Trainer Ricky Hendriks had his best season in a long time last year, and he will be looking to continue his successful run when two of his best, Swansea Mile and Zanjabeel, start in the $150,000 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1), the featured contest of Saturday’s 86th annual Carolina Cup Races.
The Colonial Cup, transferred from the former fall meet, will headline the richest Carolina Cup meet ever, with $325,000 in purses offered at Springdale Race Course in Camden, S.C. First post time will be 1:30 p.m. for the six-race program.
Pennsylvania-based Hendriks made a fast start last year and finished the season in second place by wins behind champion Jack Fisher.
Swansea Mile, owned by Rosbrian Farm, provided one of Hendriks’ career highlights when he prevailed by two lengths in Saratoga Race Course’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) at odds of 28.50-to-1. He finished third in Belmont Park’s Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) to complete his season.
Michael Mitchell, who rode the Irish-bred through the summer and fall, will be in the saddle.
Ross Geraghty, who had one of his best U.S. seasons last year and finished tied for second in the jockey standings by wins, will be aboard Hendriks-trained Zanjabeel. The British-bred was acquired by Rosbrian and Ben and Wendy Griswold after he devastated his opposition in Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle on Oct. 21.
He closed out his novice season two weeks later with a facile victory in the Steeplechase at Callaway’s Aflac Supreme Hurdle under Geraghty.
Fisher, who established a trainer earnings record of $1.3-million last year, entered Sonny Via’s Hinterland and Edith Dixon’s homebred Schoodic for the 2 3/8-mile Colonial Cup. French-bred Hinterland was second in last May’s Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) and was unplaced in the Lonesome Glory. Sean McDermott, the leading jockey by purse earnings the last two seasons, has the mount.
Schoodic has the capability to compete in top company when he feels like it. He won the Virginia Gold Cup’s David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2) last May but was unplaced in his other starts. Willie McCarthy, 2014’s champion jockey, will ride the eight-year-old Tiznow gelding.
The Colonial Cup pace most likely will be set by Stonelea Stable’s Balance the Budget, who wired the International Gold Cup’s David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 2) by nine lengths in October. His regular jockey, Mark Watts, will be in the saddle for Virginia-based trainer Julie Gomena.
Mark W. Buyck Jr.’s Show Court demonstrated an affinity for the Springdale course last spring when he won the Carolina Cup by seven lengths, and Camden-based trainer Arch Kingsley Jr. will be looking to establish the Irish-bred as a member of jump racing’s top echelon.
Jack Doyle, who scored two hurdle wins at the season-opening Aiken Spring Races on March 24, will ride Show Court for the first time.
Here is the field for the $150,000 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1). The horses’ National Steeplechase Association ratings are in parentheses at the end of their profiles.
Balance the Budget. 2009 ch. g., Bellamy Road—Every Day Is Good, by El Corredor. Owner: Stonelea Stable. Trainer: Julie Gomena. Jockey: Mark Watts. Breeder: Liberation Farm & Oratis (Ky.). 2017 NSA record: 5-2-2-0, $94,800. 2016 record: 4-1-1-0, $51,600. 2015 record: 7-1-1-0, $37,250. Won International Gold Cup’s 2017 David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 2) by nine lengths after setting all the pace. Won 2017 Tryon Block House Handicap, then finished second in Fair Hill’s Valentine Memorial ratings handicap. Finished fifth in Saratoga’s A.P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) and was second in Saratoga handicap. (134)
Zanjabeel (GB). 2013 b. g., Aussie Rules—Grain Only, by Machiavellian. Owners: Rosbrian Farm and Ben and Wendy Griswold. Trainer: Ricky Hendriks. Jockey: Ross Geraghty. Breeder: Kirsten Rausing (GB). 2017 NSA record: 2-2-0-0, $120,000. Drew away to a 4 3/4-length victory in Far Hills’ 2017 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle, his U.S. debut for former owners and trainer Gordon Elliott. For new owners, won Steeplechase at Callaway’s Aflac Supreme Hurdle by 2 3/4 lengths. Made mixture of flat and hurdle starts in 2017, with handicap hurdle win in June and a flat win in July. (137)
Hinterland (Fr). 2008 b. g., Poliglote (GB)—Queen’s Place, by Diamond Prospect. Owner: Harold A. “Sonny” Via Jr. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sean McDermott. Breeder: Eric Aubree and Christian Bresson (Fr). 2017 record: 2-0-1-0, $36,000. 2016 record: No starts. Finished distant second in 2017 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1), then was seventh in Belmont Park’s Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1). Finished second in 2015 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1), his second U.S. start after seventh in Saratoga’s New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1). (135)
Show Court (Ire). 2009 b. g., Vinnie Roe—Sparking Gem, by Revoque. Owner: Mark W. Buyck Jr. Trainer: Arch Kingsley Jr. Jockey: Jack Doyle. Breeder: Grange Stud (Ire). 2017 NSA record: 5-2-1-0, $112,000. 2016 NSA record: 1-0-0-0, $0. Finished sixth in Saratoga’s 2017 New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) after winning Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes. Won 2017 Carolina Cup by seven lengths, then finished second in Queen’s Cup MPC ’Chase. Finished distant fifth in Iroquois’ Marcellus Frost Champion Hurdle. Won maiden over hurdles in Ireland in late 2015. (131)
Swansea Mile (Ire). 2010 b. g., Dylan Thomas (Ire)—Hurry Up Helen, by In the Wings (GB). Owner: Rosbrian Farm. Trainer: Ricky Hendriks. Jockey: Michael Mitchell. Breeder: W. Kane (Ire). 2017 record: 7-1-1-2, $122,650. 2016 NSA record: 3-0-0-0, $7,500. Won Saratoga’s 2017 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) at 28.50-to-1, then finished fifth in New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) and third in Belmont Park’s Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1). Opened 2017 with second in Steeplechase of Charleston’s featured optional allowance hurdle and then was fourth in Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3). Finished fourth in Belmont Park’s 2016 Lonesome Glory in U.S. debut. (133)
Schoodic. 2010 b. g., Tiznow—Aunt Henny, by Hennessy. Owner: Edith R. Dixon. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Willie McCarthy. Breeder: Edith R. Dixon (Ky.) 2017 record: 5-1-0-0, $50,750. 2016 record: 7-1-2-0, $60,150. 2015 record: 4-0-2-2, $58,000. Won 2017 David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2) at Virginia Gold Cup after fall in Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3), then was a dull fifth in Radnor’s National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3), a race he won in 2016. Finished seventh in 2017 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) and fourth in David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 2.) (127)