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Fisher eyes NSA springtime sweep

Posted: May 18, 2017 11:42 a.m.
Updated: May 19, 2017 1:00 a.m.

The Radnor Hunt Races’ $50,000 National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3) completes the spring schedule of National Steeplechase Association graded races, and champion trainer Jack Fisher will be shooting for a sweep with a triple-barreled entry on Saturday.

The National Hunt Cup will be the featured hurdle race of the 87th annual Radnor Hunt Races at W. Burling Cocks Race Course in Malvern, Pa. Radnor’s seven-race program features large fields, including three oversubscribed races with also-eligibles.

Fisher, the NSA’s leading trainer by wins for the last five years, already has established a spring record for earnings, with $585,950 in purses.

Heading his group for the National Hunt Cup is Edith Dixon’s Schoodic, winner of the Virginia Gold Cup’s David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2) on May 6. The powerful, willful homebred by Tiznow won last year’s National Hunt Cup. Kieran Norris, whose eight wins leads the 2017 NSA jockey standigs, gets the ride.

Fisher also entered Petticoats Loose Stable’s Choral Society, a Grade 1 winner in 2015, and multiple novice stakes winner Special Skills, owned by Sheila Williams and Northwoods Stable. Willie McCarthy has the mount on Choral Society, and Sean McDermott will ride Special Skills, who finished fourth in the Semmes.

The National Hunt Cup would complete the spring graded set for Maryland-based Fisher, who grew up within 20 miles of the Radnor course. In addition to Schoodic’s victory in the Semmes, the champion trainer won the Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 3) with Scorpiancer.

Irv Naylor, the NSA’s champion owner in six of the last seven years, will field a formidable team of Charminster and Jamarjo. Charminster won the 2016 Semmes and was second to Schoodic in last year’s National Hunt Cup and this year’s Semmes. Jack Doyle will ride for trainer Cyril Murphy.

Jamarjo, trained by Leslie Young, will have five-time champion jockey Paddy Young in the saddle. The Irish-bred most recently finished second in Foxfield Spring’s Daniel Van Clief Memorial optional allowance hurdle.

The Fields Stable’s Portrade, winner of last summer’s New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1), opened the current season with a close second to Scorpiancer in the Temple Gwathmey. Gus Dahl will ride.

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