Jonathan Sheppard had quite a day at the Atlanta Steeplechase in Kingston, Ga., on April 22, winning three of the four races and finishing second in the fourth.
Two of Sheppard’s winners, Admiring Glance and Divined, were bred by and are owned by Sheppard, while the third winner, Martini Brother, is owned by William Pape.
Admiring Glance, a 6-year-old by Flatter out of Seducing, by Citidancer, was an allowance winner on the flat and ran third in her first race over fences at Camden on April 1.
Ridden by Daren Nagle at Atlanta, Admiring Glance won the $20,000 Filly and Mare Maiden Hurdle by 3 ¼ lengths over the Jack Fisher-trained Amnicalola.
Divined, a 7-year-old by Rimrod out of Tepee Tot, by Waquoit, won the Training Flat race by a head over Ocean Ready, trained by Cyril Murphy.
“I bought Martini Brother four years ago for Bill Pape,” said Sheppard. “And it’s interesting to note that he won his first race for us, a maiden race, here at Atlanta in 2013.”
That same year, Martini Brother won the Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes at Saratoga, and in 2015 he was second in the A.P. Smithwick at Saratoga. He’s been in the money 10 times from 20 starts over fences.
Sheppard said he’d bought Martini Brother after he’d been retrained as a jumper.
“He wouldn’t train on the flat, and Brian Murphy got him,” said Sheppard. “He reschooled him. He hunted him and then ran him over fences once before we got him.”
This was Martini Brother’s first start over fences this year and, ridden by Nagle, he won the $35,000 George Cup, allowance optional claiming hurdle race by ¾ length over Selection Sunday, trained by Fisher.
Also on April 22, the Sheppard-trained Able Archer won the $20,000 Maiden Claiming Hurdle at Middleburg Spring Races in Middleburg, Va.
Able Archer is owned by Kevin Galbraith’s KMSN Stable,
“Kevin now has three horses running over fences,” said Sheppard.
RICKY HENDRIKS saddled two winners for his mother, Wendy Hendriks, at the Tryon Block House Races in Columbus, N.C., on April 15.
Surprising Soul, ridden by Ross Geraghty, won for the second time this year, taking the $35,000 allowance hurdle by 2 ½ lengths over Mercoeur, trained by Leslie Young.
Any Given Royal won the $25,000 Allowance Flat race by a neck over Mutasaawy, trained by Neil Morris.
“I was there,” said Wendy. “It’s a nice place. It’s a right-handed course, but Surprising Soul handled it fine. It’s more of a rolling course.”
Any Give Royal got off to a good start,” said Wendy. “Ross was the one who won it. He took all the advantages he could.”
Hendriks saddled his own Morning Star Farm’s Needle in the Hay to win the $15,000 Maiden Claiming race at Foxfield Spring Races in Charlotttesville, Va., on April 29.
I bought Needle in the Hay sight unseen from Dan Conway,” said Hendriks. “He had run a bunch of times on the flat.”
“He was a nice third at Warrenton Point-to-Point, then he ran badly at Aiken,” said Hendriks. “I think he must have been sick that day.”
“At Foxfield, Ross decided to ride him a different way, to keep him back,” said Hendriks. “He gave him a beautiful ride.”
Sheppard saddled Pape’s Giza, ridden by Kieran Norris to win the $25,000 Maiden Hurdle at Foxfield.
Class Cherokee, owned by Mrs. George Ohrstrom, trained by Richard Valentine and ridden by Gustav Dahl, won the $15,000 Maiden Timber, Pure Deal, owned by Beverly Steinman, trained by Doug Fout and ridden by Geraghty, won the $20,000 F & M Maiden Hurdle, and Orchestra Leader, owned by Bruce Smart, trained by Jimmy Day and ridden by Keri Brion, won the $30,000 Allowance Optional Claiming Hurdle.
BALANCE THE BUDGET, owned by Stonelea Stables LLC, trained by Julie Gomena and ridden by Mark Watts won the featured $40,000 Block House Hurdle handicap at Tryon.
Balistes, owned by Sara Collette, trained by Neil Morris and ridden by Norris, won the $20,000 Maiden Claiming Hurdle, and My Afleet, owned by Merriebelle Stables LLC, trained by Mark Beecher and ridden by Norris, won the $30,000 Sport of Kings Novice Hurdle to complete the day at Tryon.
At Middleburg, Scorpiancer (Ire), owned by Bruton Street-US, trained by Fisher and ridden by Sean McDermott, won the featured $50,000 Temple Gwathmey.
Fisher also saddled Woodslane Farm’s Wild Dynaformer to win the $30,000 Sport of Kings Maiden Hurdle under Brendan Crowley.
Osmoz, owned by Naylor, trained by Murphy and ridden by Dahl, won the $30,000 Handicap Hurdle, and Cornhusker, owned by Armata Stables, trained by Alicia Murphy and ridden by Norris, won the Timber Stakes.
The Grand National Steeplechase in Butler, Md., was also on April 22, and Senior Senator, owned by Irvin Crawford, trained by Joe Davies and ridden by Eric Poretz, won the $30,000 Amateur Timber Stakes by 1 ½ lengths over Old timer, owned by Kinross Farm, trained by Richard Valentine and ridden by McLane Hendriks.
Beecher rode Class Brahms, owned by Rosbrian Farm and trained by Tara Elmore, to victory in the $20,000 Amateur Allowance timber, and Annie Yeager rode Mystic Strike, owned by Upland Partners and trained by Todd McKenna, to win the $15,000 Amateur Apprentice Timber.
At the Queens Cup Steeplechase in Mineral Springs, N.C., on April 29, Fisher saddled two winners, DASH Stable’s Ice It, ridden by McDermott, in the featured $75,000 Sport of Kings Novice Hurdle Stakes, and Bruton Street-US; Moscato, ridden by McDermott in the $30,000 Sport of Kings Maiden Hurdle.
Sarah Joyce (Ire), owned by The Fields Stable, trained by Elizabeth Voss and ridden by Jack Doyle, won the $25,000 Handicap Hurdle, and Henry San (Ire), owned by Naylor, trained by Murphy and ridden by Nagle, won the $20,000 Allowance Timber.
IN EUROPE, Marvel Hero, a son of Pin Oak Lane's Lord Shanakill (Speightstown), lowered a 12-year course record for the 1,800m distance with his impressive four and a half length win of the HK$2,500,000 Class 1 Happy Valley Vase Handicap in 1.48.05.
This is the second exceptional son produced by Lord Shanakill.
G1 winner My Dream Boat (Ire) won the 2016 Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot, defeating the world's number one rated racehorse, A Shin Hikari (Jpn), and Breeders' Cup Turf winner, Found (Ire).
He now has winnings approaching $1,000,000.
According to the Bloodhorse, in the Northern hemisphere in 2016, Lord Shanakill had 31 winners from 72 starters with My Dream Boat being his chief earner with $792,890.