Irv Naylor’s Rawnaq, already a champion and bound for a shot at a $500,000 bonus in England next year, puts his undefeated 2016 record on the line Saturday, Nov. 19, in the $150,000 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1).
The richest-ever edition of the Colonial Cup highlights an action-packed seven-race program for the 47th annual Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup race meet at Springdale Course in Camden, S.C.
First post time has been advanced to 11:30 a.m. to accommodate two races that were split because of heavy entries. In all, 80 horses were entered for the seven races.
The purse for the 2 3/4-mile Colonial Cup is up $50,000 from last year, and the overall purses of $315,000 also are a record.
Rawnaq has started three times this year and has won impressively each time. His purse earnings total $360,000, assuring him the National Steeplechase Association’s Lonesome Glory Champions Award as the year’s top earner. He also is a heavy favorite for the year’s Eclipse Award as North America’s champion steeplechase horse.
Trained by Cyril Murphy, the nine-year-old Irish-bred has turned back two waves of overseas challengers, first in the Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) in May and the Grand National (Gr. 1) last month. He started the year with an impressive victory in the Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3).
By winning the Calvin Houghland Iroquois, Rawnaq became eligible for the $500,000 Brown Advisory Cheltenham-Iroquois Challenge, which would go to any horse who wins the Nashville race and the Cheltenham Festival’s Ryanair World Hurdle within 12 months. Both races are at three miles, and the Ryanair World Hurdle is scheduled for Thursday, March 16. The races’ purses and the bonus together are likely to exceed $1-million.
Taking over the reins for the Colonial Cup is Sean McDermott, the year’s top jockey by purse earnings.
Murphy also will saddle Naylor’s Charminster, winner of the David Semmes Memorial at the Virginia Gold Cup in May and most recently second in the David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial at the International Gold Cup on Oct. 22. Carol-Ann Sloan will ride.
Naylor, who already has obliterated his record for NSA owner earnings with $934,700 going into the Colonial Cup, also will be represented by Jamarjo, second in Belmont Park’s Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) on Sept. 22. Jamarjo is trained by Leslie Young and will be ridden by her husband, champion jockey Paddy Young.
Trainer Elizabeth Voss will saddle The Fields Stable’s Portrade, front-running winner of Saratoga Race Course’s New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1), and Robert Kinsley’s homebred Tempt Me Alex, most recently sixth behind Rawnaq in the Grand National.
Gus Dahl will ride Portrade, who was third in the Ferguson, and Willie McCarthy returns aboard Tempt Me Alex.
Gil Johnston’s Days of Heaven, an overseas challenger to Rawnaq who finished fifth in the Grand National, is trained by top English horseman Nicky Henderson. The French-bred will be ridden by Kieran Norris, who is the current leader in the jockey standings, one win ahead of a surging Young.
Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard will send out Parker’s Project, owned by Hudson River Farms, and Bill Pape’s Martini Brother. Both are coming back from long layoffs and finished second and third, respectively, in the Noel Laing Handicap in Virginia on Nov. 5.
Gerard Galligan rides Parker’s Project, and Darren Nagle will be aboard Martini Brother.
Completing the field are two Camden-based stakes winners, Sue Sensor’s Top Striker and Flying Elvis Stable’s Diplomat. Trained by Arch Kingsley Jr., Top Striker won the Ferguson Memorial impressively.
Diplomat, winner of the 2015 edition of the Ferguson and fifth this year, is trained by Kate Dalton and will be ridden by her husband, veteran jockey Bernie Dalton.
Here are the field for the $150,000 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1) in post-position order. All starters carry 156 pounds. The horse’s National Steeplechase Association rating is in parentheses at the end of each profile.
Jamarjo (Ire). 2007 b. g., Marju—Athlumney Lady, by Lycius. Owner; Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Leslie Young. Jockey: Paddy Young. Breeder: Frank Dunne (Ire). 2016 record: 4-1-1-2, $48,000. 2015 record: 1-1-0-0, $15,000. 2014 record: No starts. Finished second in Belmont Park’s Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1). Won 2016 Radnor Ratings Handicap, then was third in Monmouth Park Ratings Handicap. Finished third in Daniel Van Clief Memorial at Foxfield Spring. Returned to the races after winning the 2013 Charleston Cup and won 2015 Charleston Cup. (126)
Diplomat. 2009 b. g., Kitten’s Joy—Waki Affair, by Miswaki. Owner: Flying Elvis Stable. Trainer: Kate Dalton. Jockey: Bernie Dalton. Breeders: Ken and Sarah Ramsey (Ky.) 2016 record: 1-0-0-0, $3,000. 2015 record: 7-3-0-0, $126,750. In 2016 debut, finished fifth in International Gold Cup’s David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 2). Won 2015 International Gold Cup’s David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 3) before sixth in Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1). Bred by champion owners-breeders Ken and Sarah Ramsey and is a full brother to stakes-placed Kitten Love. (131)
Tempt Me Alex. 2009 b. g.., Afleet Alex—Attemptress, by Meadowlake. Owner: Robert A. Kinsley. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss. Jockey: Willie McCarthy. Breeder: Robert A. Kinsley (Pa.) 2016 record: 2-1-0-0, $55,500. 2015 record: 1-0-1-0, $6,300. Won 2016 Marcellus Frost Novice Stakes at Iroquois Steeplechase, then finished sixth in Grand National (Gr. 1). In his only 2015 start, finished close second in Iroquois Steeplechase Ratings Handicap. Won the 2014 Bright Hour at Iroquois. (125)
Martini Brother. 2008 dk. b. or br. g., A.P. Indy—Island Sand, by Tabasco Cat. Owner: Bill Pape. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Darren Nagle. Breeder: Meadowview Farms (Ky). 2016 record: 1-0-0-1, $3,500. 2015 record: 2-0-1-0, $23,250. Made comeback after more than a year on the sidelines with third in 2016 Noel Laing Handicap. Finished second in the 2015 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1). Won one of 2013’s top novices. Grade 1-winning dam sold for $4.2-million at 2007 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale while carrying Martini Brother. (133)
Charminster (Ire). 2006 b. g., Broadway Flyer—Monteleena, by Montelimar. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Jockey: Carol-Ann Sloan. Breeder: Raymond Cahalane (Ire). 2016 record: 5-1-2-1, $88,500. 2015 record: 5-1-0-1, $63,500. 2014 record: 2-0-1-0, $11,700. Finished second in the 2016 David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 2) at the International Gold Cup. Charged to 3 3/4-length win in 2016 David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2) at Virginia Gold Cup, then was second in Radnor’s National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3). Faded to fifth in New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1). Finished third in 2016 Lonesome Glory (Gr. 1). (135)
Parker’s Project. 2006 dk. b. or br. g., Parker’s Storm Cat—Let’s Canoodle, by Oh Say. Owner: Hudson River Farms. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Gerard Galligan. Breeder: Jonathan Sheppard (Pa.) 2016 record: 1-0-1-0, $6,300. 2015 record: 2-1-0-1, $50,000. Finished second in Montpelier’s 2016 Noel Laing Handicap in first start in almost 1 1/2 years. Began 2015 campaign with neck victory in Virginia Gold Cup’s David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2), then was third in Radnor’s National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3). In first start in more than two years, closed well to finish second in Belmont Park’s 2014 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1), then finished third in Grand National (Gr. 1). (134)
Days of Heaven (Fr). 2010 dk. b. g., Saint des Saintes—Daramour, by Anabaa Blue (GB). Owner: Gil Johnston. Trainer: Nicky Henderson. Jockey: Kieran Norris. Breeder: 2mme 1Guilhaine le Borgne. 2016 NSA record: 1-0-0-0, $14,000. In U.S. debut, finished fifth in the 2016 Grand National (Gr. 1). Recent acquisition by prominent American owner won his only start over bigger steeplechase fences at Kempton in May. Reeled off three straight wins over hurdles in 2014-15 season but was unable to duplicate that form in 2015-16. (139)
Portrade (Ire). 2009 b. g., Trade Fair (GB)—Portorosa, by Irish River (Fr). Owner: The Fields Stable. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss. Jockey: Gus Dahl. Breeder: Keene Bloodstock (Ire). 2016 record: 4-1-0-2, $111,800. 2015 record: 2-0-0-0, $2,500. 2014 NSA record: No starts. Won the 2016 New York Turf Writers (Gr. 1) after setting all the pace, then was third in David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 2) at International Gold Cup. Finished third in Saratoga’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1). Opened 2016 with fifth in Fair Hill’s Valentine Memorial Ratings Handicap. In final 2014 starts in Ireland, won Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle at Listowel and then was second in a handicap hurdle at Tipperary. (128)
Rawnaq (Ire). 2007 b. g., Azamour (Ire)—Sharemata, by Dayoun (Ire). Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Jockey: Sean McDermott. Breeder: Jim Monaghan (Ire). 2016 record: 3-3-0-0, $360,000. 2015 NSA record: 2-0-1-1, $48,000. Won 2016 Grand National (Gr. 1) in another impressive performance. Won hard-fought victory in 2016 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) after impressive win in Middleburg Spring’s Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 3). In his first U.S. start, closed gamely to finish third in Far Hills’ Grand National (Gr. 1), beaten a length, then finished second in Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1). (165)
Top Striker. 2009 b. g., Van Nistelrooy—Two’s Cozy, by Cozzene. Owner: Mrs. George M. Sensor. Trainer: Arch Kingsley Jr. Jockey: Open. Breeder: Sycamore Hall Farm (Md.) 2016 record: 6-1-2-2, $84,700. 2015 record: No starts. Won David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 2) at 2016 International Gold Cup. Lost a tough decision by a nose in Saratoga Ratings Handicap, then was second in another Spa handicap. Finished second in Fair Hill’s Valentine Memorial Ratings Handicap. Finished third in 2016 David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2) at Virginia Gold Cup after fourth in Middleburg Spring’s Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 3). Won 2014 Carolina Cup and AFLAC Supreme Hurdle. (132)