Radnor Wraps up Season
BY TOD MARKS
After 15 race meets and 75 races across seven states, the curtain closes on the National Steeplechase Association Spring season on Saturday with the 91st running of the Radnor Hunt Races in the picturesque Brandywine Valley of Chester County, Pa. But rather than the end of Spring, it’ll feel more like the middle of Summer with temperatures expected to hit the 90s.
The five-race card, worth a collective $95,000 has drawn 46 entries (with a handful of also eligibles waiting in the wings) looking for a final opportunity to pick up purse money before the summer season kicks off at the flat tracks Colonial Downs (July 11) and Saratoga (July 20).
The lineup includes the $25,000 Thompson Memorial maiden hurdle, $10,000 Milfern Cup maiden claiming hurdle, and $10,000 Henry Collins maiden starter allowance, all at 2 ⅛ miles; the $20,000 Radnor Hunt Cup timber allowance at 3 ¼ miles; and the featured $30,000 National Hunt Cup handicap at 2 ⅜ miles for horses rated at 120 or less.
A full field of 11 is expected to face the starter in the National Hunt Cup. Both CFC Stable’s Spring Heeled Jim and Buttonwood Farm’s Baltimore Kid take a big class jump following maiden hurdle wins in their recent career debuts at the Queen’s Cup and Virginia Gold Cup races, respectively. Irv Naylor’s Family Tree, a seven-year-old British-bred son of Galileo coming off a 13-month layoff, was second in the 2021 Queen’s Cup and 2020 Jonathan Kiser, both novice stakes, and has been competitive at this level. Petticoats Loose Farm’s Gaye Breeze began the season with a lower-level handicap score at Aiken, then just missed in an optional claiming allowance at the Queen’s Cup. Clarke Ohrstrom’s Mr. Bridger scored in a 110 handicap at the Foxfield Races in late April after a year layoff.
Leipers Fork Steeplechasers’ Court Ruler has put in two strong efforts this spring, defeating a strong field in a 115 handicap at the Carolina Cup Races, and finishing second, beaten a head, in a race at this level at Foxfield. The Fields Stable’s Circus is looking for his first top-three finish since breaking his hurdle maiden at Shawan Downs last September. After three straight appearances in novice stakes – finishing second and third in two of them – Tom Rice and Van Cushny’s Booby Trap, who captured an allowance race at Saratoga before that, returns to action for the first time since November. Meadow Run Farm’s Glencorrib Sky, a 2021 maiden winner at Colonial Downs, tuned up for this race with a win in a training-flat event at Winterthur two weeks ago. Gill Johnston’s State of Affair, broke his maiden at the International Gold Cup Races last fall, and finished second in a non-winners-of-two allowance to runaway victor Howyabud at the Virginia Gold Cup Races earlier this month. William Russell’s always-tough Animal Kingston, a six-time winner, finished second twice this season to up-and-comer Boulette.
In the Radnor Hunt Cup, to be run under allowance conditions, five familiar foes will go postward in the final timber event until the fall. Last year’s timber champion, Leipers Fork Steeplechasers’ Tomgarrow captured the My Lady’s Manor Stakes to start the year, but faded badly in the longer Virginia Gold Cup last month over a deep and tiring rain-soaked course. Sheila Williams and Northwoods Stable’s multiple stakes winner Storm Team and Four Virginia Gents’ First Friday, who boasts a maiden victory over Monbeg Stream – who took last week’s Mason Houghland Memorial at Iroquois – were pulled up in the Virginia Gold Cup. Charlie Fenwick’s Royal Ruse is looking for his first victory of 2022, and finished a length behind Mercoeur in a two-horse allowance race at Winterthur. Bogey’s Image, who races for Daniel Colhoun III, Achsah O’Donovan, and Harvey Goolsby, gave talented hurdler Historic Heart a tough fight in the Harry Harris Stakes at Far Hills last year, and finished third in his timber debut, at the Grand National Races in April.
For all the entries, click HERE.
If you are not attending the races in person, be sure to sign up to watch the live stream via the NSA’s website. The live stream is sponsored by Brown Advisory, Charleston’s Post & Courier, and the Virginia Equine Alliance.