Major timber stakes winners will line up Saturday for the Far Hills Races’ $50,000 New Jersey Hunt Cup, the 3 1/4-mile timber race that will bring down the curtain on the 98th edition of the ever-popular New Jersey steeplechase race meet.
Irv Naylor, last year’s leading timber owner, will have three representatives in the Far Hills finale, Top Man Michael, Super Saturday, and supplemental entry Aquies.
Top Man Michael, trained by Cyril Murphy, won the Radnor Hunt Cup on May 19 and prepped for the New Jersey race with a second-place finish in the Brown Advisory Legacy Chase on Sept. 29. Darren Nagle, last year’s champion jockey, has the mount.
Trainer Kathy Neilson will saddle Naylor’s Super Saturday and Aquies. Super Saturday, fifth in last Saturday’s National Sporting Library & Museum Cup at the Virginia Fall Races, will be ridden by Bernie Dalton. Eddie Keating has the mount on maiden winner Aquies.
Also coming out of the National Sporting Library is Two’s Company, who finished third for owner Bruton Street-US and trainer Jack Fisher. Sean McDermott will ride the 2016 timber champion.
Willie McCarthy will have the mount on Armata Stable’s front-running Grand Manan, winner of the International Gold Cup and Genesee Valley Hunt Cup in 2016. The Giant’s Causeway nine-year-old finished fifth in the Radnor Hunt Cup.
Sanna Neilson will saddle Stewart Strawbridge’s Kings Apollo, who won the Willowdale Steeplechase for the second straight year on May 13 and finished third in the Legacy Chase.
Here is the field for the $50,000 New Jersey Hunt Cup in post-position order.
Grand Manan. 2009 b. g., Giant’s Causeway—Manoa, by Seeking the Gold. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: William Meister. Breeders: Stuart S. Janney III and Phipps Stable (Ky.). 2018: 3-0-0-0, $1,200. 2017 record: 5-0-3-0, $28,500. 2016 record: 4-3-0-0, $82,950. Finished fifth in 2018 Radnor Hunt Cup on very soft ground. Pulled up in 2018 Middleburg Hunt Cup, then lost rider while leading Willowdale Steeplechase. Closed 2016 season with back-to-back front-running victories in the Genesee Valley Hunt Cup and International Gold Cup.
Top Man Michael (Ire). 2009 b. g., Antonius Pius—Top Brex, by Top Ville. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Breeder: John Egan (Ire). 2018 record: 3-1-1-0, $23,700. 2017 record: 1-1-0-0, $15,000. Finished second in Shawan Downs’ 2018 Brown Advisory Legacy Chase. Won 2018 Radnor Hunt Cup after fifth in Middleburg Hunt Cup. In only 2017 start, won Winterthur Bowl for second consecutive year. Won 2016 Winterthur Bowl in his first start over timber, then was fourth in Radnor Hunt Cup and third in Callaway timber allowance race.
Carrickboy (Ire). 2004 b. g., Silver Patriarch—Alaskan Princess, by Prince Rupert. Owner: Morningstar Farm. Trainer: Ricky Hendriks. Breeder: B. and I. McClelland (Ire). 2018 record: 2-1-0-0, $9,750. 2016 record: 3-1-1-1, $14,200. Led most of the way and won 2018 Winterthur amateur apprentice timber race after third in similar race at Grand National. Won 2016 Winterthur maiden timber after second in John D. Schapiro amateur apprentice allowance race at My Lady’s Manor. Won at 2013 Cheltenham Festival.
Aquies. 2012 b. g., Artie Schiller—Quies, by Quiet American. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Breeders: Mr. and Mrs. M. Roy Jackson (Ky.) 2018 record: 4-0-2-2, $9,300. 2017 record: 4-1-1-2, $15,700. Finished third in 2018 Willowdale timber allowance after second a week earlier in similar race at Winterthur. Finished third in My Lady’s Manor 2018 John D. Schapiro Memorial and second in Grand National’s Western Run Plate. Won 2017 Willowdale maiden timber and was third in Fair Hill novice timber.
Mystic Strike. 2009 b. h., Smart Strike—Mystic Rhythms, by Citidancer. Owner: Upland Partners. Trainer: Mark Beecher. Breeder: Peter Vegso Racing (Fla.). 2018 record: 3-0-2-1, $15,600. 2017 record: 2-2-0-0, $27,000. Finished second in 2018 Radnor Hunt Cup and Winterthur Bowl after third in My Lady’s Manor. Barely beaten and then placed first in 2017 Radnor Hunt Cup. Won 2017 debut in Grand National’s Western Run Plate. In only 2016 start and first run over fences, won a Winterthur allowance timber race.
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). 2018 record: 3-0-0-2, $9,000. 2017 record: 2-0-0-0, $0. 2016 record: 6-4-2-0, $103,200. Timber champion 2016. Finished third in 2018 Mason Houghland Memorial and National Sporting Library & Museum Cup after being pulled up in Middleburg Hunt Cup. Won 2016 timber championship with victories in Middleburg Hunt Cup, Carolina Cup’s C. P. and Edith Wills DuBose Cup, Legacy Chase at Shawan Downs, and Virginia Fall’s National Sporting Library & Museum Cup.
Kings Apollo (GB). 2009 b. g., King’s Theater (Ire)—Temple Dancer, by Magic Ring. Owner: Stewart Strawbridge. Trainer: Sanna Neilson. Breeders: M. Watt and Executors of Miss J. John (GB). 2018 record: 2-1-0-1, $26,500. 2017 record: 3-1-0-0, $9,750. Won 2018 Winterthur Bowl by 5 3/4 lengths, then finished third in Shawan Downs’ Brown Advisory Legacy Chase. Won a 2017 Winterthur maiden timber race after fourth in division of John Rush Streett Memorial at My Lady’s Manor.
Super Saturday. 2009 gr. or ro. g., Any Given Saturday—Lady Aloma, by Cozzene. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Breeder: Walton Breeders (Ky.) 2018 record: 4-1-0-1, $31,100. 2017 record: 6-0-1-1, $13,400. 2016 record: 5-0-1-0, $4,550. Finished fifth in 2018 National Sporting Library & Museum Cup. Won 2018 Middleburg Hunt Cup, then was third in the Virginia Gold Cup and fourth in Radnor Hunt Cup. Finished second in 2017 New Jersey Hunt Cup and third in Steeplechase at Callaway timber allowance.