Keystone Thoroughbreds’ Meet At Eleven will shoot for his third consecutive victory when he meets a talented field of timber specialists in the $50,000 International Gold Cup, the featured race of the 26th annual meet at Great Meadows Race Course in The Plains, Va., on Saturday, Oct. 16. First post time is 1:30 p.m. for the six-race program, which attracted full fields. Live streaming of the meet’s races will be available on the National Steeplechase Association website, www.nationalsteeplechase.com/old.
Meet At Eleven enters the 3 1/2-mile International Gold Cup from a 3 1/2-length victory in the $40,000 Radnor Hunt Cup at Malvern, Pa., on May 15. Trained by Todd McKenna, the Irish-bred 11-year-old gelding started the 2010 season with a victory in the C. P. and Edith Wills DuBose Cup at the Carolina Cup Races in Camden, S.C., on March 27.
Paddy Young, currently the National Steeplechase Association’s leading jockey, will ride Meet At Eleven, who tuned up for the International Gold Cup with an unplaced finish in a training flat race at the Morven Park Steeplechase in Leesburg, Va., on Oct. 9.
Meet At Eleven will share the International Gold Cup’s 165-pound high weight with He’s a Conniver, commanding winner of the $35,000 National Sporting Library Chronicle Cup, and Irvin S. Naylor’s Fieldview, a two-time winner this year who finished fourth in the Chronicle Cup.
He’s a Conniver, owned by trainer Ernie Oare’s EMO Stables, set all the pace in the Chronicle Cup at the Virginia Fall Races in Middleburg on Oct. 2 and drew away easily to a 27-length victory in the 3 1/4-mile timber race. Jody Petty will ride the Crafty Friend gelding, who was bred by Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard.
Fieldview, trained by Kathy N. McKenna, will seek to step up from his fourth-place finish in the Chronicle Cup. The seven-year-old Charismatic gelding won the $10,000 James Stump Memorial at the Fair Hill Races in Maryland on May 29, following a score in the Marshall W. Jenney Memorial maiden timber race at the Willowdale Steeplechase in Kennett Square, Pa., 20 days earlier. Darren Nagle will ride.
Also wearing Naylor’s silks in the nine-horse field will be Albert’s Crossing, who is trained by William Meister and will be ridden by James Slater. The ten-year-old, winner of the 2006 Chronicle Cup, was pulled up in this year’s Chronicle Cup.
Anna Stable’s Music To My Ears enters the International Gold Cup from a third-place performance in the Chronicle Cup. Trained by Richard Valentine, the 12-year-old Irish-bred gelding will be ridden by Robbie Walsh. Also entered was Benjamin Swope’s Incaseyouraminer, the fifth-place finisher in the Chronicle Cup.
Entering the International Gold Cup from a second-place finish in the $25,000 Ski Roundtop Trophy on Sept. 25 is Manown Kiser Jr.’s Gather No Moss. Seeking to improve from an unplaced finish in the Ski Roundtop at Shawan Downs in Hunt Valley, Md., is Merriefield Farm’s Bon Caddo. The nine-year-old gelding demonstrated an affinity for the Great Meadow course with a good second-place finish to Bubble Economy in the $75,000 Virginia Gold Cup on May 1.
An intriguing entry in the International Gold Cup is Mrs. S. K. Johnston’s Swagger Stick, who is making only his second start over timber fences. Under the care of 2009 champion trainer Jack Fisher, the nine-year-old Cozzene gelding finished second by a neck in a maiden timber race at Shawan Downs.
In his previous start, he had finished third to Sermon of Love in Saratoga Race Course’s $100,000 New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1) over National Fences on Aug. 26. He also won the 2008 Foxbrook Supreme Hurdle in course-record time at the Far Hills Races in New Jersey and was graded stakes-placed on the flat. Willie Dowling has the mount in the International Gold Cup.