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Addition of two races leads to an early call to the post for Colonial Cup

Posted: November 14, 2016 4:36 p.m.
Updated: November 15, 2016 1:00 a.m.

In order to accommodate two races that were split because of heavy entries, Saturday’s 47th running of the Marion DuPont Scott Colonial Cup steeplechase races in Camden will have an 11:30 a.m. start time.

The $150,000 Colonial Cup feature highlights a seven-race program at the Springdale Race Course. The purse for the 2 3/4-mile Colonial Cup is up $50,000 from last year, and the overall purses of $315,000 is a record for the annual fall meet

In all, 80 horses were entered for the seven races on the Camden fall classic card.

The gates to the race course will open to the general public at 9 a.m. on Saturday.

Irv Naylor’s Rawnaq, already a champion and bound for a shot at a $500,000 bonus in England next year, puts his undefeated 2016 record on the line in the feature chase.

Rawnaq has started three times this year and has won impressively each time. His purse earnings total $360,000, assuring him the National Steeplechase Association’s Lonesome Glory Champions Award as the year’s top earner. He also is a heavy favorite for the year’s Eclipse Award as North America’s champion steeplechase horse.

Trained by Cyril Murphy, the nine-year-old Irish-bred has turned back two waves of overseas challengers, first in the Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) in May and the Grand National (Gr. 1) last month. He started the year with an impressive victory in the Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3).

By winning the Calvin Houghland Iroquois, Rawnaq became eligible for the $500,000 Brown Advisory Cheltenham-Iroquois Challenge, which would go to any horse who wins the Nashville race and the Cheltenham Festival’s Ryanair World Hurdle within 12 months. Both races are at three miles, and the Ryanair World Hurdle is scheduled for Thursday, March 16. The races’ purses and the bonus together are likely to exceed $1-million.

Taking over the reins for the Colonial Cup is Sean McDermott, the year’s top jockey by purse earnings.

Murphy also will saddle Naylor’s Charminster, winner of the David Semmes Memorial at the Virginia Gold Cup in May and most recently second in the David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial at the International Gold Cup on Oct. 22. Carol-Ann Sloan will ride.

Naylor, who already has obliterated his record for NSA owner earnings with $934,700 going into the Colonial Cup, also will be represented by Jamarjo, second in Belmont Park’s Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) on Sept. 22. Jamarjo is trained by Leslie Young and will be ridden by her husband, champion jockey Paddy Young.

Trainer Elizabeth Voss will saddle The Fields Stable’s Portrade, front-running winner of Saratoga Race Course’s New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1), and Robert Kinsley’s homebred Tempt Me Alex, most recently sixth behind Rawnaq in the Grand National.

Gus Dahl will ride Portrade, who was third in the Ferguson, and Camden’s Willie McCarthy returns aboard Tempt Me Alex.

Gil Johnston’s Days of Heaven, an overseas challenger to Rawnaq who finished fifth in the Grand National, is trained by top English horseman Nicky Henderson. The French-bred will be ridden by Kieran Norris, who is the current leader in the jockey standings, one win ahead of a surging Young.

Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard will send out Parker’s Project, owned by Hudson River Farms, and Bill Pape’s Martini Brother. Both are coming back from long layoffs and finished second and third, respectively, in the Noel Laing Handicap in Virginia on Nov. 5.

Gerard Galligan rides Parker’s Project, and Darren Nagle will be aboard Martini Brother.

Completing the field are two Camden-based stakes winners, 2014 Carolina Cup Top Striker, owned by Camden’s Sue Sensor, and Flying Elvis Stable’s Diplomat, winner of the 2015 Carolina Cup feature. Trained by Camden’s Arch Kingsley Jr., Top Striker won the Ferguson Memorial impressively. No rider has been named on Top Striker.

Diplomat, winner of the 2015 edition of the Ferguson and fifth this year, is trained by Camden’s Kate Dalton and will be ridden by her husband, veteran jockey Bernie Dalton.

 

Colonial Cup info: For ticket, parking and dining options and other activities involving and coinciding with Saturday’s Colonial Cup race meeting, please call the Colonial Cup race office at 432-6513 or, log onto www.carolina-cup.org and click on the Colonial Cup portion of the Website.


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