Two’s Company, the 2016 timber champion for owner Bruton Street-US, is among nine nominees to the $30,000 Middleburg Hunt Cup, the post-and-rail feature of the 99th annual Middleburg Spring Races at Glenwood Park on Saturday, April 20.
The talent-laden list of nominees also includes last year’s Middleburg Hunt Cup winner, Super Saturday, and National Sporting Library & Museum Cup winner Le Chevalier.
Trained by Jack Fisher, Two’s Company ended his 2018 season with a victory in the Far Hills Races’ New Jersey Hunt Cup after third-place finishes in the Mason Houghland Memorial at the Iroquois Steeplechase and the National Sporting Library & Museum Cup. He had been pulled up in last year’s Middleburg Hunt Cup.
Irv Naylor’s Super Saturday ended his 2018 season with second-place finishes in two timber classics, the International Gold Cup and the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. Super Saturday is trained by Kathy Neilson, who also nominated Nancy Reed’s Handsome Hoyt, a timber maiden winner.
Michael A. Smith’s Le Chevalier never finished out of the money last year. Trained in Virginia by Julie Gomena, Le Chevalier finished second to Super Saturday in the Middleburg Hunt Cup before a second-place finish in the Virginia Gold Cup. After his victory in the National Sporting Library Cup, the Broken Vow gelding finished third in the International Gold Cup.
Ballybristol Farm’s Andi’amu proved unbeatable over mixed obstacles in two steeplethon starts last year, including Middleburg Spring’s Alfred M. Hunt, and the French-bred has been nominated for a shot at the meet’s featured timber race.
The Middleburg Hunt Cup also attracted nominations from the second- and third-place finishers in the New Jersey Hunt Cup. Sanna Neilson nominated Stewart Strawbridge’s Kings Apollo, who finished second at Far Hills and earlier in the year had won the Winterthur Bowl.
Billy Meister nominated Armata Stables’ Grand Manan, a confirmed front-runner who finished third in the New Jersey Hunt Cup before tiring and being pulled up in the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup.
Gordonsdale Farm’s homebred Canyon Road, second in the National Sporting Library and third in the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup, was nominated by trainer Christopher Kolb. Completing the nominees is Keystone Thoroughbreds’ Be Great, who most recently finished fifth in the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup for trainer Todd McKenna.
Here are the nine nominees to the 3¼-mile Middleburg Hunt Cup in alphabetical order.
Andi’amu (Fr). 2010 b. g., Walk In The Park—Sainte Parfaite, by Septieme Ciel. Owner: Ballybristol Farm. Trainer: Leslie Young. Breeder: Therese Bouche (Fr). 2018 record: 2-2-0-0, $36,000. 2017 NSA record: 6-0-1-2, $32,900. In first run over mixed obstacles, won Middleburg Spring’s 2018 Alfred M. Hunt steeplethon, then added Virginia Gold Cup’s Steeplethon Stakes. Finished second in 2017 Noel Laing Handicap after third in Far Hills’ Appleton ratings handicap. Opened 2017 with fifth in Tryon Block House Handicap, then was distant third in Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1). Came home eighth in 2017 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1).
Be Great. 2007 b. g., Gulch—Classic Ingrid, by Regal Classic. Owner: Keystone Thoroughbreds. Trainer: Todd McKenna. Breeder: Equivine Farm (Pa.) 2018 record: 2-0-0-0, $3,100. 2017 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. Finished fourth in 2018 Genesee Valley Hunt Cup, a race he won in 2015, and finished fifth in the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. In only 2017 start, fell at the 15th fence of Willowdale amateur apprentice timber race.
Canyon Road. 2009 ch. g., Service Stripe—Observe, by Patton. Owner: Gordonsdale Farm. Trainer: Christopher Kolb. Breeder: Gordonsdale Farm (W.Va.) 2018 record: 4-0-1-1, $12,450. 2017 record: 4-0-1-0, $6,600. Finished second in Virginia Fall’s 2018 National Sporting Library & Museum Cup after fourth in Shawan Downs’ Legacy Chase, then was third in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. Pulled up in 2018 Radnor Hunt Cup on soft turf.
Grand Manan. 2009 b. g., Giant’s Causeway—Manoa, by Seeking the Gold. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: William Meister. Breeders: Stuart S. Janney III and Phipps Stable (Ky.). 2018: 5-0-0-1, $6,200. 2017 record: 5-0-3-0, $28,500. Finished third in 2018 New Jersey Hunt Cup after fifth in Radnor Hunt Cup on very soft ground. Pulled up in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. Finished second in 2017 International Gold Cup and National Sporting Library and Museum Cup. Closed 2016 season with back-to-back front-running victories in the Genesee Valley Hunt Cup and International Gold Cup.
Handsome Hoyt. 2011 dk. b. or br. g., Great Notion—River Kwai, by Valley Crossing. Owner: Nancy A. Reed. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Breeder: Nancy Jane Austin Reed (Pa.) 2018 NSA record: 6-1-2-1, $17,300. 2017 NSA record: 3-0-1-1, $4,800. Won maiden timber at 2018 Virginia Fall and then was second in Steeplechase at Callaway timber allowance.
Kings Apollo (GB). 2009 b. g., King’s Theater (Ire)—Temple Dancer, by Magic Ring. Owner: Stewart Strawbridge. Trainer: Sanna Neilson. Breeders: M. Watt and Executors of Miss J. John (GB). 2018 record: 3-1-1-1, $35,500. 2017 record: 3-1-0-0, $9,750. Won 2018 Winterthur Bowl by 5 3/4 lengths, then finished third in Shawan Downs’ Brown Advisory Legacy Chase and second in the New Jersey Hunt Cup. Won a 2017 Winterthur maiden timber race after fourth in division of John Rush Streett Memorial at My Lady’s Manor.
Le Chevalier. 2009 g. or ro. g., Broken Vow—Orellana, by With Approval. Owner: Michael A. Smith. Trainer: Julie Gomena. Breeder: Haras du Mezeray (Ky.) 2018 record: 4-1-2-1, $54,900. 2017 record: 1-0-0-1, $3,000. Won 2018 National Sporting Library & Museum Cup, then was third in International Gold Cup. Finished second in Virginia Gold Cup and Middleburg Hunt Cup. Finished third in the 2017 My Lady’s Manor. Won the 2016 New Jersey Hunt Cup by 11 lengths.
Super Saturday. 2009 gr. or ro. g., Any Given Saturday—Lady Aloma, by Cozzene. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Breeder: Walton Breeders (Ky.) 2018 record: 6-1-2-1, $51,800. 2017 record: 6-0-1-1, $13,400. Finished second in 2018 International Gold Cup and Pennsylvania Hunt Cup after fifth in National Sporting Library & Museum Cup. Won 2018 Middleburg Hunt Cup, then was third in the Virginia Gold Cup and fourth in Radnor Hunt Cup.
Two’s Company (Ire). 2009 b. g., Soviet Star—Gaye Lady, by Pistolet Bleu (Ire). Owner: Bruton Street-U.S. Trainer Jack Fisher. Breeders: M. W. and Mrs. M. Doran (Ire). 2018 record: 4-1-0-2, $39,000. 2017 record: 2-0-0-0, $0. 2016 record: 6-4-2-0, $103,200. Timber champion 2016. Won 2018 New Jersey Hunt Cup. Finished third in 2018 Mason Houghland Memorial and National Sporting Library & Museum Cup. Capped 2016 championship season with wins in Middleburg Hunt Cup, Legacy Chase at Shawan Downs and Virginia Fall’s National Sporting Library & Museum Cup.