America’s richest steeplechase race, the $300,000 Grand National (Gr. 1) on Saturday, Oct. 17, took on a decided international flavor when a phalanx of overseas-based horses was nominated to the featured race of the 95th annual Far Hills Races in New Jersey.
The 2 5/8-mile Grand National attracted 13 nominees, and five of them made their most recent starts overseas. Their trainers include top English horsemen Nicky Henderson and Gordon Elliott, and champion Irish trainer Willie Mullins.
Arrayed against the invasion will be the defending Eclipse Award winner, Demonstrative, and fellow Grade 1 winner Mr. Hot Stuff. Jacqueline Ohrstrom’s Demonstrative had two consecutive lackluster efforts at Saratoga Race Course after winning the Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) on May 9. Gil Johnston’s Mr. Hot Stuff finished second in that Nashville race.
One of the leading contenders from the overseas contingent is Willie and Mark Mckay’s Eshtiaal, a Kentucky-bred who reeled off three victories over hurdles last spring and ran well in long-distance flat races over the summer for trainer Elliot who has also nominated 2013 Carolina Cup winner Alajmal into the field.
Atlantic Equine’s Hunt Ball returns to Far Hills riding a three-race winning streak in England. Now trained by Henderson, Hunt Ball was unplaced in the 2013 Grand National.
Leading American owner Irv Naylor nominated five contenders to the Grand National, a race he won in 2011 with eventual Eclipse Award champion Black Jack Blues. His 2015 team, all trained by Cyril Murphy, includes Grade 3 winner Able Deputy, multiple Grade 3 winner Decoy Daddy, and recently imported Rawnaq.
Colonial Cup tickets on sale: Invitations for the 46th annual Marion duPont Scott International Colonial Cup Steeplechase Races will be run over the Springdale Race Course in Camden on Saturday, Nov. 21 are now on sale.
The first race will be meet the starter’s flag at 12:30 p.m. Races will be run in 35-minute intervals. The gates to the course will swing open to the general public at 9 a.m.
This year, Colonial Cup race day has been dubbed “Ladies Day at the Races” to honor the women who have contributed to the sport of steeplechasing and to the city of Camden. The race organizers will also recognize the important work of Bright Pink, a women’s health care group focused on the prevention and treatment of breast and ovarian cancers.
The day will also include a brief celebration honoring military veterans and active duty servicemen and women.
The afternoon of racing features the $100,000 Colonial Cup (Gr. I) which will be the fourth race of the day and brings the curtain down on the 2014 National Steeplechase Association season and will likely be the deciding race in the chase for American steeplechasing’s Eclipse Award.
Here is the information on all ticket, parking and dining options for the Colonial Cup:
General admission tickets: $20 until Nov. 7 and $30 after that date as well as at the gates on race day. There will be a 20 percent discount for ladies tickets purchased in advance at the Colonial Cup office located inside the National Steeplechase Museum. Ladies’ tickets purchased on race day will be $26.
(Note: Children under the age of 12 will be admitted free, if accompanied by an adult ticket holder.)
General admission parking: $10, payable only at the gates on race day
Infield parking: $135 per parking space, which includes two general admission race tickets
Restricted area parking (for oversized vehicles): $215, which includes a parking space and two tickets
Front row paddock side parking: $265, which includes two general admission race tickets
Grandstand Seat: $80, which includes one seat in the grandstand and boxholder parking
Grandstand box: $500, includes six reserved seats in the grandstand and boxholder parking
Post and Paddock Tent: $50 per person. Post and Paddock guests will welcome the return of Southern Way Catering and their Panini stations, choice salads, pasta, roast beef, rolls, fruits, cheese and desserts. Lunch will be served from 11 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Guests will receive two drink tickets with their package. The tent will be open with a ticketed bard and light snacks for the remainder of the afternoon.
Audi of Columbia Turf Club: $150 per person. This is for guests who desire a club-like setting and are interested in paying a premium for the privilege, in addition to their grandstand seat and/or front row tailgate parking space. Turf Club guests have access to VIP parking, private executive washrooms, an open bar, elegant buffet luncheon presented by Aberdeen Catery and private tables, which may be reserved in advance through the race office.
Tickets and parking spaces may be purchased in person at the race office, located inside the National Steeplechase Museum on Knights Hill Rd. in Camden, or by calling 432-6513.
For complete race-day information, please visit the Colonial Cup website which is located at www.carolina-cup.org.