High-quality, competitive fields will line up Saturday, May 18, for the Radnor Hunt Races’ two stakes races, the $50,000 National Hunt Cup (Gr. 1) over National Fences and the $40,000 Radnor Hunt Cup over timber in suburban Philadelphia.
Champion owner Irv Naylor’s Decoy Daddy, winner of the $50,000 Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) in his most recent start, heads the historic National Hunt Cup, and Michael Wharton’s Virginia Gold Cup winner Grinding Speed tops the Radnor Hunt Cup. First post time is 1:30 p.m. for the six-race program at W. Burling Cocks Memorial Racecourse in Malvern.
National Hunt Cup
Trained by Brianne Slater, multiple stakes winner Decoy Daddy will be ridden by Carol Ann Sloan, who was in the saddle for the 8 1/2-length Gwathmey win at the Middleburg Spring Races in Virginia on April 20. Slater also will send out Naylor’s Charminster, who drew away to a nine-length win in an optional allowance hurdle on the Middleburg program. Ross Geraghty has the mount.
Decoy Daddy gelding will face several of his Gwathmey opponents in the 2 3/8-mile National Hunt Cup. Oakwood Stable’s Country Cousin finished second, and Hickory Tree Stable’s Gustavian was third. Roddy Mackenzie will ride Country Cousin for trainer Julie Gomena, and Paddy Young will be on Gustavian, who was second in last year’s National Hunt Cup.
Leslie Young, Gustavian’s trainer, also entered Silverton Hill’s Darkwatch, who finished seventh in the Marcellus Frost Novice Stakes at the Iroquois Steeplechase in Nashville on May 11. Bernie Dalton will ride.
Trainer Tom Voss entered Merriefield Farm’s Ballet Boy, who will be making his first start over fences since winning last year’s National Hunt Cup, which was restricted to novices. Willie McCarthy, who rode Ballet Boy last year, will be in the saddle. Truly a horse for the course, Ballet Boy also won an allowance on the 2011 Radnor program.
Randleston Farm’s multiple Grade 1 winner Spy in the Sky also will be making his first 2013 start. Trained by Jimmy Day, Spy in the Sky won last year’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) at Saratoga Race Course. Danielle Hodsdon rides.
Completing the field is owner-trainer Jonathan Sheppard’s Barnstorming, who finished fourth in the $50,000 Queen’s Cup MPC ‘Chase, a novice stakes near Charlotte, N.C., on April 27. Darren Nagle will be astride Barnstorming.
Radnor Hunt Cup
Grinding Speed, trained by Alicia Murphy and ridden by Mark Beecher, waltzed away to a 6 3/4-length victory in the Virginia Gold Cup on May 4. He will see several of his Gold Cup opponents in a full field for the 3 1/4-mile Radnor Hunt Cup.
Straight to It, the 2012 New Jersey Hunt Cup winner trained by Jack Fisher, finished second in the Virginia Gold Cup, and Merriefield’s Foyle was fourth for trainer Bruce Fenwick. My Lady’s Manor winner Moonsox finished fifth, and Middleburg Hunt Cup victor Hot Rize was sixth.