Magalen O. Bryant’s Kings Grant set most of the pace in the $35,000 Georgia Cup optional allowance hurdle and held off a determined challenge from En Fuego to prevail by a short head at Saturday’s 50th edition of the Atlanta Steeplechase.
Plated finished third, and Nearby took fourth in the two-mile race over National Fences. With champion jockey Willie McCarthy riding for trainer Jonathan Sheppard, Kings Grant ran the distance in 3:50.40 on a Kingston Race Course rated as good.
Gil Johnston’s En Fuego, with veteran Irish jockey Danny Mullins in the saddle, mounted a strong challenge approaching the final fence, and the two leaders jumped it together. They battled head-to-head to the finish line, with Kings Grant getting to the line first in a photo finish.
A five-year-old Giant’s Causeway gelding, Kings Grant remained undefeated over fences. He won his initial start, a maiden hurdle at the Charleston Cup last November.