Winners of the Virginia Gold Cup, Radnor Hunt Cup, and the recent National Sporting Library Chronicle Cup top nine entries for a highly competitive 74th edition of the $50,000 International Gold Cup, the featured race of the 28th annual International Gold Cup meet on Saturday, Oct. 15. First post time is 1:30 p.m. at Great Meadow Race Course in The Plains, Va., for the six-race program, which drew crowded fields.
Merriefield Farm’s Bon Caddo will be attempting to lock up a National Steeplechase Association timber championship in the 3 1/2-mile International Gold Cup. Trained by Dawn Williams, the ten-year-old Bon Point gelding scored a sparkling 13-length victory in the Virginia Gold Cup on May 7 over the Great Meadow course, but then was a disappointing sixth in the Radnor Hunt Cup two weeks later in Malvern, Pa. Bon Caddo, who leads the annual timber-racing standings with $67,200 in purse earnings, will be ridden by Jody Petty.
Pink Ribbon Racing’s Won Wild Bird scored an upset in the Radnor Hunt Cup after falling in the Maryland Hunt Cup and refusing to start in the Virginia Gold Cup’s Steeplethon. Trainer Regina Welsh named Carl Rafter to ride the nine-year-old Wild Wonder gelding, who is third in the timber point standings with $33,000.
Alfred C. Griffin Jr.’s Aero marked himself as a horse to watch with a dynamic six-length victory in the National Sporting Library Chronicle Cup at the Virginia Fall Races in Middleburg on Oct. 1 under Jeff Murphy. Trained by Doug Fout, the six-year-old Northern Spur gelding had won his maiden timber victory at the Willowbrook Steeplechase in Kennett Square, Pa., on May 15. Middleburg-based Fout also entered Magalen O. Bryant’s homebred G’Day G’Day, who finished second in the Chronicle Cup and will again be ridden by leading jockey Paddy Young.
Also in the International Gold Cup field is the defending winner, He’s a Conniver, owned by Ernie Oare’s EMO Stable. The nine-year-old Crafty Friend gelding, looking for his first victory since his 2010 win at Great Meadow, most recently finished third to Aero in the Chronicle Cup. Trainer Dale Jackson named Bernie Dalton to ride.
Also entering the International Gold Cup from the Chronicle Cup are Manown Kisor Jr.’s Gather No Moss and Robert A. Kinsley’s Incomplete, who finished fifth and sixth, respectively.