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Tripling his fun
Byrnes gets three wins on Colonial Cup undercard
OVERWHELMING FLIES THE FINAL fence, with Sean McDermott aboard, en route to a 10-length victory in Saturdays $25,000 Sport of Kings maiden hurdle. - photo by C-I photo by Tom Didato

Much to the chagrin of many shivering fans at Saturday’s 45th running of the Marion duPont Scott International Colonial Cup Steeplechase, the weather forecasters were correct.

Throughout the week, weather reports had Saturday down for a day in which the sun would be out all day but temperatures would not climb into the 50s. At the Springdale Racecourse, the sun shined and the temperatures stayed in the 40s for all seven races.

While most eyes were focused on the $100,000 Colonial Cup feature, six other races --- including one on the flat --- were contested in the final National Steeplechase Association meet of 2014.

Here is a look at the "other" action at Springdale on Saturday:


An Overwhelming effort:

Woodslane Farm’s Overwhelming broke his maiden in his sixth start over fences with a dominating 10-length victory in the afternoon-opening $25,000 Sport of Kings Maiden Hurdle.

Owned by Sheila Williams and Andre Brewster and trained by 2014 NSA leading trainer champion Jack Fisher, the 4-year-old Hard Spun gelding gave jockey Sean McDermott his first of two wins of the day. The winner made the 2 1/8-mile trip over a dozen fences in a time of 3:59.

The Jonathan Sheppard-trained Yellow Mountain was second while Camden’s Sue Sensor’s All Knight came in third in his second start over fences for Camden-based trainer Arch Kingsley, who had Michael Mitchell in the irons.


Nothing gets past Handsome Hoyt:

Jacob Roberts piloted Nancy Reed’s Handsome Hoyt to the front at the drop of the starter’s flag and the Great Notion gelding remained there every step of the way in going from flag to finish to win the $25,000 Raymond G. Woolfe Memorial chase for 3-year-olds.

Trained by Kathy Neilson, Handsome Hoyt made the one-circuit, two-mile journey over 12 National Fences in a time of 3:45.4/5. The win was the first for Handsome Hoyt in three starts over fences.

Coming home in second was Beverly Steinman’s Perfect Union, which was the recipient of the NSA’s top 3-year-old jumper after having won $22,000 from three starts in 2014, including a win in the $25,000 3-year-old chase in Far Hills, N.J., on Oct. 18. Gerard Galligan was in the saddle for trainer Doug Fout. EMZ Firecracker, with Ross Geraghty up, was third for trainer Kevin Boniface.


Defending his title:

Straight to It, an 8-year-old Giant’s Causeway gelding, won the $20,000 Springdale timber chase for the second time in as many years.

Owned by Sheila Williams, trained by Fisher and ridden by McDermott, Straight to It came from between horses down the stretch to win the exhausting 3 ½-mile timber race by a length and a half over the Fisher-trained Drift Society, which carried Connor Hankins. Taking third in the field of seven was Brother Sy for trainer Todd Wyatt who gave a leg up to Paddy Young.

The victory was the first in seven starts this year for Straight to It whose lone 2013 win came at last fall’s Colonial Cup.


On a road to somewhere:

David Byrne, not he of The Talking Heads’ fame, scored back-to-back-to-back wins at Springdale on Saturday in taking the final two steeplechase races victories of the 2014 campaign.

The first of Byrnes’ three scores came aboard Rosbrian Farm’s Wantan in the $20,000 Hobkirk Hill starter allowance chase.

Trained by Ricky Hendriks, the 9-year-old Pure Prize gelding had a fairly easy time of things after clearing the 14th and final National Fence and galloping off to a 5 ¾-length win. The final clocking for the 2 5/16-mile chase was 4:24.

McDermott was second aboard the Fisher-conditioned En Fuego while Darren Nagle who won the Colonial Cup feature aboard Divine Fortune one race earlier, was third aboard the Neilson-trained Casual Creeper.


Let’s make it a double:

Having received a feel for the winners’ circle at the Springdale Racecourse in the fifth, Byrne was a repeat visitor as he and Hendriks, again, brought a Rosbrian Farm jumper to victory.

This time it was Byrne piloting 5-year-old Long House Saint to a win in a $20,000-added allowance hurdle sweepstakes, a late addition to the card. The Antonius gelding made the 2 1/8-mile trip in 4:00, winning by three lengths over Choral Society who had Geraghty in the saddle for trainer Cyril Murphy. Forgotten Man, who carried Galligan, was third in the final chase of the year over fences.


Getting the hat trick:

Nobody was probably more disappointed in the NSA season and the Colonial Cup coming to an end than was Byrne who made it three in a row by guiding Omega Racing Stable’s Green Lazer to victory in the Robert Witham Memorial Amateur Training Flat Race, the finale of the day and NSA season.

Trained by Leslie Young, the 5-year-old Green Lazer ran the 1 ½-mile race on the flat in a time of 2:46.1/5.

So Outspoken, with Bethany Baumgardner up, was a half-length back in second with Electro Beat and Jason Ruch third for Young.