Two Virginia Gold Cup winners and the second-place finisher in this year’s spring timber classic are among the 10 nominees to the 79th running of the $90,000 International Gold Cup on Saturday, Oct. 22.
The richest-ever running of the International Gold Cup highlights an action-filled program that also includes the $75,000 David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 2) over hurdles. Pari-mutuel wagering will be offered on all races.
First post time is noon at Great Meadow Race Course in The Plains.
Irv Naylor’s Ebanour won this year’s Virginia Gold Cup on May 7 and will be among the wagering favorites in the 3 1/2-mile International Gold Cup. He won the My Lady’s Manor to open the 2016 season but stumbled at a fence late in the Genesee Valley Hunt Cup on Oct. 8 and lost jockey Gus Dahl. The Irish-bred is trained by Cyril Murphy.
Finishing second to Ebanour in the Virginia Gold Cup was Two’s Company, owned by Bruton Street-US and trained by Jack Fisher. The Irish-bred collected his fourth win of the year when he pulled away impressively to win Virginia Fall’s National Sporting Library & Museum Cup on Oct. 8.
Michael Wharton’s Grinding Speed sewed up the 2015 timber championship with victories in the Virginia Gold Cup and International Gold Cup. After a slow start to the current season, he showed some of his previous spark and took second money in the National Sporting Library.
Trained by Alicia Murphy, Grinding Speed would be shooting for an unprecedented fourth win in the International Gold Cup. Murphy also nominated Armata Stables’ Cornhusker, seventh in the National Sporting Library.
Also nominated out of the Middleburg race were Charlie Fenwick’s Puller, who finished third for trainer Todd Wyatt; fourth-place finisher Canyon Road, owned by Gordonsdale Farm and trained by Christopher Kolb; and Peter and Sarah Jay’s Prime Prospector, who finished fifth for Wyatt.
Donald Reuwer Jr.’s Grand Manan, the Genesee Valley Hunt Cup winner, was nominated by trainer Billy Meister.
Here are the 10 nominees to the International Gold Cup.
Canyon Road. 2009 ch. g., Service Stripe—Observe, by Patton. Owner: Gordonsdale Farm. Trainer: Christopher Kolb. Breeder: Gordonsdale Farm (W.Va.) 2016 record: 4-1-0-1, $13,250. 2015 record: No starts. Finished fourth in Virginia Fall’s National Sporting Library & Museum Cup. Won Willowdale maiden hurdle in May and then was distanced in Fair Hill’s novice timber allowance.
Cornhusker (GB). 2007 b. g., Dynaformer–Nebraska Tornado, by Storm Cat. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: Alicia Murphy. Breeder: Juddmonte Farms (GB). 2016 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2015 record: 4-2-0-0, $66,250. 2014 record: 5-2-1-0, $50,300. Finished last of seven in Virginia Fall’s National Sporting Library & Museum Cup. Ended 2014 and 2015 seasons with second-place finishes in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. Finished sixth in 2015 New Jersey Hunt Cup after winning Iroquois’ Mason Houghland Memorial for the second straight year. Won 2015 Middleburg Hunt Cup after sixth-place finish in My Lady’s Manor.
Ebanour (Ire). 2007 ch. g., Indian Ridge—Ebadilya, by Sadler’s Wells. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Breeders: Aga Khan’s Studs (Ire). 2016 record: 3-2-0-0, $78,000. 2015 record: 2-1-1-0, $31,800. 2014 record: No starts. Won 2016 Virginia Gold Cup after victory in My Lady’s Manor. Lost rider late in Genesee Valley Hunt Cup. Won 2015 New Jersey Hunt Cup with a powerful late rush. After missing the 2014 season, returned with a good second in John D. Schapiro Memorial amateur apprentice timber at My Lady’s Manor.
Grand Manan. 2009 b. g., Giant’s Causeway—Manoa, by Seeking the Gold. Owner: Donald Reuwer Jr. Trainer: William Meister. Breeders: Stuart S. Janney III and Phipps Stable (Ky.). 2016 record: 3-2-0-0, $25,950. 2015 record: 3-2-0-0, $31,050. 2014 record: No starts. Finished in dead heat for 2016 Willowdale Steeplechase win after fifth in My Lady’s Manor. Won Genesee Valley Hunt Cup. Closed 2015 campaign with runaway victory in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup timber allowance. In first start in more than two years, won Fair Hill’s Valentine Memorial Novice Timber by seven lengths, then was sixth in Virginia Fall’s National Sporting Library & Museum Cup.
Grinding Speed. 2006 gr. or ro. g., Grindstone—Cozelia, by Cozzene. Owner: Michael T. Wharton. Trainer: Alicia Murphy. Breeders: Alan S., Mark T., Mitchell A., and Madeline R. Kline, et al. (Md.) 2016 record: 4-0-1-0, $12,600. 2015 record: 5-3-1-0, $124,550. 2014 record: 5-1-1-2, $46,350. Finished second in 2016 National Sporting Library & Museum Cup at Virginia Fall. Finished sixth in 2016 Virginia Gold Cup and My Lady’s Manor, races he won the previous year, then was fourth in Shawan’s Legacy Chase. Clinched 2015 timber title with stylish victory in International Gold Cup, his third win in richest fall timber race. Also won his second Virginia Gold Cup in 2015.
Old Timer. 2006 b. g., Orientate—Chatham Hall, by Green Dancer. Owner: Kinross Farm. Trainer: Richard Valentine. Breeder: Gainesway Thoroughbreds (Ky.) 2016 record: 3-0-1-1, $12,400. 2015 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2014 record: 2-0-1-1, $12,900. Finished third in 2016 My Lady’s Manor and was fifth in Virginia Gold Cup before second in Radnor Hunt Cup.
Prime Prospector. 2008 b. g., Seeking the Gold—Remember Love, by A.P. Indy. Owner: Peter and Sarah Jay. Trainer: Todd Wyatt. Breeder: Woodford Thoroughbreds (Ky.) 2016 record: 3-0-0-0, $3,600. 2015 record: 2-1-0-1, $7,500. Finished fifth in Willowdale Steeplechase after finishing fifth and placed fourth in the Grand National’s Benjamin H. Murray Memorial. Finished fifth in Virginia Fall’s National Sporting Library & Museum Cup. Won maiden victory over timber at 2015 Willowdale Steeplechase.
Puller. 2008 dk. b. or br. g., Lion Hearted—Londonderry, by Perfecting. Owner: Charles C. Fenwick Jr. Trainer: Todd Wyatt. Breeder: Elberton Hill Farm (Md.) 2016 record: 4-0-0-2, $5,500. 2015 record: 4-1-1-1, $14,150. Finished ninth in Grand National’s Western Run Plate after third in John D. Schapiro Memorial to open 2016 campaign. Pulled up in Shawan’s Legacy Chase before third in Virginia Fall’s National Sporting Library & Museum Cup.
Sol a Pino. 2005 b. g., Dynaformer—Kuda, by Strawberry Road (Aus). Owner-trainer: Nicki Valvo. Breeder: Haras Santa Maria de Araras (Ky.) 2016 record: 2-0-0-1, $3,000. 2015 NSA record: 2-0-0-1, $3,750. 2014 record: No starts. Finished fourth in 2016 Middleburg Hunt Cup, a race in which he had finished third the previous year.
Two’s Company (Ire). 2009 b. g., Soviet Star—Gaye Lady, by Pistolet Bleu (Ire). Owner: Bruton Street-U.S. Trainer Jack Fisher. Breeders: M. W. and Mrs. M. Doran (Ire). 2016 record: 5-4-1-0, $87,000. 2015 record: 4-1-1-0, $12,600. Opened 2016 with victories in Middleburg Hunt Cup and Carolina Cup’s C. P. and Edith Wills DuBose Cup, then closed for second in Virginia Gold Cup. Won 2016 Legacy Chase at Shawan Downs and Virginia Fall’s National Sporting Library & Museum Cup.