The 118th running of the historic $450,000 Grand National (Gr. 1) on Saturday will feature an international field of 13 top competitors trained by top international horsemen and ridden by leading international jockeys.
The 2 5/8-mile Grand National, one of the world’s richest steeplechase races, will highlight a day of top-quality racing at the 99th Far Hills Races in New Jersey. In all, 79 entries were taken for the six stakes races over hurdles and one flat race. In all, purses total $850,000.
Sideways Syndicate’s Jury Duty, who invaded last year from Ireland and won the Grand National by 3¼ lengths, will attempt back-to-back victories in a formidable field. Most recently sixth in Gowran Park’s PWC Champion Steeplechase on Oct. 5, he will again be ridden by Robbie Power.
Gordon Elliott, Jury Duty’s trainer, also entered Pat Sloan’s The Storyteller, a top-rated chaser who most recently finished eighth in the PWC Champion Steeplechase. Veteran jockey Davy Russell has the mount.
Willie Mullins entered Wicklow Bloodstock’s Wicklow Brave, a formidable competitor over hurdles and chase fences and a Grade 1 winner on the flat. The 10-year-old arrives from Ireland with a three-race winning streak, including Galway’s Guinness Brewery Steeplechase in August. Paul Townend will ride.
Mullins also entered Bruton Street IV’s Pravalaguna, a seven-year-old mare who most recently finished fifth in the Guinness Kerry National Steeplechase over chase fences. Also entered in Far Hills’ $75,000 Peapack Stakes, she will be ridden by Danny Mullins.
Arriving from England will be Michael Buckley’s Brain Power, who is trained by Nicky Henderson. The eight-year-old Irish-bred won Cheltenham’s Unibet International Hurdle last December but was unplaced in two starts this year. Nico de Boinville has the mount.
The American team is deep and talented. Champion trainer Jack Fisher will saddle Bruton Street-US’s champion duo of Scorpiancer and Moscato. The Eclipse Award champion in 2017, Scorpiancer won the Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) in May and prepared for the Grand National with a fifth-place finish in Belmont Park’s Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) on Sept. 19.
Moscato, 2017’s novice champion, won Middleburg Spring’s Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 2) in April and was eighth in the Lonesome Glory. Sean McDermott rides Scorpiancer, and Michael Mitchell will be aboard Moscato.
Racing Hall of Fame member Jonathan Sheppard will saddle the 2018 novice champion, Iranistan. The five-year-old Einstein gelding will be making his first sanctioned start since finishing third in Saratoga Race Course’s New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1) 14 months ago. Darren Nagle will ride.
Trainer Ricky Hendriks will saddle Wendy Hendriks’ Surprising Soul, the upset winner of the Lonesome Glory, and Rosbrian Farm’s The Holy One, who is making his first U.S. start. Ross Geraghty will be aboard Surprising Soul, and Paddy Kennedy travels to the U.S. to ride The Holy One.
Leslie Young, currently third in the trainer standings behind Fisher and Sheppard, has two Grand National contenders, Sharon Sheppard’s Redicean and Bruton Street-US’s Rashaan. Redicean won Saratoga’s Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes and was sixth in the Lonesome Glory. Rashaan won the Keelings Irish Strawberry Handicap at Fairyhouse in April. Thomas Garner has a return call on Redicean, and Jack Kennedy will ride Rashaan.
Completing the field is Robert A. Kinsley’s Modem, who most recently finished sixth in the New York Turf Writers. Trained by Elizabeth Voss, Modem will be ridden by Jack Doyle.
Here is the field for the $450,000 Grand National in post-position order. All starters carry 156 pounds except for Pravalaguna, who has an eight-pound weight concession for females. The horses’ ratings are in parentheses at the end of their profiles.
The Holy One (Ire). 2013 b. g., Court Cave (Ire)—Vickate (Ire), by Old Vic (GB). Owner: Rosbrian Farm. Trainer: Ricky Hendriks. Jockey: Paddy Kennedy. Breeder: Rosemary Swan (Ire). 2019 NSA record: No starts. Won a modest hurdle handicap in April and in most recent start finished in a dead-heat third in a steeplechase allowance in August. (127)
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.) 2019 record: 3-1-1-0, $119,500. 2018 record: 3-2-1-0, $97,500. 2017 record: 7-3-0-1, $106,500. Won Belmont Park’s 2019 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) by3¾ lengths. Finished second in 2019 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr 1) after fourth in Carolina Cup Handicap, his 2019 debut. Won Saratoga’s 2018 Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes, then was second in Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle division. Opened 2018 with dominant victory in Radnor’s National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3). (139)
The Storyteller (Ire). 2013 ch. g., Shantou—Bally Bolshoi (Ire), by Bob Back. Owner: Patricia Sloan. Trainer: Gordon Elliott. Jockey: Davy Russell. Breeders: R. Cotton and S. Lannigan O’Keeffe (Ire). 2019 NSA record: No starts. Finished second behind Jett in the Devenish Steeplechase in April before third in Coral Punchestown Gold Cup Steeplechase. Finished last of eight in PWC Champion Chase at Gowran Park on Oct. 5. (158)
Jury Duty (Ire). 2011 b. g., Well Chosen (GB)—Swan Heart (Ire), by Broken Hearted (Ire). Owner: Sideways Syndicate. Trainer: Gordon Elliott. Jockey: Robbie Power. Breeder: T. Carroll (Ire). 2018 NSA record: 1-1-0-0, $270,000. Won 2018 Grand National (Gr. 1) by 3 1/4 lengths. Opened 2019 with an allowance chase victory but has been unplaced in three subsequent starts, most recently sixth in the PWC Champion Chase (Ire-Gr. 2) at Gowran Park on Oct. 5. (154)
Redicean (GB). 2014 b. g., Medicean (GB)—Red Halo, by Galileo (Ire). Owner: Sharon E. Sheppard. Trainer: Leslie Young. Jockey: Thomas Garner. Breeder: Cheveley Park Stud (GB). 2019 NSA record: 2-1-0-0, $49,500. Graduated from novice ranks with victory in Saratoga’s 2019 Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes, his first U.S. start after respectable career in England, then was sixth in Belmont Park’s Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1). Departed with 11th in Scottish Champion Hurdle in April. (144)
Pravalaguna (Fr). 2012 b. m., Great Pretender (Ire)—Arnette (Fr), by Denham Red (Fr). Owner: Bruton Street IV. Trainer: Willie Mullins. Jockey: Danny Mullins. Breeder: Philip Gueret (Fr). 2019 NSA record: No starts. Won an allowance hurdle in August between seventh-place finish in the thetote.com Galway Plate Steeplechase and fifth in the Guinness Kerry National Steeplechase. (141)
Wicklow Brave (GB). 2009 b. g., Beat Hollow (GB)—Moraine (GB), by Rainbow Quest. Owner: Wicklow Bloodstock Ltd. Trainer: Willie Mullins. Jockey: Paul Townend. Breeder: Millsec Ltd. (GB). 2019 NSA record: No starts. One of Ireland’s top-rated hurdlers, veteran is riding a three-race win streak. Won Galway’s Guinness Brewery Steeplechase in August before an allowance victory at Listowel in September. Finished third in Betdaq Punchestown Champion Hurdle in May, a race he won in 2017. Won the 2016 Irish St. Leger (Ire-Gr. 1). (156)
Rashaan (Ire). 2012 ch. g., Manduro (Ger)—Red Halo (Ire), by Rainbow Quest. Owner: Bruton Street-US. Trainer: Leslie Young. Jockey: Jack Kennedy. Breeder: The Aga Khan’s Studs (Ire). 2019 NSA record: No starts. Won the Keelings Irish Strawberry Hurdle in April and most recently was last of 18 in Galway’s Mervue Hurdle. (146)
Scorpiancer (Ire). 2009 b. g., Scorpion (Ire)—Janebailey, By Silver Patriarch. Owner: Bruton Street-US. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sean McDermott. Breeder: Mary O’Connor (Ire). 2019 record: 3-1-0-0, $96,000. 2018 record: No starts. 2017 record: 2-2-0-0, $150,000. Won Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) for a second time in 2019 before fifth in Belmont’s Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1). Missed 2018 season and was pulled up in his first 2019 start, the Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 2). Claimed 2017 Eclipse Award with victories in Calvin Houghland Iroquois and Temple Gwathmey. Won Belmont Park’s 2016 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1). (154)
Iranistan. 2014 dk. b. or br. g., Einstein (Brz)—Miss Vindictive, by Stephen Got Even. Owner: Hudson River Stables. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Darren Nagle. Breeder: Crossed Sabres Farm (Ky.) 2019 record: No starts. 2018 NSA record: 5-3-1-1, $145,000. Champion novice 2018. Finished game second in Saratoga’s 2018 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1), then was third in New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1), while favored in both. Won 2018 Marcellus Frost Champion Hurdle for novices by six lengths. Skipped maiden ranks and won allowance hurdles at Carolina Cup and Middleburg Spring to begin 2018 season. Scored maiden flat victory at Delaware Park in July 2018. (130)
Modem (GB). 2010 b. g., Motivator—Alashaan, (GB), by Darshaan (GB). Owner: Robert A. Kinsley. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss. Jockey: Jack Doyle. Breeders: Mr. and Mrs. D. J. Deer (GB). 2019 NSA record: 3-0-0-0, $4,500. 2018 record: 2-0-1-0, $41,250. Finished 11th in Saratoga’s 2019 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1), then was sixth in the New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1). Finished second in 2018 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) before sixth in A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1). Finished second in four 2017 Grade 1 races. (132)
Brain Power (Ire). 2011 b. g., Kalanisi (Ire)—Blonde Ambition (Ire), by Old Vic (GB). Owner: Michael Buckley. Trainer: Nicky Henderson. Jockey: Nico de Boinville. Breeder: David Harvey (Ire). 2019 NSA record: No starts. Won Unibet International Hurdle at Cheltenham last December but unplaced in Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and Scottish Champion Hurdle in April, his most recent start. (150)
Moscato (GB). 2011 gr. or ro. g., Hernando (Fr)—Alba Stella, by Nashwan. Owner: Bruton Street-US. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Michael Mitchell. Breeder: Miss K. Rausing (GB). 2019 record: 3-1-0-1, $60,000. 2018 record: No starts. Novice champion of 2017 returned from a year on the sidelines and won the 2019 Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 2), then was third in Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) and eighth in Belmont Park’s Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1). Won Belmont’s 2017 William Entenmann Novice Stakes and Saratoga’s Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes impressively after strong closing second in Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes. (144)