Two timber champions, both from the stable of top trainer Jack Fisher, will face off Saturday in the $30,000 Middleburg Hunt Cup, the featured timber contest of Saturday’s 98th annual Middleburg Spring Races at Glenwood Park.
The seven-race program also features the $75,000 Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 2), which attracted many of the sport’s top hurdlers. First post time is 1 p.m. at the Northern Virginia course.
Charles C. Fenwick Jr.’s Doc Cebu won last year’s timber championship with a dominant campaign that included victories in the International Gold Cup, Genesee Valley Hunt Cup, and Willowdale Steeplechase. The eight-year-old Hard Spun gelding will be ridden by Hadden Frost, his regular jockey last season.
Fenwick also is a partner in Bruton Street-US, owner of 2016 timber champion Two’s Company, who had a disappointing two-race campaign last year. After falling in the Middleburg Hunt Cup, he was pulled up in the Iroquois Steeplechase’s Mason Houghland Memorial. Sean McDermott rides the Irish-bred.
Armata Stables will have a double-barreled entry for the 3 1/4-mile Middleburg Hunt Cup. Cornhusker, trained by Alicia Murphy, won last year’s edition by 5 3/4 lengths and also was victorious in the Houghland Memorial for a third time. Kieran Norris will ride the 11-year-old.
Willie McCarthy will be aboard Armata’s Grand Manan, a fleet pacesetter who finished second to Doc Cebu in last fall’s International Gold Cup. Billy Meister trains the nine-year-old by Giant’s Causeway.
Irv Naylor, last year’s top timber owner, will be represented by Top Man Michael and Super Saturday. Trained by Cyril Murphy, Top Man Michael won the Winterthur Bowl, his only start last year. Super Saturday finished second in the New Jersey Hunt Cup last October for trainer Kathy Neilson.
Darren Nagle rides Top Man Michael, and Gerard Galligan will be aboard Super Saturday.
Here is the field for the $30,000 Middleburg Hunt Cup in post-position order.
Canyon Road. 2009 ch. g., Service Stripe—Observe, by Patton. Owner: Gordonsdale Farm. Trainer: Christopher Kolb. Breeder: Jockey: Jeff Murphy. Gordonsdale Farm (W.Va.) 2017 record: 4-0-1-0, $6,600. 2016 record: 5-2-0-1, $25,250. Finished fifth in 2017 Radnor Hunt Cup before 10th in Shawan’s Legacy Chase. Opened 2017 season with second in Middleburg Hunt Cup, then was pulled up in Virginia Gold Cup. Finished fourth in Virginia Fall’s 2016 National Sporting Library & Museum Cup before winning timber allowance at Pennsylvania Hunt Cup.
Top Man Michael (Ire). 2009 b. g., Antonius Plus—Top Brex, by Top Ville. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Jockey: Darren Nagle. Breeder: John Egan (Ire). 2017 record: 1-1-0-0, $15,000. 2016 record: 3-1-0-1, $19,000. In only 2017 start, won Winterthur Bowl for second consecutive year. Won 2016 Winterthur Bowl in his first start over timber, then was fourth in Radnor Hunt Cup and third in Callaway timber allowance race.
Doc Cebu. 2010 b. g., Hard Spun—Berga, by Jade Hunter. Owner: Charles C. Fenwick Jr. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Hadden Frost. Breeder: Graceville Breeding (Ky.) 2017 record: 5-4-1-0, $96,600. 2016 record: 2-2-0-0, $21,000. Clinched 2017 timber championship with 11-length victory in International Gold Cup. Won 2017 Genesee Valley Hunt Cup by 11 1/4 lengths and Willowdale Steeplechase by nine lengths. Opened his timber career with a maiden victory at 2017 My Lady’s Manor and was second in Queen’s Cup timber allowance. Won his two starts over hurdles in 2016.
Grand Manan. 2009 b. g., Giant’s Causeway—Manoa, by Seeking the Gold. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: William Meister. Jockey: Willie McCarthy. Breeders: Stuart S. Janney III and Phipps Stable (Ky.). 2017 record: 5-0-3-0, $28,500. 2016 record: 4-3-0-0, $82,950. Finished second in 2017 National Sporting Library and Museum Cup and International Gold Cup. Finished fourth in 2017 My Lady’s Manor, then was unplaced in Virginia Gold Cup after setting most of pace. Closed 2016 season with back-to-back front-running victories in the Genesee Valley Hunt Cup and International Gold Cup.
Le Chevalier. 2009 g. or ro. g., Broken Vow—Orellana, by With Approval. Owner: Michael A. Smith. Trainer: Julie Gomena. Jockey: Jack Doyle. Breeder: Haras du Mezeray (Ky.) 2017 record: 1-0-0-1, $3,000. 2016 record: 5-2-1-0, $49,250. Finished third in the 2017 My Lady’s Manor. Won the 2016 New Jersey Hunt Cup by 11 lengths, then was fourth in Steeplechase at Callaway timber allowance. Broke through for a decisive victory in division of John Rush Streett Memorial maiden timber race at 2016 My Lady’s Manor, then was second in Mason Houghland Memorial at Iroquois Steeplechase.
Cornhusker (GB). 2007 b. g., Dynaformer–Nebraska Tornado, by Storm Cat. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: Alicia Murphy. Jockey: Kieran Norris. Breeder: Juddmonte Farms (GB). 2017 record: 6-2-2-0, $60,350. 2016 record: 2-0-0-0, $4,500. Ran a confident race in the 2017 Middleburg Hunt Cup and won by 5 3/4 lengths, then finished second in the Winterthur Bowl. Won 2017 Mason Houghland Memorial, his third win in the Iroquois timber stakes, after 2014 and 2015. Finished second in Shawan’s 2017 Legacy Chase, then fifth in National Sporting Library and Museum Cup and fourth in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup.
Super Saturday. 2009 gr. or ro. g., Any Given Saturday—Lady Aloma, by Cozzene. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Jockey: Gerard Galligan. Breeder: Walton Breeders (Ky.) 2017 record: 6-0-1-1, $13,400. 2016 record: 5-0-1-0, $4,550. Finished second in 2017 New Jersey Hunt Cup and third in Steeplechase at Callaway timber allowance after fourth in Genesee Valley Hunt Cup. Finished fourth in the 2017 Grand National, then fell at fourth fence of Maryland Hunt Cup and was fifth in Willowdale Steeplechase.
Two’s Company (Ire). 2009 b. g., Soviet Star—Gaye Lady, by Pistolet Bleu (Ire). Owner: Bruton Street-U.S. Trainer Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sean McDermott. Breeders: M. W. and Mrs. M. Doran (Ire). 2017 record: 2-0-0-0, $0. 2016 record: 6-4-2-0, $103,200. Timber champion in 2016. Fell in late stages of 2017 Middleburg Hunt Cup, then was pulled up in Mason Houghland Memorial at Iroquois Steeplechase. Opened 2016 with victories in Middleburg Hunt Cup and Carolina Cup’s C. P. and Edith Wills DuBose Cup, then closed for second in Virginia Gold Cup. Won 2016 Legacy Chase at Shawan Downs and Virginia Fall’s National Sporting Library & Museum Cup before second in International Gold Cup.