Many of America’s leading steeplechase horses will face the starter in the 43rd running of the $100,000 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1), the feature race of the Colonial Cup meet at the Springdale Course in Camden, S.C., on Saturday, Nov. 17. First post time is 12:30 p.m. for the six-race program.
Also on the card is the $25,000 Raymond G. Woolfe Memorial, which very likely will decide the year’s three-year-old steeplechase champion.
The Colonial Cup, a 2 3/4-mile race over National Fences, is the last major contest on the 2012 National Steeplechase Association calendar and often plays a role in deciding the year’s Eclipse Award winner.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Slip Away grabbed year-end honors with his Colonial Cup victory in 2010, and he will be bidding for a second win in the prestigious race. Trained by Tom Voss, Slip Away has missed large portions of the last two seasons and most recently finished fourth in the Noel Laing Handicap in Virginia on Nov. 3. Paddy Young, the reigning champion jockey, will ride.
Slip Away will face an uphill battle against a talented field to secure his second Colonial Cup win. One of his leading challengers will be Jacqueline Ohrstrom’s Demonstrative, who locked up the 2010 three-year-old title with his victory in the Raymond Woolfe.
This year, Demonstrative has two major Saratoga Race Course victories, in the $75,000 Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes and the $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1). He finished fourth in his most recent start, the $250,000 Grand National (Gr. 1), at Far Hills, N.J., on Oct. 20. Matt McCarron will ride for trainer Richard Valentine.
Returning to Springdale is 2010 Carolina Cup victor Spy in the Sky, who regained top form over the summer. Owned by Randleston Farm and trained by Jimmy Day, Spy in the Sky won Saratoga’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) on Aug. 2 and then finished second by a nose in the $!50,000 Lonesome Glory Stakes (Gr. 1) at Belmont Park on Sept. 27. Danielle Hodsdon has the mount.
Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard will saddle two Colonial Cup contenders, Bill Pape’s Divine Fortune and Timber Bay Farm’s History Boy. Divine Fortune, a major stakes winner in 2010 and 2011, ran a strong second in the Grand National after finishing sixth in the Lonesome Glory. Darren Nagle will ride.
History Boy won Saratoga’s $75,000 Michael G. Walsh Novice before finishing fifth in the Lonesome Glory. He was pulled up in the Grand National on soft ground. Brian Crowley will be in the saddle.
The sport’s other active Racing Hall of Fame trainer, Janet Elliot, will saddle Gregory D. Hawkins’ Alajmal and Gene Weymouth’s Wild for Gold. Alajmal, a top newcomer to steeplechase racing, won a Saratoga optional allowance and was second in Belmont’s William Entenmann Memorial, a novice stakes, on Sept. 27. Wild for Gold, winner of a Parx Racing optional allowance in June, fell in the Entenmann. Richard Boucher picks up the mount on Alajmal, and Roddy Mackenzie rides Wild for Gold.
Hickory Tree Stable’s Gustavian enters the Colonial Cup after making his mark in the novice ranks. He won the Entenmann and subsequently finished second in the Foxbrook Champion Hurdle at Far Hills. Camden resident Bernie Dalton will ride for trainer Leslie Young.
Leading owner Irvin S. Naylor entered a strong contingent headed by multiple stakes winner Decoy Daddy, who finished second in his bid for a third straight victory in the Noel Laing. The Irish-bred will be ridden by Jeff Murphy.
The rest of Naylor’s starters are new to American steeplechasing. Charminster ran second in the New York Turf Writers before finishing third in the Lonesome Glory and fifth in the Grand National. Ross Geraghty, currently leading the jockey standings, will ride for trainer Brianne Slater, who won last year’s Colonial Cup with Naylor’s Tax Ruling.
Also racing in Naylor’s silks in the Colonial Cup are Jack Cool and You’re the Top. Making their U.S. debuts in the Grand National, You’re the Top finished sixth and Jack Cool was pulled up. James Slater will ride You’re the Top, and Xavier Aizpuru has the mount on Jack Cool. Aizpuru was the winning jockey aboard Tax Ruling in last year’s Colonial Cup.