Leading trainer Jack Fisher and jockey Connor Hankin collected back-to-back victories when Bruton Street-US’s The Nephew pulled away to an easy victory in the $50,000 Mason Houghland Memorial, the Iroquois Steeplechase’s featured timber race, on Saturday.
In the prior race, Fisher and Hankin had combined for a win with Duodecim Stable’s All for Us in the George Sloan and John Sloan Sr. Sport of Kings maiden hurdle.
Irv Naylor’s Tax Ruling broke on top in the three-mile Mason Houghland, but The Nephew was matching strides with him and took over the lead in the first mile. He maintained a clear lead, was challenged by Otter Racing’s Le Chevalier approaching the last of 20 fences and easily turned away the bid to win by 5 3/4 lengths.
Magalen O. Bryant’s Gustavian, who had kept The Nephew for the second mile, finished third, 18 1/4 lengths farther back in third. Holston Hall’s Hot Rize, the 2014 timber champion, finished fourth.
Michael G. Hankin, the manager of the Bruton Street partnership and the jockey’s father, credited Richard Pitman, a former English jumps jockey and BBC racing commentator, for finding The Nephew, an Irish-bred by Indian River (Fr).
The Nephew, the senior Hankin said, appeared to like timber racing and proved it with a dominant performance in the Mason Houghland. He ran the distance in 6:46.20 on firm turf.