A well-balanced field of jump racing’s future stars will line up Saturday for the $75,000 Queen’s Cup MPC ’Chase, the featured race of the 22nd annual Queen’s Cup Steeplechase on Saturday, April 29.
First post time is 1:30 p.m. for the five-race program at Brooklandwood Race Course outside Charlotte, N.C.
Mark W. Buyck Jr.’s Show Court comes into the 2 3/8-mile Queen’s Cup from a seven-length victory in the $75,000 Carolina Cup, which like the Queen’s Cup is limited to novices, or horses in their first seasons of racing over fences.
A maiden winner over fences in Ireland in 2015, Show Court showed little in his U.S. debut for trainer Arch Kingsley Jr. last fall, when he finished unplaced in a Virginia flat race and a ratings handicap at the Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup meet in Camden, S.C.
But the eight-year-old learned the American game at Kingsley’s Camden base over the winter and pulled away smartly to an impressive win in the Carolina Cup. English jockey Michael Mitchell has a return call on Show Court.
Also coming out of the Carolina Cup are two top novice competitors who were unplaced in the April 1 race. DASH Stable’s Ice It finished sixth, and Gil Johnston’s Miguel Grau was seventh. Sean McDermott has the call on Ice It for champion trainer Jack Fisher, and trainer Richard Valentine named Shane Crimin aboard Miguel Grau.
Trainer Jimmy Day will saddle Michael A. Smith’s Irish-bred Cul Baire, who defeated more experienced steeplechase horses in last fall’s Noel Laing Handicap at the Montpelier Hunt Races in Virginia. Jack Doyle has the call.
Completing the field is Stephen E. Johnson’s Strongbox, a maiden winner at last November’s Colonial Cup meet. Bernie Dalton will ride for his wife, trainer Kate Dalton.
Here is the field for the $75,000 Queen’s Cup MPC ’Chase in post-position order. The horses’ National Steeplechase Association ratings are in parentheses at the end of their profiles.
Ice It. 2012 gr. or ro. g., Tapit—Spice Island, by Tabasco Cat. Owner: DASH Stable. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sean McDermott. Breeder: Qatar Bloodstock (Ky.) 2017 record: 1-0-0-0, $2,250. 2016 record: 5-1-3-0, $68,250. 2015 record: 3-1-0-0, $18,600. Opened 2017 with sixth in Carolina Cup. Won 2016 Georgia Cup optional allowance hurdle impressively, then second in Marcellus Frost Novice Stakes at Iroquois Steeplechase. Finished sixth in Belmont’s William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes before seconds in Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle and Aflac Supreme Hurdle. Won Far Hills’ Gladstone Hurdle to lock up 2015 three-year-old championship. (126)
Miguel Grau. 2010 b. g., City Zip—Zuri Ridge, by Cox’s Ridge. Owner: Gil Johnston. Trainer: Richard Valentine. Jockey: Shane Crimin. Breeder: Sea Horse Breeders (Ky.) 2017 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2016 record: 6-1-1-2, $50,850. 2015 record: 6-1-1-1, $34,200. Opened 2017 with seventh in Carolina Cup. Finished second in Belmont’s 2016 William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes, then was third in Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle. Won Suffolk Downs Ratings Handicap by 9 3/4 lengths, then finished fifth in Saratoga overnight handicap. Finished fourth in 2016 Georgia Cup optional allowance hurdle, then third in Virginia Gold Cup allowance hurdle. (121)
Show Court (Ire). 2009 b. g., Vinnie Roe—Sparking Gem, by Revoque. Owner: Mark W. Buyck Jr. Trainer: Arch Kingsley Jr. Jockey: Michael Mitchell. Breeder: Grange Stud (Ire). 2017 record: 1-1-0-0, $45,000. 2016 NSA record: 1-0-0-0, $0. Won 2017 Carolina Cup by seven lengths. Finished seventh in Colonial Cup ratings handicap after debut 10th in International Gold Cup flat race. Won maiden over hurdles in Ireland in late 2015. (123)
Strongbox. 2012 b. g., Offlee Wild—Wild Goose Chase, by Dynaformer. Owner: Stephen E. Johnson. Trainer: Kate Dalton. Jockey: Bernie Dalton. Breeder: Stephen E. Johnson (Ky.). 2016 NSA record: 4-1-0-0, $21,000. Won 2016 Colonial Cup maiden hurdle, his only career win, after fifth-place finishes at Shawan Downs and Far Hills. Sharpened for 2017 debut with third in Carolina Cup training flat race. (116)
Cul Baire (Ire). 2008 ch. g., King’s Best—Voronova, by Sadler’s Wells. Owner: Michael Smith. Trainer: Jimmy Day. Jockey: Jack Doyle. Breeder: D.H.W. Dobson (Ire). 2016 NSA record: 2-1-0-0, $22,800. Won 2016 Noel Laing Handicap after fourth in International Gold Cup allowance hurdle, his first jumps start in more than a year. Scored maiden hurdle victory at Fair Hill in May 2015. (124).