Two of the year’s top novice performers, Boss Man and, Gibralfaro, will face off Saturday in the $75,000 Aflac Supreme Hurdle, the featured hurdle race of the 34th annual Steeplechase at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Ga.
The Aflac Supreme Hurdle will highlight a Steeplechase at Callaway program that kicks off with a 1 p.m. first post time.
Boss Man holds the lead in the fight for the championship for newcomers to the jump-racing game with $109,500 in earnings over fences this year. Trained by Arch Kingsley Jr., Boss Man won Belmont Park’s William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes by a half-length over Ice It.
In his most recent race, he appeared to dislike the yielding ground at the Far Hills Races in a Foxbrook Champion hurdle division and was pulled up before the last fence. Michael Mitchell will ride Boss Man in the Aflac Supreme Hurdle.
Trained by Jack Fisher, Gibralfaro finished a very solid second in the other division of the Foxbrook on Oct. 20. He led nearly all the way on the New Jersey course and held on well to be beaten only a half-length. He previously finished sixth to Boss Man in the Entenmann. Sean McDermott will ride.
Fisher, trying to make up ground on Ricky Hendriks in the battle for this year’s training title, entered DASH Stable’s Ice It, who finished fourth in Gibralfaro’s division of the Foxbrook. Darren Nagle, making his accustomed late-season run on the jockey title, has the mount.
Hendriks, who has 20 wins this season to Fisher’s 18, entered Rosbrian Farm’s Veneer of Charm, who finished sixth in the first Foxbrook division. Bernie Dalton has the mount.
Gillian Johnston’s Mutasaawy, who finished a half-length behind Surprising Soul in third in their Foxbrook division, will be looking for his second win of the year, following a victory in the Fair Hill Races’ Valentine Memorial ratings handicap on May 26. Shane Crimin will ride for trainer Neil Morris.
Mrs. Johnston also will be represented by Kathy Neilson-trained Set to Music, third in an International Gold Cup allowance hurdle last Saturday. Gerard Galligan will ride.
Here is the field for the $75,000 Aflac Supreme Hurdle in post-position order. The horses’ National Steeplechase Association ratings are in parentheses at the end of their profiles.
Mutasaawy. 2010 b. g., Tapit—Pretty Proud, by Mr. Greeley. Owner: Gillian Johnston. Trainer: Neil Morris. Jockey: Shane Crimin. Breeder: Pretty Proud Syndicate (Ky.). 2018 NSA record: 6-1-1-1, $53,000. 2017 NSA record: 6-2-1-1, $66,900. Finished third in 2018 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle division after fifth in Saratoga’s Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes. Won Fair Hill’s 2018 Valentine Memorial ratings handicap before second in Saratoga’s Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes as favorite. Finished seventh in 2018 Queen’s Cup MPC ’Chase and fell in Iroquois’ Marcellus Frost Champion Hurdle. Third in Belmont Park’s 2017 William Entenmann Novice Stakes. (127)
Boss Man. 2010 ch. g., English Channel—Jenny Joy, by Acceptable. Owner: Carrington Holdings. Trainer: Arch Kingsley Jr. Jockey: Michael Mitchell. Breeder: Kinsman Farm (Fla.) 2018 NSA record: 6-3-0-1, $109,500. Pulled up in Far Hills’ 2018 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle division. Won Belmont Park’s William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes after third in Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes at Saratoga. Won Saratoga allowance hurdle by front-running 2 1/4 lengths. Graduate of Jason Servis’ flat training operation scored his maiden victory over fences at the 2018 Queen’s Cup. (127)
Set to Music. 2011b. g., Dynaformer—Pussycat Doll, by Real Quiet. Owner: Gillian Johnston. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Jockey: Gerard Galligan. Breeder: Mr. and Mrs. Roy Jackson (Ky.). 2018 record: 4-1-2-1, $35,100. Finished third in a 2018 International Gold Cup allowance hurdle. After two close second-place finishes, broke through for a maiden hurdle victory at the 2018 Fair Hill Races. (116)
Veneer of Charm (Ire). 2014 b. g., Fast Company (Ire)—Nova Tor (Ire), by Trans Island (GB). Owners: Rosbrian Farm and Martin J. Wasylocha. Trainer: Ricky Hendriks. Jockey: Bernie Dalton. Breeder: P. Burns (Ire). 2018 NSA record: 1-0-0-0, $3,750. Finished sixth in Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle division. Scored 33-1 upset victory in 2018 Cheltenham Festival handicap hurdle but failed to retain that form and finished well-beaten sixth in an allowance hurdle in his final overseas start. (130)
Ice It. 2012 gr. or ro. g., Tapit—Spice Island, by Tabasco Cat. Owner: DASH Stable. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Darren Nagle. Breeder: Qatar Bloodstock (Ky.) 2018 record: 5-0-1-0, $29,750. 2017 record: 6-1-2-1, $100,330. Finished second, beaten a half-length, in Belmont Park’s 2018 William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes, then was fourth in Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle division. Was fifth in Marcellus Frost Champion Hurdle at Iroquois Steeplechase. Finished fourth in Queen’s Cup MPC ’Chase after sixth in Carolina Cup. Finished hard-trying second in Far Hills Races’ 2017 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle and Aflac Supreme Hurdle. Won 2017 Queen’s Cup MPC ’Chase. Won Far Hills’ Gladstone Hurdle to lock up 2015 three-year-old championship. (126)
Gibralfaro. (Ire). 2012 b. g., Dalakhani (Ire)—Ronda, by Bluebird. Owner: Riverdee Stable. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sean McDermott. Breeder: Sarl Darpat France (Ire). 2018 record: 4-1-2-0, $63,750. Finished second in Far Hills’ 2018 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle division after setting early pace. Finished second in Iroquois’ 2018 Marcellus Frost Champion Hurdle for novices, then was sixth in Belmont Park’s William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes. Set pressured pace and won 2018 Tryon Block House allowance hurdle. In final start in England in October 2017, finished third in an allowance hurdle at Bangor-on-Dee. Won an Ascot allowance hurdle in January 2017. (132)