Lucy Goelet’s Twill Do, the two-time Maryland Hunt Cup winner, is among eight nominees to the 111th Grand National, the middle jewel of Maryland’s timber triple crown on Saturday, April 20, in Butler. Post time is 3:15 p.m. for the 3 1/4-mile Grand National, which kicks off a three-race program.
Twill Do, trained by timber impresario Billy Meister, used a fourth-place finish in last year’s Grand National as a springboard to his second Hunt Cup win. He also had won the Hunt Cup in 2010.
Meister also nominated Mrs. William D. Class Jr.’s And the Eagle Flys and Irvin S. Naylor’s Alfa Beat. And the Eagle Flys won last year’s Grand National but fell in the Hunt Cup with his trainer in the saddle. Alfa Beat had a successful career over steeplechase fences in Ireland but has yet to win over American timber.
Merriefield Farm’s Bon Caddo, the 2011 timber champion, was nominated to the Grand National by trainer Bruce Fenwick. Bon Caddo finished third in last year’s Hunt Cup after a third in the My Lady’s Manor. The Maryland-based 12-year-old Bon Point gelding was entered for this year’s My Lady’s Manor on April 13.
Fenwick also nominated Merriefield’s Foyle, winner of a timber maiden race at the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup last November.
Jack Fisher, who was both the overall champion trainer and timber champion trainer last year, nominated Northwoods Stable’s Battle Op and Jeremy Batoff’s Prospectors Strike. Battle Op finished a game second in last year’s Hunt Cup, and Prospectors Strike finished sixth.
Also nominated was Gerry Brewster’s Brands Hatch, who won last year’s Western Run Plate at the Grand National for trainer Blythe Miller Davies.
The nominees to the 2013 Grand National are:
Alfa Beat (Ire) 2004 gr. or ro. g., Environment Friend (GB)—Belle d’Anjou (Fr), by Saint Cyrien (Fr). 2012 NSA record: 6-0-1-0, $3,050. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: William Meister. Two-time winner of the Guinness Kerry National Handicap Steeplechase at Listowel in Ireland still seeking first U.S. win. Finished second in a Pennsylvania Hunt Cup maiden race in best effort.
And the Eagle Flys. 2002 ch. g., Double Honor–Slick Mountain, by Peaks and Valleys. Owner: Mrs. William D. Class Jr. Trainer: William Meister. 2012 record: 2-1-0-0, $18,000. 2011 record: 2-0-1-0, $14,250. Won the 2012 Grand National but fell at the 17th fence of the Maryland Hunt Cup. Finished second in the 2011 Maryland Hunt Cup after a fourth in the Benjamin Murray Memorial at the Grand National meet.
Battle Op. 2000 gr. or ro. g., Ops Smile–Allepia, by Allen’s Prospect. Owner: Northwoods Stable. Trainer: Jack Fisher. 2012 record: 2-0-1-1, $15,000. 2011 record: 2-0-0-1, $2,500. Finished game second in 2012 Maryland Hunt Cup, beaten three-quarters of a length, and then third in the Willowdale Steeplechase over timber. Also finished third in 2010 Maryland Hunt Cup.
Bon Caddo. 2001 b. g., Bon Point (GB)–Tactical Info, by Tactical Advantage. Owner: Merriefield Farm. Trainer: Bruce Fenwick. 2012 record: 2-0-0-2, $10,500. 2011 record: 5-2-1-0, $73,500. Timber champion of 2011 finished third in the 2012 My Lady’s Manor and then was third in the Maryland Hunt Cup. Front-running winner of the My Lady’s Manor in first 2011 start, then won Virginia Gold Cup.
Brands Hatch. 2001 dk. b. or br. g., A.P. Indy–Watch Out, by Mr. Prospector. Owner: Gerry L. Brewster. Trainer: Blythe Miller Davies. 2012 record: 5-1-1-1, $9,950. 2011 record: 7-0-1-0, $5,100. With new owner and trainer for 2012, won the Grand National’s Western Run Plate after finishing third in the John D. Schapiro Memorial at My Lady’s Manor. Finished second in Willowdale Steeplechase and was fifth in the International Gold Cup.
Foyle. 2005 dk. b. or br. g., Yarrow Brae–Londonderry, by Perfecting. Owner: Merriefield Farm. Trainer: Bruce Fenwick. 2012 record: 3-1-1-1, $10,300. 2011 record: No starts. Started his timber career last fall and won maiden victory at the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup in November. Maiden on flat last raced at Laurel Park in February 2008.
Prospectors Strike. 1999 b. g., Smart Strike–Zuri, by Danzig. Owner: Jeremy Batoff. Trainer: Jack Fisher. 2012 record: 4-0-0-0, $3,375. 2011 record: 4-0-1-0, $2,700. Finished fourth in the 2012 John D. Schapiro Memorial at My Lady’s Manor before sixth in the Maryland Hunt Cup. Finished second in 2011 Willowdale Steeplechase. Won 2010 Benjamin Murray at Grand National meet.
Twill Do. 2000 dk. b. or br. g., Yarrow Brae–A Little Wild, by Wild Again. Owner: Lucy A. Goelet. Trainer: William Meister. 2012 record: 2-1-0-0, $46,500. 2011 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. Became a two-time Maryland Hunt Cup winner in 2012 after fourth-place finish in the Grand National. Winner of 2010 Maryland Hunt Cup lost rider in Grand National, his only 2011 start.