After suffering a severe setback caused by tying up, Irvin Naylor’s Ebanour bounced back quicker than his trainer Cyril Murphy had ever hoped for to win the $100,000 Virginia Gold Cup Timber Stakes under Gustav Dahl at Great Meadow, Va., on May 6.
“We were held up a little this spring,” said Murphy. “He tied up the second week of March, after that freak snow storm. He spent five days at New Bolton. But he bounced back faster than we’d hoped, and he’s fine now.”
“The original plan had been to run him in the flat race at Green Spring Valley and then run him at the Manor,” said Murphy.
Ebanour had won the My Lady’s Manor race last year en route to winning the Gold Cup.
“The race went the way we’d hoped,” said Murphy of the Gold Cup. “His running style is very straight forward. He’s an unbelievable horse with the way he runs. He’s just a very, very good horse.”
Ebanour beat Bruton Street-US’ Lemony Bay, trained by Jack Fisher and ridden by Sean McDermott, by 1 ½ lengths with Holston Hall’s Hot Rize, trained by Russell Haynes and ridden by Gerard Galligan, coming in third.
It poured rain all day, and the course was very, very deep, with a number of horses pulling up before the finish because of the terrible going.
Murphy also trains Charminster (Ire), who won the co-featured $75,000 David Semmes Memorial Hurdle last year and was one of the favorites in this year’s race, but Charminster, leading over the last fence, was caught in the stretch by Edith Dixon’s Schoodic, trained by Fisher and ridden by Paddy Young.
Schoodic went on to win by 2 lengths.
Mark Beecher saddled Jeffrey S. Amling’s My Afleet, ridden by Kieran Norris, to win the $45,000 Allowance Hurdle by 12 ¾ lengths over Robert Kinsley’s Unsinkable (Ire), trained by Elizabeth Voss and ridden by Jack Doyle.
My Afleet had been a stakes winner on the flat, most recently finishing second in the John’s Call Stakes at Saratoga last August.
His big win in the deep going was even more impressive as he had just won his first start over fences in a maiden race at Tryon on hard going.
Gusto at Dawn, owned, trained and ridden by Benjamin Swopes, won the $40,000 Steeplethon Timber States by 6 ¼ lengths over Mrs. S.K. Johnson’s Dye Fore, trained by Fisher and ridden by Sean McDermott.
Dapper Dan, owned by Donna Rogers, trained by Neil Morris and ridden by Nagle, won the $40,000 Sport of Kings Maiden Hurdle.
Merriebell Stable LLC owed both the two top horses in the $50,000 Secretariat Flat Stakes, with Renown (GB), trained by Voss and ridden by Doyle winning by 3 ¼ lengths over Mr, Singh, also trained by Voss and ridden by Dahl.
Swellelegant, owned by Thomas Hulfish, trained by Morris and ridden by Galligan, won the $40,000 Allowance flat race, and Hooping, owned by David Kachel, trained by Ricky Hendriks and ridden by Ross Geraghty, won the $35,000 Virginia Bred or Sired flat race.