Move over, Secretariat. Armata Stables’ Vintage Vinnie, fresh off a victory in the My Lady’s Manor Stakes, set a course record (8:22 3/5 for the four miles) and cruised to victory by 112 1/2 lengths in the 124th Maryland Hunt Cup on Saturday. The victory was the fifth in a row for trainer Joe Davies, who scored three times with Senior Senator and once with Derwins Prospector. Remarkably, it was young Irish jockey Dan Nevin’s first victory in his first U.S. mount.
The 20-year-old Nevin, who has worked for the legendary Willie Mullins, was aboard Irv Naylor’s Scorpion’s Revenge for trainer Keri Brion at Cork Racecourse in early April. The win was the first ever victory by an American trainer in Ireland. He plans to spend the season stateside and is galloping horses at the Fair Hill Training Center for Brion, who says she expects to see him on several of her horses in future races.
Vintage Vinnie, a twelve-year-old Irish-bred gelding, came into the race off a victory in the My Lady’s Manor timber stakes two weeks prior. He raced for four years in Ireland before being purchased by Armata Stables’ Ben Griswold and Perry Bolton. In his five previous starts in the US the front-running bay has never finished out of the money.
Davies, who reached Hunt Cup fame when he trained Senior Senator to three wins, said in a post-race interview, “We thought when we lost Senior Senator we were never going to see this winner’s circle again. I sure didn’t think we’d see it in that style. That was some kind of fun.” Davies’ five Hunt Cup wins trail Charlie Fenwick, Jr’s six wins as a trainer, but no other trainer has had five consecutive wins.
Vintage Vinnie’s time of 8:22 3/5 over the four mile course broke the course record of 8:25 3/5, set by Young Dubliner in 2002.
Bruton Street-US’ Preseli Rock, ridden by Hadden Frost, was second. Lucy Goelet’s Rocket Star Red, ridden by Brett Owings, was third.
Full results can be found on the NSA website: nationalsteeplechase.com/results/
A picture is worth a thousand words – see the full album of photos from Douglas Lees: