A well-balanced group of American Steeplechasing’s rising stars will clash on Saturday, May 19, in the $50,000 National Hunt Cup, one of the feature races of the 82nd annual Radnor Hunt Races. First post time is 1:30 p.m. for the six-race program at the W. Burling Cocks Memorial Racecourse in Malvern, Pa.
Also on the program is the $40,000 Radnor Hunt Cup, a race over timber fences that attracted a large field, including stakes winners G’day G’day and Delta Park.
The National Hunt Cup, a 2 3/8-mile race over National Fences, features novices, or horses in their first seasons of competition over fences. Racing Hall of Fame member Jonathan Sheppard, who trains his large stable in Chester County, entered his Sergeant Karakorum. The six-year-old Thunderello gelding indicated that he is coming of age with a score in the $50,000 Georgia Cup at the Atlanta Steeplechase on April 14. Brian Crowley, currently the sport’s leading jockey by purse earnings, has the mount.
Unionville-based trainer Leslie Young entered Hickory Tree Stable’s Gustavian, who ran a strong race for finish second, defeated by only a half-length, in the $50,000 Queen’s Cup MPC ‘Chase, a novice stakes in North Carolina on April 28. Two-time champion jockey Xavier Aizpuru will ride.
Trainer Lilith Boucher won last year’s National Hunt Cup with Mede Cahaba Stable’s Complete Zen, and the Unionville-based horsewoman will saddle Mede Cahaba’s Class Indian for this year’s edition of the National Hunt Cup.
No stranger to Radnor, Class Indian won his first victory over fences in last year’s $25,000 Milfern Cup. Most recently, the five-year-old Waquoit gelding finished first in the Daniel Van Clief Memorial at the Foxfield Spring Races in Charlottesville, Va., on April 28 but was disqualified for a medication positive. Richard Boucher, the trainer’s husband, will ride.
Armata Stables’ Cornhusker was elevated to the winner’s spot in the Van Clief, and he is part of a three-prong entry from Maryland-based trainer Tom Voss. Also in the Voss entry is The Fields Stable’s Wanganui, last year’s three-year-old champion who has yet to start this year. Newcomer Kieren Norris will ride Cornhusker, and Danielle Hodsdon was named aboard Wanganui.
Anne Pape’s Fog Island, who left his opponents in the dust in a $35,000 allowance race at the Virginia Gold Cup meet on May 5, will be saddled by Virginia-based Richard Valentine. Darren Nagle has the mount.
In the 3 1/4-mile Radnor Hunt Cup, Magalen O. Bryant’s G’day G’day will be seeking his second stakes victory of the spring season. Trained by Doug Fout, G’day G’day won the Middleburg Hunt Cup on April 21 and then was a hard-closing second, beaten three-quarters of a length, in the $75,000 Virginia Gold Cup. Carl Rafter will again ride the nine-year-old Eastern Echo gelding, who won last fall’s Pennsylvania Hunt Cup.
Arcadia Stable’s Delta Park closed out his 2011 season with a victory in the $50,000 New Jersey Hunt Cup and kicked off the current campaign with a third-place finish in the $50,000 Mason Houghland Memorial timber race at Nashville’s Iroquois Steeplechase on May 12. Nagle will ride the eight-year-old Johannesburg gelding for trainer Jack Fisher.