Without a doubt, Team Ollie’s Orchestra Leader loves Charlottesville’s Foxfield Race Course.
He won Foxfield Spring Races’ feature race, the Daniel Van Clief Memorial optional allowance hurdle, last year. He also won the 2 1/8-mile race in 2015 and was second in 2016 when owned by Bruce Smart Jr.
The nine-year-old Van Nistelrooy gelding will be back at his favorite Virginia haunt on Saturday for a shot at a second straight victory in the $30,000 Van Clief, the featured race of the 41st annual Foxfield Spring Races. First post time is 1 p.m. for the five-race program.
In addition to his mastery of the Van Clief, Orchestra Leader also prospers at the Foxfield Fall meet, where he won the featured optional allowance for a second straight year and was claimed back by trainer Jimmy Day. He and previous owner Bruce Smart Jr. had lost him in an optional allowance race immediately after last year’s Van Clief victory.
Apprentice jockey Keri Brion resumes her partnership with Orchestra Leader for the Van Clief.
Trainer Cyril Murphy will saddle Straylight Racing’s L’Aigle Royal, a German-bred who scored his first U.S. victory at the Charleston Fall meet in November. Apprentice jockey Alexander Leventhal will ride.
Murphy also will send out Irv Naylor’s Lake Champlain, who missed the 2017 season after winning a Colonial Cup ratings handicap in November 2016. Graham Watters will ride.
Rosbrian Farm, which had claimed Orchestra Leader last spring, will be represented by Officer Sydney, an Irish-bred who won the Randolph Rouse Memorial ratings handicap at the Virginia Fall meet last October and was second in the Georgia Cup on April 7. Trainer Ricky Hendriks named Ross Geraghty to ride.
The trainer also named Geraghty aboard Wendy Hendriks’ Any Given Royal, who was third to L’Aigle Royal at Charleston and began the new season with a sixth-place finish in a Tryon Block House flat race on April 14.
Bishop’s Castle, owned by Bruton Street-US and trained by Todd Wyatt, enters the Van Clief from a resounding victory in a Montpelier handicap hurdle last November. No rider was named.
Here is the field for the $30,000 Daniel Van Clief Memorial. 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: Team Ollie. Trainer: Jimmy Day. Jockey: Keri Brion. Breeder: Strategy Bloodstock (Ky.) 2017 record: 5-3-0-0, $54,500. 2016 record: 10-2-2-0, $49,100. 2015 record: 8-1-5-1, $52,000. Won Foxfield Fall optional allowance hurdle and was claimed to complete 2018 season. 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. (121)
Officer Sydney (Ire). 2012 b. g., Lawman—Morena Park (GB), by Pivotal. Owner: Rosbrian Farm. Trainer: Ricky Hendriks. Jockey: Ross Geraghty. Breeder: Catesby W. Clay (Ire). 2018 record: 1-0-1-0, $5,400. 2017 record: 1-1-0-0, $21,000. 2016 NSA record: 2-0-0-0, $750. Finished second in 2018 Georgia Cup. In only 2017 start, won Virginia Fall’s Randolph D. Rouse Memorial ratings handicap. Unplaced in two 2016 ratings handicaps after arrival in U.S. (119)
Lake Champlain (Ire). 2012 b. g., Manduro (Ger)—Fantasy Girl, by Marju. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Jockey: Graham Watters. Breeder: Windflower Overseas Holdings (Ire). 2018 record: No starts. 2017 record: No starts. 2016 NSA record: 2-1-0-0, $15,000. Coming back after missing 2017 season. Finished seventh in U.S. debut, a 2016 Saratoga handicap, and won Colonial Cup ratings handicap. Had two wins over hurdles at three and was unplaced this year over fences and on the flat overseas. (118)
L’Aigle Royal (Ger). 2011 dk. b. or b. g., Sholokhov—Laren, by Monsun (Ger). Owner: Straylight Racing. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Jockey: Alexander Leventhal. Breeder: Westminster Race Horses (Ger). 2017 NSA record: 3-1-0-1, $10,300. Won Charleston allowance hurdle after fifth at International Gold Cup and distant third in Foxfield Fall optional allowance hurdle. Won handicap hurdle at Market Rasen in October 2016. (123)
Pure Deal. 2012 dk. b. or br. m., Purim—Make a Deal, by Private Terms. Owner: Beverly R. Steinman. Trainer: Doug Fout. Jockey: Barry Foley. Breeder: Nuckols Farm (Ky.) 2017 record: 4-1-0-1, $18,300. 2016 record: 5-0-1-2, $11,600. Won maiden victory at 2017 Foxfield Spring, then was fifth in Far Hills’ Peapack Stakes and third in Montpelier female allowance hurdle. Finished fifth in 2018 Middleburg Spring flat race. (107)
Any Given Royal. 2009 b. g., Any Given Saturday—Really Royal, by Unreal Zeal. Owner: Wendy W. Hendriks. Trainer: Ricky Hendriks. Jockey: Ross Geraghty. Breeder: Ben Lengacher (Ky.) 2018 record: 1-0-0-0, $750. 2017 NSA record: 7-2-0-1, $39,750. 2016 record: 1-0-0-0, $900. Tired to finish sixth in flat race at 2018 Tryon Block House. Scored handy maiden victory at 2017 Aiken Spring, then won Tryon Block House flat race. Finished fourth in two Saratoga allowance hurdles. Closed season with third in Charleston allowance hurdle. (115)
Bishop’s Castle. 2009 dk. b. or br. g., Distorted Humor—Miss Caerleona, by Caerleon. Owner: Bruton Street (US). Trainer: Todd Wyatt. Jockey: Open. Breeder: Darley (Ky.) 2017 record: 6-2-0-1, $26,000. 2016 record: 3-0-0-1, $4,800. Closed 2017 with victory in a Montpelier allowance hurdle after third in Virginia Fall handicap. Won a 2017 Radnor maiden claiming hurdle after seventh in Middleburg Spring maiden hurdle. (113)
Lady Yeats (GB). 2011 b. m., Yeats (Ire)—Oblique (Ire), by Giant’s Causeway. Owner: Marilyn S. Ketts. Trainer: Lilith Boucher. Jockey: Open. Breeder: Biddestone Stud (GB). 2018 record: 2-0-0-0, $1,600. 2017 record: 3-0-0-0, $7,500. 2016 NSA record: 2-0-0-1, $3,000. Began 2018 with fifth-place finishes in Carolina Cup’s Life’s Illusion Stakes and Tryon Block House ratings handicap. Finished fourth in Far Hills’ 2017 Peapack Stakes. Lost rider in 2017 Margaret Currey Henley at Iroquois Steeplechase, then was fourth in Saratoga’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps. Won an allowance hurdle at Catterick Bridge in England to open her 2016 season. (113)