Major timber stakes winners are among nine nominees to the Far Hills Races’ $50,000 New Jersey Hunt Cup, the 3 1/4-mile timber race that traditionally brings down the curtain on the ever-popular New Jersey steeplechase race meet.
The New Jersey Hunt Cup is one of the supporting stakes races of the 98th annual Far Hills Races on Oct. 20. In all, Far Hills will offer $850,000 in purses, including the $450,000 Grand National (Gr. 1) for championship-level hurdlers.
Among the New Jersey Hunt Cup nominees is Two’s Company, the 2016 timber champion for owner Bruton Street-US. The nine-year-old Irish-bred, trained by champion trainer Jack Fisher, most recently finished third in the Iroquois Steeplechase’s Mason Houghland Memorial on May 12.
The Middleburg Hunt Cup and the Radnor Hunt Cup are two key races for the New Jersey Hunt Cup nominees.
Irv Naylor’s Super Saturday, trained by Kathy Neilson, won the Middleburg Hunt Cup on April 21. Two’s Company was pulled up in that race. Also competing was Armata Stables’ Grand Manan, a multiple stakes winner for trainer Billy Meister. He also was pulled up.
Super Saturday subsequently ran third in the Radnor Hunt Cup, won by Naylor’s Top Man Michael, who is trained by Cyril Murphy. Top Man Michael subsequently finished second in Shawan Downs’ Brown Advisory Legacy Chase.
Also nominated from the Radnor race on May 19 was Upland Partners’ Mystic Strike, who finished second.
In his prior race, Mystic Strike had finished second to Stewart Strawbridge’s Kings Apollo—also a New Jersey Hunt Cup nominee—in the Winterthur Bowl on May 6. Trained by Sanna Neilson, Kings Apollo ran third in the Brown Advisory Legacy Chase.
Here are the nine nominees to the $50,000 New Jersey Hunt Cup in alphabetical order.
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.
Formidable Heart. 2010 b. g., Dynaformer—Win My Heart, by King of Kings (Ire). Owner: Thomas A. Hulfish III. Trainer: Neil Morris. Breeders: Liberation Farm, Kathy Zoc, and the Dynaformer Syndicate (Ky.) 2018 record: 3-2-0-0, $21,000. 2017 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. Made successful transition to timber and easily won High Hope Steeplechase’s 2018 Jay Trump novice timber race. Scored maiden timber win at My Lady’s Manor by 20 lengths. Won 2016 International Gold Cup allowance hurdle.
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.
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.
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.
Stand Down (Ire). 2012 b. g., Yeats (Ire)—Quadrennial, by Un Desperado. Owner: Frank Bonsal Jr. Trainer: Joseph G. Davies. Breeder: Mrs. E. Costelloe (Ire). 2018 record: 2-2-0-0, $18,000. Has won his two career starts by open lengths, beginning with 2018 Grand National timber allowance and then Willowdale allowance timber.
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: 3-1-0-1, $29,500. 2017 record: 6-0-1-1, $13,400. 2016 record: 5-0-1-0, $4,550. 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 after fourth in Genesee Valley Hunt Cup. Finished fourth in the 2017 Grand National, then fell at fourth fence of Maryland Hunt Cup and was fifth in Willowdale Steeplechase.
Top Man Michael (Ire). 2009 b. g., Antonius Plus—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.
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: 2-0-0-1, $5,000. 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 after being pulled up in Middleburg Hunt Cup. Fell in late stages of 2017 Middleburg Hunt Cup, then was pulled up in Mason Houghland Memorial at Iroquois Steeplechase. 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 before second in International Gold Cup.