The $75,000 Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 2), the featured contest of the 98th annual Middleburg Spring Races, attracted a strong list of 14 nominees to the 2 1/2-mile hurdle stakes on Saturday, April 21.
Among the nominees is Gillian Johnston’s Mr. Hot Stuff, who would be making his first start since claiming the National Steeplechase Association’s Lonesome Glory Award as 2017’s leading earner with his gutsy nose victory in Far Hills’ Grand National (Gr. 1) last October.
Winner of the 2015 Temple Gwathmey and third last year, the veteran jumps competitor is trained by Jack Fisher, who also nominated Edith R. Dixon’s Schoodic and Sonny Via’s Hinterland, who finished third and fourth, respectively, in the Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1) on March 31.
Also coming out of the Colonial Cup in Camden, S.C., are the second and fifth finishers, Zanjabeel and Swansea Mile, both trained by Ricky Hendriks. Zanjabeel, owned by Rosbrian Farm and Wendy and Ben Griswold, won two novice stakes last fall after his arrival in the U.S. Rosbrian’s Swansea Mile upset Saratoga Race Course’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) at 28.50-1.
Trainer Jonathan Sheppard nominated Buttonwood Farm’s All the Way Jose, the hard-luck third finisher in the Grand National, beaten only two noses. In his previous start, he won Belmont Park’s Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1)
Owner Irv Naylor nominated Sempre Medici, who competed at the top levels of hurdle racing in Ireland and England before being imported at the end of the 2016 season. Now trained by Cyril Murphy, the French-bred missed the 2017 NSA season.
Naylor’s Jamarjo, the 2017 National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3) winner who finished fourth in the Grand National, was among three nominees from trainer Leslie Young. She also nominated Michael A. Smith’s Mercoeur and Ballybristol Farm’s Andi’amu, the winner and second finisher, respectively, in the Montpelier Hunt Races’ Noel Laing Handicap last November.
Here are the 14 nominees to the $75,000 Temple Gwathmey Handicap. The horses’ National Steeplechase Association ratings are in parentheses at the end of their profiles.
All the Way Jose. 2010 b. g., Senor Swinger—Maternity Leave, by Northern Baby. Owner: Buttonwood Farm. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Breeder: Jonathan Sheppard (Pa.) 2017 record: 7-2-1-3, $179,300. 2016 NSA record: 3-0-0-0, $7,500. 2015 record: 3-0-0-0, $3,750. Won 2017 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1). Finished third in Grand National (Gr. 1), beaten two noses. Won Fair Hill’s $40,000 Valentine Memorial ratings handicap by 15 1/4 lengths, then lost rider in A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) and was third in New York Turf Writers (Gr. 1). Novice champion in 2014. (145)
Andi’amu (Fr). 2010 b. g., Walk In The Park—Sainte Parfaite, by Septieme Ciel. Owner: Ballybristol Farm. Trainer: Leslie Young. Breeder: Therese Bouche (Fr). 2017 NSA record: 6-0-1-2, $32,900. 2016 record: 6-1-2-0, $77,300. Finished second in 2017 Noel Laing Handicap after third in Far Hills’ Appleton ratings handicap. Opened 2017 with fifth in Tryon Block House Handicap, then was distant third in Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1). Came home eighth in 2017 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1). Finished hard-driving second in 2016 New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1). (127)
Hardrock Eleven. 2010 gr. or ro. g., Rock Hard Ten—Stark Beauty, by Unbridled’s Song. Owner: Virginia Lazenby Racing Stable. Trainer: Doug Fout. Breeders: Farm III Enterprises and Off the Hook Partners (Fla.) 2017 NSA record: 5-0-0-0, $10,300. 2016 NSA record: 7-2-1-0, $105,700. Opened 2017 with fourth in Tryon Block House handicap, was pulled up in Virginia Gold Cup’s David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2), and finished fourth in Fair Hill’s Valentine Memorial ratings handicap. Tired to finish fourth in Saratoga handicap and was fifth in a similar race. Won 2016 William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes after winning Saratoga allowance hurdle for second straight year. Formerly trained by owner’s late brother, David P. Banks, and won an Evangeline Downs optional allowance flat race in 2014. (120)
Hinterland (Fr). 2008 b. g., Poliglote (GB)—Queen’s Place, by Diamond Prospect. Owner: Harold A. “Sonny” Via Jr. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: Eric Aubree and Christian Bresson (Fr). 2018 record: 1-0-0-0, $7,500. 2017 record: 2-0-1-0, $36,000. Opened 2018 with fourth in Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1). Finished distant second in 2017 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1), then was seventh in Belmont Park’s Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1). Finished second in 2015 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1), his second U.S. start after seventh in Saratoga’s New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1). (131)
Jamarjo (Ire). 2007 b. g., Marju—Athlumney Lady, by Lycius. Owner; Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Leslie Young. Breeder: Frank Dunne (Ire). 2017 NSA record: 4-1-1-0, $56,400. 2016 record: 5-1-1-2, $55,500. Won Radnor’s National Hunt Cup (Gr. 1) easily after second in Foxfield Spring’s 2017 Daniel Van Clief Memorial optional allowance hurdle. Finished fourth in Grand National (Gr. 1) at Far Hills, N.J. (136)
Lyonell (Ger). 2011 b. g., Montjeu (Ire)—Lysuna, by Monson. Owner: Robert A. Kinsley. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss. Breeder: Gestut Hof Ittlingen (Ger). 2017 record: 4-1-2-1, $47,900. 2016 NSA record: 2-1-0-1, $22,000. Won Far Hills Races’ 2017 Appleton rating handicap by 5 1/2 lengths, then was third in Montpelier’s Noel Laing Handicap. Opened 2017 season with second in Middleburg Spring ratings handicap, then was second in Iroquois allowance hurdle. (125)
Mercoeur (Fr). 2011 gr. or ro. g., Archange d’Or (Ire)—Erivia, by Kendor. Owner: Michael A. Smith. Trainer: Leslie Young. Breeder: Ambrose Dupont (Fr). 2017 record: 4-2-1-0, $54,550. 2016 record: 4-1-0-2, $19,500. Won Montpelier’s 2017 Noel Laing after fourth in Far Hills’ 2017 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle. Won 2017 Radnor conditioned allowance hurdle after second in Tryon Block House allowance hurdle. Scored maiden hurdle victory at 2016 Montpelier Hunt Races. (125)
Mr. Hot Stuff. 2006 dk. b. or br. g., Tiznow—Sweet Damsel, by Turkoman. Owner: Gil Johnston. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: WinStar Farm (Ky.) 2017 record: 5-1-0-1, $251,000. 2016 record: No starts. Claimed Lonesome Glory Award as 2017’s leading earner with gutsy win in Grand National (Gr. 1) at Far Hills, N.J. Finished fifth in Belmont Park’s 2017 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1). Finished third in 2017 Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 3) after missing 2016 season, then was pulled up in Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) and seventh in New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1). Won 2015 Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3). Won the 2013 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) at Saratoga. (146)
Officer’s Oath. 2013 b. g., Luftkus—Officer Pepper, by Officer. Owner: S. Bruce Smart Jr. Trainer: Jimmy Day. Breeder: Daybreak Stables (Va.). 2017 NSA record: No starts. 2016 NSA record: 2-2-0-0, $42,000. Claimed 2016 three-year-old title with victories in Far Hills’ Gladstone Stakes after maiden score at Foxfield Fall. Raced exclusively on the flat in 2017. (112)
Schoodic. 2010 b. g., Tiznow—Aunt Henny, by Hennessy. Owner: Edith R. Dixon. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: Edith R. Dixon (Ky.) 2018 record: 1-0-0-1, $15,000. 2017 record: 5-1-0-0, $50,750. Opened 2018 campaign with closing third in Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1). Won 2017 David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2) at Virginia Gold Cup after fall in Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3), then was a dull fifth in Radnor’s National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3), a race he won in 2016. Finished seventh in 2017 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) and fourth in David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial. (130)
Sempre Medici (Fr). 2010 b. g., Medicean—Sambala, by Danehill Dancer. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Breeders: Myriam Bollack, Noel Forgeard, and E.A.R.L. du Haras de Pierrepont (Fr). 2017 NSA record: No starts. Competed at top level in England and Ireland for trainer Willie Mullins before being imported. Easily won trials preceding the 2016 Champion Hurdle, in which he was pulled up after the next-to-last fence. Female-line descendant of foundation mare Best in Show, by Traffic Judge. (145)
Show Court (Ire). 2009 b. g., Vinnie Roe—Sparking Gem, by Revoque. Owner: Mark W. Buyck Jr. Trainer: Arch Kingsley Jr. Breeder: Grange Stud (Ire). 2018 record: 1-0-0-0, $4,500. 2017 NSA record: 5-2-1-0, $112,000. Finished sixth in Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1) after chasing winning pacesetter. Finished sixth in Saratoga’s 2017 New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) after winning Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes. Won 2017 Carolina Cup by seven lengths, then finished second in Queen’s Cup MPC ’Chase. Finished distant fifth in Iroquois’ Marcellus Frost Champion Hurdle. Won maiden over hurdles in Ireland in late 2015. (130)
Swansea Mile (Ire). 2010 b. g., Dylan Thomas (Ire)—Hurry Up Helen, by In the Wings (GB). Owner: Rosbrian Farm. Trainer: Ricky Hendriks. Breeder: W. Kane (Ire). 2018 record: 1-0-0-0, $6,000. 2017 record: 7-1-1-2, $122,650. Finished fifth in 2018 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1). Won Saratoga’s 2017 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) at 28.50-to-1, then finished fifth in New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) and third in Belmont Park’s Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1). Opened 2017 with second in Steeplechase of Charleston’s featured optional allowance hurdle and then was fourth in Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3). Finished third in High Hope’s featured optional allowance hurdle. Finished fourth in Belmont Park’s 2016 Lonesome Glory in U.S. debut. (133)
Zanjabeel (GB). 2013 b. g., Aussie Rules—Grain Only, by Machiavellian. Owners: Rosbrian Farm and Ben and Wendy Griswold. Trainer: Ricky Hendriks. Breeder: Kirsten Rausing (GB). 2018 record: 1-0-1-0, $27,000. 2017 NSA record: 2-2-0-0, $120,000. Finished second in 2018 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1). Drew away to a 4 3/4-length victory in Far Hills’ 2017 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle, his U.S. debut for former owners and trainer Gordon Elliott. For new owners, won Steeplechase at Callaway’s Aflac Supreme Hurdle by 2 3/4 lengths. Made mixture of flat and hurdle starts in 2017, with handicap hurdle win in June and a flat win in July. (138)