Augustin Stables’ Rainiero moved into the ranks of steeplechase stakes winners on Saturday, Nov. 3, when he drew away from Decoy Daddy at the final fence and won the $35,000 Noel Laing by six lengths at the 78th annual Montpelier Hunt Races. Irvin S. Naylor’s Decoy Daddy, who was bidding for a third straight victory in the 2 1/2 race over natural brush fences, finished second. Taking third was Armata Stables’ Cornhusker, and Slip Away finished fourth in a field of seven.
Slip Away, the 2010 Eclipse Award winner owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, was making his first start over fences in 15 months, and he set the pace under champion jockey Paddy Young. He began to give way on the final turn, and Rainiero attacked under Matt McCarron in company with Decoy Daddy, ridden by Jeff Murphy. They jumped the last fence together, but Rainiero proved stronger in the stretch run and drew clear to a convincing victory.
Trained by Richard Valentine, Rainiero won for the second time in three starts this year. Unbeaten in 2011 after missing all of the preceding season, he had won an optional allowance hurdle at the High Hope Steeplechase in Lexington, Ky., and then was third in a Saratoga Race Course optional allowance hurdle. The Argentine-bred ten-year-old ran the Noel Laing distance in 5:21.60 on turf rated as good.