Irv Naylor’s Rawnaq, who placed in last fall’s two Grade 1 races, will carry the 158-pound highweight for Saturday’s $50,000 Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3), the signature race of the 95th annual Middleburg Spring Races.
The seven-race program, which also features the $30,000 Middleburg Hunt Cup over timber fences, kicks off at 1 p.m. at Glenwood Race Course.
Although Rawnaq is still looking for his first American victory, he piled up earnings of $48,000 in an abbreviated 2015 season in the U.S. with a third in the $300,000 Grand National (Gr. 1) at Far Hills, N.J., and then a second in the $100,000 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1) in Camden, S.C.
Jack Doyle, last year’s champion jockey by purse earnings, will ride for trainer Cyril Murphy.
Jack Fisher ran away with the trainer titles by wins and earnings last year, and he will field a formidable team for the 2 1/2-mile Temple Gwathmey. Overwhelming, owned by Lauren and Rene Woolcott’s Woodslane Farm, won three times last year and concluded the season with a victory in the AFLAC Supreme Hurdle in Georgia. Sean McDermott will ride.
Bruton Street-US’s Scorpiancer was impressive in winning the Foxbrook Champion Hurdle at Far Hills, N.J., last fall, and Fisher will lift Connor Hankin into the saddle. Both Overwhelming and Scorpiancer carry 144 pounds, second in the weights.
Trainer Leslie Young will send out Ballybristol Farm’s Andi’amu, who won last fall’s Noel Laing, a Ratings Handicap at the Montpelier Hunt Races. Paddy Young has the mount.
Sue Sensor’s Top Striker missed the 2015 season and returns in a tough spot for trainer Arch Kingsley Jr. Winner of the 2014 Carolina Cup and AFLAC Supreme Hurdle, Top Striker will be ridden by Bernie Dalton.
Here is the field for the $50,000 Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3), with handicap weight assignments in parentheses at the end of the profiles.
Overwhelming. 2010 b. g., Hard Spun—Oh What a Windfall, by Seeking the Gold. Owner: Woodslane Farm. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sean McDermott. Breeder: Phipps Stable (Ky.) 2015 record: 6-3-1-0, $136,300. 2014 NSA record: 6-1-2-1, $27,250. 6-1 odds. Won Steeplechase at Callaway’s AFLAC Supreme Hurdle. Won Belmont’s William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes, then fell in the David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 3) at the International Gold Cup on Oct. 24. Won Saratoga allowance hurdle by 8 1/4 lengths on July 29. (144)
Andi’amu (Fr). 2010 b. g., Walk In The Park—Sainte Parfaite, by Septieme Ciel. Owner: Ballybristol Farm. Trainer: Leslie Young. Jockey: Paddy Young. Breeder: Therese Bouche (Fr). 2015 NSA record: 4-1-3-0, $56,400. 8-1 odds. Won Montpelier’s Noel Laing, a Ratings Handicap. Finished second in first three U.S. starts, most recently in an International Gold Cup allowance hurdle on Oct. 24. Also had two place finishes at Saratoga. Won maiden victory at Market Rasen in November 2014. (142)
Top Striker. 2009 b. g., Van Nistelrooy—Two’s Cozy, by Cozzene. Owner: Mrs. George M. Sensor. Trainer: Arch Kingsley Jr. Jockey: Bernie Dalton. Breeder: Sycamore Hall Farm (Md.) 2015 record: No starts. 2014 record: 6-2-0-2, $72,250. 10-1 odds. Coming back after missing the 2015 season. Started 2014 with win in Carolina Cup and also scored in AFLAC Supreme Hurdle at the Steeplechase at Callaway. (142)
Rudyard K. 2009 b. g., Kipling—Two Bridges, by Major Impact. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: Todd Wyatt. Jockey: Ross Geraghty. Breeder: Frances Hill Myers (Oh.) 2015 record: No starts. 2014 record: 3-1-2-0, $57,000. 15-1 odds. Coming back after a year’s absence. Won 2014 Saratoga allowance hurdle in final 2014 start. Just missed in Marcellus Frost Novice Stakes at Nashville’s Iroquois Steeplechase after respectable second in Dogwood Classic allowance hurdle at Colonial Downs. (142)
Rawnaq (Ire). 2007 b. g., Azamour (Ire)—Sharemata, by Dayoun (Ire). Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Jockey: Jack Doyle. Breeder: Jim Monaghan (Ire). 2015 NSA record: 2-0-1-1, $48,000. 9-5 odds. 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). Won an allowance hurdle at Down Royal in June and then finished close second in Bellewstown handicap hurdle stakes. Lost rider in the Guinness Galway Handicap Hurdle. (158)
Bonded (Ire). 2007 b. g., Oasis Dream (GB)—Lovealoch, by Lomond. Owner: Bruce Smart Jr. Trainer: Jimmy Day. Jockey: Kieran Norris. Breeders: Michael Woodlock and Seamus Kennedy (Ire). 2016 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2015 NSA record: 4-1-1-0, $51,200. 2014 record: No starts. 20-1 odds. Pulled up in 2016 Carolina Cup. Finished second in Montpelier’s Noel Laing, a Ratings Handicap. Finished fourth in Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle after victory in Saratoga allowance hurdle in August. Fell over another horse in the Marcellus Frost Novice Stakes at the Iroquois Steeplechase on May 9. (140)
Manacor (Ire). 2008 b. g., Refuse to Bend (Ire)–Mollyputtheketelon, by Rainbow Quest. Owner: Daybreak Stables. Trainer: Jimmy Day. Jockey: Open. Breeder: Kilboy Estate (Ire). 2014 NSA record: 4-1-2-0, $45,500. 20-1 odds. In only 2015 start, lost his rider in Iroquois Steeplechase’s Marcellus Frost Novice Stakes. Split his time between flat races and the jumps in 2014. Finished fourth in W. Gary Baker Memorial Stakes at Virginia Fall and was second in flat race at International Gold Cup. Won a 2014 Saratoga allowance hurdle. (140)
Bodie Island. 2008 dk. b. or br. g., Kafwain—Sweet Carolina, by Deputy Minister. Owner: The Elkstone Group LLC. Trainer: Richard Valentine. Jockey: Darren Nagle. Breeder: The Elkstone Group LLC (Ky.) 2015 record: No starts. 2014 record: 5-2-0-2, $59,900. 10-1 odds. Missed the 2015 season after a two-win campaign in 2014, including a victory in a Saratoga optional allowance hurdle. (142).
Scorpiancer (Ire). 2009 b. g., Scorpion (Ire)—Janebailey, By Silver Patriarch. Owner: Bruton Street-US. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Connor Hankin. Breeder: Mary O’Connor (Ire). 2015 NSA record: 2-2-0-0, $75,000. 4-1 odds. Won 2015 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle after dominant victory in Shawan Downs Ratings Handicap. Made his U.S. debut with a fourth-place finish in a flat race for hurdlers at Suffolk Downs on Sept. 5. Lightly raced gelding won maiden over hurdles in January 2015 at Ludlow. (144)