Sportsmans Hall’s Private Attack will attempt to repeat his 2011 victory when the veteran timber horse lines up against a tough, well-matched field in the $30,000 Grand National, middle jewel of Maryland’s timber-racing triple crown, on Saturday, April 21.
The 3 1/4-mile Grand National is first race of the 110th Grand National program at the Butler race course, with a 3:15 p.m. first post time.
Trained by Alicia Murphy, 13-year-old Private Attack will be making his first sanctioned start of the 2012 racing season. One week after his narrow victory in the Grand National, Private Attack soared to a 60-length score in the Maryland Hunt Cup, the third and final leg of the Maryland timber triple.
Private Attack staged a season-long battle with Bon Caddo for the National Steeplechase Association’s timber-racing championship and finished second following a sixth-place finish in the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup in November. Irish-born jockey Mark Beecher has the mount.
Among the horses challenging Private Attack will be the 2010 Maryland Hunt Cup winner, Lucy Goelet’s Twill Do, who lost his rider in the 2011 Grand National, his only start of the year. Trainer William Meister will reunite Twill Do with James Stierhoff, who rode the Yarrow Brae gelding to his Maryland Hunt Cup victory.
Meister also entered Mrs. Willam D. Class Jr.’s And the Eagle Flys and NoGo Stable’s Yin Yang. And the Eagle Flys finished second in last year’s Maryland Hunt Cup, and Yin Yang won the 2011 James Rush Streett maiden timber race at My Lady’s Manor.
Trainer Kathy Neilson entered Armata Stables’ Haddix, who had a strong fall season after a fall in the 2011 Grand National. He finished fourth in the New Jersey Hunt Cup after winning the featured Legacy Chase timber allowance race at Shawan Downs.
Justpourit will attempt to just win it for Lucy Stable and 2011 leading timber trainer Richard Valentine. The Irish-bred won the 2011 John D. Schapiro Memorial at My Lady’s Manor before three second-place finishes, including the Western Run Plate amateur timber race at the Grand National meet and the Radnor Hunt Cup. Lucy Stable co-owner George Hundt Jr. will ride.