Several intriguing newcomers to American jump racing and a horse for the course will clash Sunday in Foxfield Fall’s featured optional allowance hurdle.
The 2 1/8-mile race over National Fences will highlight a six-race program with several full fields at the Charlottesville, Va., course. First post time is 1:30 p.m.
Carrying the race’s 156-pound highweight will be Rosbrian Farm’s Daneking, who is making a delayed entrance onto the U.S. stage. Successful in Ireland for top trainer Willie Mullins, Daneking missed the 2016 racing and will be making his first American start.
The eight-year-old Dylan Thomas gelding will be ridden by Michael Mitchell.
Jack Fisher, who is running away with the 2017 training championship, will unveil Bruton Street-US’s Lord Justice, who has good form over hurdles and on the flat this year. He won a Leopardtown flat hurdle in July before departing for American shores.
Sean McDermott has the mount on the four-year-old by Zoffany.
Also making a U.S. debut is Straylight Racing’s L’Aigle Royal, a German-bred who has been racing in England. The six-year-old most recently finished third in a Newcastle steeplechase allowance in January. Trainer Leslie Young named Alex Leventhal to ride.
The horse for the course is Rosbrian Farm’s Orchestra Leader, who won last year’s Foxfield Fall feature and then collected his second victory in Foxfield Spring’s Daniel Van Clief Memorial this past April.
Claimed from his next start, Orchestra Leader is trained by Ricky Hendriks and will be ridden by Ross Geraghty.
Under the race conditions, Orchestra Leader will be racing with a $20,000 claiming price, as will Irv Naylor’s El Monstro, who most recently was second in a Radnor Hunt Races handicap hurdle. Trained by Cyril Murphy, El Monstro will be ridden by Jack Doyle.
Completing the field is Kinross Farm’s Mutin, front-running winner of a Parx Racing maiden hurdle on July 11. Kieran Norris, the reigning champion jockey, will ride for trainer Richard Valentine.
Here is the field for the $20,000 featured optional allowance hurdle in post-position order. The horses’ National Steeplechase Association ratings are in parentheses at the end of their profiles.
Orchestra Leader. 2009 b. g., Van Nistelrooy—Magic of Life, by Seattle Slew. Owner: Rosbrian Farm. Trainer: Ricky Hendriks. Jockey: Ross Geraghty. Breeder: Strategy Bloodstock (Ky.) 2017 record: 3-2-0-0, $36,000. 2016 record: 10-2-2-0, $49,100. 2015 record: 8-1-5-1, $52,000. Finished fourth in 2017 Saratoga handicap hurdle after seventh in similar Saratoga race. Won 2017 Daniel Van Clief Memorial, a race he won in 2015 and was second in 2016, and was claimed from win in High Hope’s James B. Holloway optional allowance hurdle. (121)
El Monstro (Ire). 2013 b. g., Astronomer Royal— Phille Phuong, by Quiet American. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Jockey: Jacky Doyle. Breeder: Haras des Capucines (Ire). 2017 record: 4-0-1-2, $9,500. Finished second in 2017 Radnor handicap after third in Willowdale claiming hurdle. Began U.S. career with third in Steeplechase at Charleston optional allowance hurdle. French-raced Irish-bred gelding sent over hurdles after flat career and won his second start over fences in September 2016. (111)
L’Aigle Royal (Ger). 2011 dk. b. or b. g., Sholokhov—Laren, by Monsun (Ger). Owner: Straylight Racing. Trainer: Leslie Young. Jockey: Alex Leventhal. Breeder: Westminster Race Horses (Ger). 2017 NSA record: No starts. Making second start of year and first in U.S. Finished well-beaten third in Newcastle allowance steeplechase. Won handicap hurdle at Market Rasen in October 2016. (128)
Lord Justice (Ire). 2013 b. g., Zoffany (Ire)—Roselita, by Sadler’s Wells. Owner: Bruton Street-US. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sean McDermott. Breeder: Whisperview Trading (Ire). 2017 NSA record: No starts. Begins his U.S. career with good form on flat and over hurdles in Ireland. Most recently won a flat handicap at Leopardstown after close second in Limerick allowance hurdle. (127)
Daneking (GB). 2009 b. g., Dylan Thomas (Ire)—Sadie Thompson, by King’s Best. Owner: Rosbrian Farm. Trainer: Ricky Hendriks. Jockey: Michael Mitchell. Breeder: Sir Eric Parker (GB). 2017 NSA record: No starts. Missed the 2016 racing season after being imported. For champion Irish trainer Willie Mullins in 2015, had two second-place finishes in hurdle handicaps at Thurles in County Tipperary after unseating his rider in a Cork allowance hurdle. (135)
Mutin (Fr). 2010 b. g., Kentucky Dynamite—Mytographie, By Anabaa. Owner: Kinross Farm. Trainer: Richard Valentine. Jockey: Kieran Norris. Breeder: E.A.R.L. Haras de Quesnay (Fr). 2017 record: 4-1-1-1, $23,400. Broke through for a front-running maiden hurdle victory at Parx Racing in July 2017 after fading to third in Virginia Gold Cup maiden hurdle on soft turf. (116)