Bluebird. Owner: Riverdee Stable. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sean McDermott. Breeder: Sarl Darpat France (Ire). 2018 record: 3-1-1-0, $41,250. Finished second in Iroquois’ 2018 Marcellus Frost Champion Hurdle for novices, then was sixth in Belmont Park’s William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes. Set pressured pace and won 2018 Tryon Block House allowance hurdle. In final start in England in October 2017, finished third in an allowance hurdle at Bangor-on-Dee. Won an Ascot allowance hurdle in January 2017. (133)
Amschel (GB). 2014 b. g., Nathaniel (Ire)—Darinza (Fr), by Dalakhani (Ire). Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Jockey: Graham Watters. Breeder: Newsells Park Stud (GB). 2018 NSA record: No starts. After second-place finish in his racing debut in April, has reeled off three straight victories in Ireland, most recently in a €20,000 novice hurdle at Roscommon in July for trainer J. F. O’Shea.
Set to Music. 2011b. g., Dynaformer—Pussycat Doll, by Real Quiet. Owner: Gillian Johnston. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Jockey: Gerard Galligan. Breeder: Mr. and Mrs. Roy Jackson (Ky.). 2018 record: 3-1-2-0, $30,600. After two close second-place finishes, broke through for a maiden hurdle victory at the 2018 Fair Hill Races. (116)
Ice It. 2012 gr. or ro. g., Tapit—Spice Island, by Tabasco Cat. Owner: DASH Stable. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Darren Nagle. Breeder: Qatar Bloodstock (Ky.) 2018 record: 4-0-1-0, $23,500. 2017 record: 6-1-2-1, $100,330. Finished second, beaten a half-length, in Belmont Park’s 2018 William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes after fifth in Marcellus Frost Champion Hurdle at Iroquois Steeplechase. Finished fourth in Queen’s Cup MPC ’Chase after sixth in Carolina Cup. Finished hard-trying second in Far Hills Races’ 2017 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle and Aflac Supreme Hurdle. Won 2017 Queen’s Cup MPC ’Chase. Won Far Hills’ Gladstone Hurdle to lock up 2015 three-year-old championship. (128)
All for Us. 2011 dk. b. or br. g., Tiz Wonderful—Patricias Prospect, by A.P. Indy. Owner: Duodecim Stable. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Michael Mitchell. Breeder: Spendthrift Farm (Ky.) 2018 record: 1-1-0-0, $18,000. 2016 NSA record: 5-1-2-2, $51,000. Missed 2017 season and came back with an allowance hurdle victory at the 2018 Shawan Downs meet. After closing out flat career with two wins at Tampa Bay Downs, won his jumps debut in a $40,000 Sport of Kings maiden hurdle at the Virginia Gold Cup in 2016. (119)
Indian Hawk (Ire). 2012 b. g., Westerner—Yorkshire Girl, by Anshan. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Leslie F. Young. Jockey: Thomas Garner. Breeder: Patrick Fennessy (Ire). 2018 NSA record: 1-0-0-0, $0. In U.S. debut, finished seventh in Belmont Park’s William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes. Concluded his career in England with 10-length victory in a steeplechase allowance at Wincanton in May. In previous start, was second as odds-on favorite in a steeplechase allowance at Towcester. (133)
Swellelegent. 2012 ch. g., Pure Prize—Latania, by Polish Numbers. Owner: Thomas Hulfish III. Trainer: Neil Morris. Jockey: Kieran Norris. Breeder: Mrs. Arturo Peralta Ramos (Ky.) 2018 NSA record: 4-1-1-0, $29,750. 2017 NSA record: 2-1-0-0, $15,000. Finished second in 2018 High Hope ratings handicap. Held on for a nose victory in 2018 handicap hurdle at Monmouth Park, then was fifth in Saratoga’s Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes. Tired and was pulled up in Tryon Block House allowance hurdle. Won 2017 Montpelier maiden hurdle. (119)
Detroit Blues (GB). 2010 ch. g., Tobougg (Ire)—Blue Missy, by Swain (Ire). Owner: Rosbrian Farm. Trainer: Ricky Hendriks. Jockey: Ross Geraghty. Breeder: R. W. Huggins (GB). 2018 record: 1-0-0-1, 7,500. 2016 NSA record: 1-1-0-0, $39,000. Came back to the races after missing the 2017 season with third in Belmont Park’s William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes. Won only U.S. jumps start, a 2016 Saratoga allowance hurdle, after second in Parx flat race for hurdlers. Won maiden hurdle at Fontwell in England in May 2015. (120)
Invocation (Fr). 2013 dk. b. g., Intense Focus—Fabiola, by Medicean. Owner: Straylight Racing. Trainer: William Santoro. Jockey: Sean McDermott. Breeder: E.A.R.L. Elevage Des Loges (Fr). 2018 record: No starts. 2017 record: 3-2-1-0, $58,500. 2016 NSA record: 2-1-0-1, $20,000. Won 2017 Saratoga allowance hurdle. Drew away to a 16 1/2-length win in a 2017 Radnor ratings handicap after second in Queen’s Cup ratings handicap. Won a 2016 Colonial Cup allowance hurdle by 18 lengths after third in Far Hills’ Gladstone Stakes, his U.S. debut. Maiden on flat in England but frequently in the money. (118)