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Ricky Hendriks wins with Optimus Prime, moves into first in both Trainer, Races and Money Won (2)

THE PLAINS, Va.--Ricky Hendriks saddled Optimus Prime to win the $75,000, G2 David L "Zeke" Ferguson Memorial Stakes at the International Gold Cup on Oct. 27, and that, combined with two wins on the same day at Aiken moved Hendriks into a two race lead in his battle with Jack Fisher for the Trainer, Races Won title.

Ricky Hendriks Eve Ledyard smile togetherRicky Hendriks and Eve Ledyard enjoyed a good afternoonHendriks also moved into the lead in Trainer, Money Won with $894,150 to Fishers $878,350.

Fisher has enjoyed winning both titles for a number of years and builds his stable up to winning the bigger races in the fall, but Hendriks is giving him a serious battle this year, and the title has been swapping back and forth with each weekend.

Owned by George Mahoney's Rosbrian Farm and ridden by Ross Geraghty, Optimus Prime won easily by 18 1/4 lengths over Irvin Naylor's Sempre Medici, trained by Cyril Murphy and ridden by Darren Nagle.

"Optimus Prime has another gear," said Hendriks. "He's got six gears. Other horses have five gears, and he's got six. He's the number one horse in the barn."

Hendriks has a number of  top steeplechase horses, including Zanjebeel, who won two G1 stakes this year, Jury Duty, who just won the G1 Grand National at Far Hills and his mother's Surprising Soul, so to say Optimus Prime is the best horse in his barn is high praise indeed.

"We'll probably put Optimus Prime away for the winter and bring him back next year, aiming for the A.P. Smithwick at Saratoga," said Hendriks.

"This horse is so special," said Mahoney. "Words can't describe how I feel about him. This horse is dear to my heart. You saw him in full action today."

"He was going so easy," said Geraghty. "At Saratoga this summer I told Ricky that this is the best horse I've ever sat on. It's always special winning a graded stakes, but after the last fence, he was going so easy."


FISHER also saddled a winner at the Gold Cup but he didn't have any starters at Aiken, so fell behind Hendriks in the Trainers races.

Doc Cebu, now owned by Charles Fenwick Jr., Michael Hankin, and Charles Noell and ridden by Hadden Frost, who brings his show jumpers over from England to compete at shows when he's scheduled to ride Doc Cebu, won the $75,000 International Gold Cup Timber Stakes.

Doc Cebu and Le Chevalier, owned by Michael A. Smith, trained by Julie Gomena and ridden by Jack Doyle, dueled for the lead throughout the 3 1/2 mile race, but Doc Cebu pulled away after the last fence to win easily by 5 1/4 lengths, with Super Saturday, owned by Naylor, trained by Kathy Neilson and ridden by Gerard Galligan passing Le Chevalier in the stretch to take second.

This was Doc Cebu's second win in a row in this race.

"Jack gave me a hard race," said Frost. "He gave me plenty of concern. I thought the race was Doc Cebu's after the last fence. It was tough going, but he handles this going well. I'm going to ride show jumpers now. It's a pleasure to ride this horse."

Doc Cebu was a $4,500 claimer on the flat, but all that changed when he started over fences, and he was Timber Champion last year.

"This is actually the third time he's been on these grounds," said Fenwick. "He came here to be sold in 2016, but no one wanted him."

"This was his best race," said Fenwick. "He's a tough horse."

"Doc Cebu doesn't have the Timber Championship sewed up yet," said Fisher. "Joe Davies has Senior Senator (this year's Grand National and Maryland Hunt Cup winner) entered in the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup."

So the Hunt Cup will decide the championship, as Doc Cebu is also entered.

Elucidation, owned by Naylor, trained by Murphy and ridden by Nagle, won the $45,000 Allowance Hurdle over Go Get the Basil, owned by Eve Ledyard, trained by Hendriks and ridden by Willie McCarthy.

Katnap, owned by Wits Ed Stable, trained by William Dowling and ridden by Nagle, won the $40,000 Steeplethon over Able Archer, owned by KMSN Stale, trained by Jonathan Sheppard and ridden by Mikey Mitchell, while Renown, owned by Merriebelle Stable LLC, trained by Elizabeth Voss and ridden by Jack Doyle, won the $40,000 Sport of Kings Maiden Hurdle over Dynaformmersreque, owned by Noble Stable, trained by Fisher and ridden by Sean McDermott


AT AIKEN, Eve Ledyard saddled Diplodocus for trainer Hendriks and owner Morning Star Farm to win the $30,000 Sport of Kings Maiden Hurdle, and later in the afternoon she also saddled Rosbrian Farm's Barhanpour (Fr) for trainer Hendriks, both horse ridden by T. Garner, to win the $20,000 Conditoned Claiming Hurdle.

Av a Word, owned by naylor, trained by Murphy and ridden by G. Watters, won the Maiden Claiming Hurdle, and Our Frosty, owned by Virginia Lazenby Racing Stable LLC, trained by Kate Dalton and ridden by Bernie Dalton, won the Filly & Mare Maiden Hurdle.

Bernie Houghton saddled Crabcakes to win the Maryland Million Distaff, and Michael Matz saddled Winter Union to win and Tequilita to place second (2)

LAUREL, Md.--Bernie Houghton saddled Morgan's Ford Farm's Crabcakes, ridden by Forest Boyce, to win the $100,000 Maryland Million Distaff Handicap by  1 1/2 lengths on Oct. 20.

Crabcakes was bred by the late Binnie Houghton's Buckingham Farm

"The race was 7 furlongs," said Houghton. "That's not really her distance. Her distance is six furlongs. I gave her a couple of extra things to get her ready, and I had her ready."

"Normally, six furlongs is her distance, so I gave her a couple of longer, slower works," said Houghton. "She has natural speed."

"She won this race last year, too," said Houghton. "There are two more races at Laurel for her, one just before Thanksgiving and one just before Christmas. We'll keep her here at Laurel. She likes this track."

"Probably after that, we'll turn her out," said Houghton, adding that he didn't know whether the 4-year-old would run again next year. "Right now, she's doing good, and the owners are enjoying it."

Crabcakes has now won nine races, finished second four times and third once from 15 starts.


MICHAEL MATZ  had a win in an Allowance and a second in a Stakes with a pair of horses by Union Rags, the horse he trained to win the G1 Belmont Stakes.

On Oct. 17, Matz saddle Augustin Stable's Winter Union to win a $90,000 Allowance race at  1 1/4 miles at Belmont by a nose.

Winter Union, ridden by Javier Castellano, was far back in the seven horse field and closed relentlessly for the win.

On Oct. 28, Matz saddled his wife D.D's homebred Tequilita to finish second to Sower in the $100,000, 7 furlong Pumpkin Pie Stakes at Belmont.

Tequilita prompted Sower two to three wide but proved no match for the winner while finishing nicely ahead of the rest of the competition.



Scott Stewart wins $50,000 Hunter Classic at The National H.S. (2)

LEXINGTON, Ky.--Scott Stewart of Fleminton, N.J.,rode Lucador to win The National Horse Show's new competition on Friday evening, Nov. 2, the $50,000 National Horse Show Hunter Classic.

hunter classicHunter Classic winner Scott Stewart. Left, Jennifer Burger, right Mason PhelpsHis top score also earned him a one-year lease of an Audi from Audi of Lexington as well as the lion’s share of the Leading Professional Hunter Rider Bonus.

“I think it’s great and would like to thank Jennifer Burger, Mason Phelps and everybody involved," said Stewart. "It was really exciting, and I think to end the indoor circuit with such a great class has never been done before. I think it was something to look forward to and hopefully we will keep doing it in the future.”


STEWART AND Lucadorcontinued their winning ways as Stewart, of River’s Edge Farm, won the coveted Leading Hunter Rider Award for the 12th time in his career on Wednesday at the National Horse Show, while Lucador, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, earned his fourth career and second consecutive Grand Champion Professional Hunter title.

Horse-and-rider combinations awarded championships or reserve championships in their respective hunter divisions earlier in the week were eligible to compete in Friday’s $50,000 National Horse Show Hunter Classic, with participants competing at the respective height (3’6”, 3’9” or 4’) of the section from which they qualified.

The class, which counted towards Horse of the Year points, consisted of two rounds, with the top 12 returning for a second round from low to high score within their respective heights of 3’6” and 3’9”, with no 4’ entries earning a spot in the second phase.

The final average score from round one was added to the final average score from round two to determine the overall total final score and winner.

Two panels of judges consisting of James Clapperton, Daniel Robertshaw, Walter T. Kees and Chance Arakelian, saw 32 compete over Friday’s first round course, designed by Bobby Murphy, which was composed of a variety of natural elements.

Tracy Fenney and MTM Farm’s MTM Outbid led the way after the first round with a score of 89, but Stewart followed close behind with the 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding and a score of 87.25.


RETURNING for the second round, the top 12 combinations were tested once more in the handy phase of competition.

An unfortunate bobble in round two caused Fenney to slip down into 10th place in the final standings, which left the top spot open for Stewart as the final entry in the class.

Stewart stayed consistent and impressed the judges with another solid performance to finish round two with a score of 87.5 for a total combined score of 174.75.

Finishing behind Stewart and taking home reserve honors was Kentucky native Havens Schatt, from Georgetown, Ky., and Diatendro, owned by Kelley Corrigan.

Schatt finished the first round in fourth place with a score of 85 and received a score of 86.5 in round two for a total score of 171.50.

Rounding out the top three was Amanda Steege of Ocala, Fla., and Zara, owned by Frances Moppett, who were awarded scores of 86 and 84.5 for a cumulative tally of 170.5.

Steege and Stewart were the only two entries to qualify two mounts in the handy round.

Stewart also rode Dr. Parker’s Private Life to an 11th place finish, while Steege piloted Cheryl Olsten’s Lafitte De Muze to seventh place.

“I was excited to have two horses, and they are horses I know really well, so I was pretty confident coming in," said Stewart. "I was really happy with my first rounds, and then I had a little mistake in the second round with my first horse. I’m not really sure what happened actually, so that sort of shook me up a little bit. Lucador is actually not my first choice for this class because he’s not the best at handies; he gets a little playful usually. He held it together tonight. He tried a couple times, but we got it done.”

Beezie Madden wins $250,000 World Cup qualifier at The National H.S., wins Leading Rider award (2)

LEXINGTON, Ky.--Beezie Madden on Abigail Wexner’s Chic Hin D Hyrencourt won the $250,000 FEI Jumping World Cup CSI4* at the National Horse Show on Nov. 3.

Beezie Maddenon ChicBeezie Madden on ChicWith that win, Madden also was Leading Open Jumper rider and won an Audi, courtesy of Audi of Lexington.

Eight countries from four continents were represented in the starting field of 35 in the World Cup, including the four gold medal-winning members of the U.S. Jumping Team from the World Equestrian Games: McLain Ward, Laura Kraut, Devin Ryan and Adrienne Sternlicht.

Only six, Lucy Davis, Kent Farrington, Kraut, Madden, Amanda Derbyshire of Great Britain and Molly Ashe Cawley,went clean in the first round within the tight 74-second time allowed to qualify for the jump-off, and four had one time fault.


THE FIRST two back in the ring, Davis and Farrington both had four faults, opening the door for Kraut and St. Bride’s Farm Confu, who navigated the first double clear of the evening in 38.10 seconds.

Not to be outdone, Madden and the 10-year-old grey gelding systematically sliced across the 8-fence track at a blazing clip, stopping the clock in 36.57 seconds to take over the lead with only two left to challenge them.

Derbyshire and Gochman Sport Horse, LLC’s Luibanta BH,had two rails down,and Ashe Cawley and Louisburg Farm’s Cat Ballou were clean but just tenths of a second too slow, tripping the timers in 36.77 seconds to settle for second place, with Kraut and Confu rounding out the all-female podium as t

“We took him to some shows and started in the 1.35m and 1.40m classes, and we actually felt quite comfortable right from the start with him," said Madden of Chic. "He stepped right up to the FEI division the next week and did really well. He has continually gotten better and better. It’s a process of figuring out which bit I like the best on him and which spurs I wear on him, but really, he’s been quite simple. Hopefully, he stays that way. When he gets in the ring, he has quite a bit of blood. I would say he is a little on the hot side. I hate to compare him, but he’s a big horse like Cortes C and yet he rides pretty light. He’s apparently quick enough across the ground as we saw today. I would love to see him go do some championship events. He has the scope, carefulness and seems to have the brain for it, so I’m looking forward to the future with him.”

Madden is working to have the best chance to repeat her victory in the World Cup Finals.


“I WAS automatically qualified off of my win last year, so my strategy has been to make each horse eligible who I think might be eligible," said Madden. I already have Darry Lou, Breitling, and now this horse Chic [Hin D Hyrencourt] eligible, so I’ll plan on using Coach early in the season since he has had a break from Spruce Meadows. I’ll see who the ‘hot’ horse is going into the World Cup Finals, which was my strategy last year.”

“My horse is obviously very large and he’s just come back to the sport from a lot of time off," said Cawley. "He had an injury and spent a year out in the field, so I haven’t gotten to do a ton of jump-offs with him. Obviously, in the jump-off with me going last, I had to push it as much as I could. I was really thrilled and pleasantly surprised with how quick and nimble he got. I really love the horse and I’m just happy to have him back. He seems to be back and better than ever, so I’m thrilled with him.”

“I watched the first two not have a good first fence, so my main objective was to make sure I got that out of the way," said Kraut. "I actually was very, very good, and I lost my balance a bit when I came out of the double. He turned really quick and I shifted into the left stirrup, so he had to swing back, come get me and then keep turning. That sort of slowed us down a bit, but I was very happy with him and I’m in good company.”


Fisher and Sheppard each have three winners at meets on Nov. 3 (2)

Jack Fisher and Jonathan Sheppard each saddled three winners on Nov. 3, Fisher at Pine Mountain, Ga., and Sheppard at Montpelier, Va.

jackfisheriroquoisJack FisherFisher's three wins moved him into a one race lead over Ricky Hendriks in the race for the title in Trainer, Races Won.

With just one meet remaining, the Steeplechase of Charleston on Nov. 11, both Fisher and Hendriks have pulled out all the stops to take the title, with Fisher having entered five horses and Hendriks having entered four in the four jump races.

Hendriks has said that "It would mean the world to me" to win that title, while Fisher, who has won the title for the past six years, simply said, "I like to win."

At Pine Mountain, Fisher won the first race, the $20,000 Novice timber, with Mrs. S.K. Johnston, Jr.'s Hanno, ridden by Sean McDermott.

In the second race, Fisher saddle Riverdee Stable's Motivational, again ridden by McDermott, to win by 6 lengths in the $20,000 Maiden Claiming Hurdle.

"Motivational was the best horse going into that race," said Fisher. "He's a nice horse."


THEN IN THE featured $75,000 Spot of Kings Maiden Hurdle, Fisher saddle DASH Stable's Ice It to win with jockey Darren Nagle.

"Ic It has been a novice for so long," said Fisher, :He's always been second or third, never winning. So he finally moved out of the novice ranks. I was delighted to see him move up."

Fisher also trained the second placed horse, Riverdee Stable's Gibralfaro (Ire), and jockey McDermott claimed foul against Ice It, but the stewards disallowed the claim and Ice It won.

The win was doubly sweet for Fisher as DASH Stable is his wife Sheila's along with her late father, Rufus Williams, who died on Sept. 30.

Ice It was the champion 3-year-old in 2015.

His last previous win was in the 2017 Queen’s Cup MPC ’Chase, for horses in their first seasons of racing over fences.


SHEPPARD HAD a spectacular day at the Montpelier Hunt Races, taking five horses to the meet and having three winners, two seconds and a third.

jonathonsheppardWillowdaleJonathan SheppardJump to Juneau was his first winner for KMSN Stable, ridden by Jack Doyle, in the $15,000 Maiden Claiming Hurdle, and Jump to Juneau was claimed by Neil Morris.

"We were almost sure we would lose him," said Sheppard. "People had  been trying to buy him for a timber horse. We warned the owner, but he said no one would take him. He thought because the horse had never won a race no one would want him. He kept telling us to run him in claiming races."

"There was some satisfaction in knowing that we were right in warning the owner that he would be claimed," said Sheppard.

Sheppard's next win was with Steinmetz Equine Holdings LLC's Royal Ruse in the second division of the $15,000 Maiden Claiming Hurdle.

"The owner was referred to me by a polo playing friend of mine," said Sheppard. "The horse had been a bad actor, and he'd been sent to a polo player to straighten out. He got him pretty well trained, but he warned me that he could still be bad."

In fact, Royal Ruse did drop his exercise ride at Delaware Park once this summer.

Sheppard sent Royal Ruse to Presque Isle where he broke his maiden on the flat.

"I trained his dam for George Strawbridge," said Sheppard. "We thought he'd make a steeplechase horse. He's small and tough."

Royal Ruse ran third at Middleburg and now has broken his maiden over fences.

Sheppard's own Zeppelin Ride was his third winner, ridden by Ros Geraghty to win the $30,000 Sport of Kings maiden Hurdle by a neck.

"That was a nice surprise," said Sheppard, who has a partner with a 10 percent interest in the horse.

Zeppelin Ride was owned by Carolyn Vogel who also owns Iranistan, but she didn't want another steeplechase horse, so Sheppard said he made her an offer and she accepted it.

He said that at Montpelier, the horse was still fourth at the 2 mile marker in the 2 3/8 mile race, and. although he was closing, he didn't think he could get up for the win.

"I was behind the stewards' stand, and couldn't seen the finish," sid Sheppard. "I couldn't believe it when they told me he had won."

Buttonwood Farms' All the Way Jose was second to Apple Equipment LLc's Winner Massagot, trained by Richard Valentine, in the $40,000 Noel Laing Hurdle Handicap.

"Jose was giving the winner 10 pounds," said Sheppard. "He was beaten 16 lengths, but he was 16 lengths in front of the third horse. Jack Doyle rode him, and he was very enthusiastic about him. He said he was a relly nice horse."

"Jose had just had a hard race at Far Hills," said Sheppard. "I wasn't going to run him again, but he was bucking and squealing in the morning, so we decided  to run him."

Sheppard was also second with Riverdee Stable's Wigwam Baby in the $20,000 Ratings Hadicpa Hurdle, won by Irvin Naylor's Mathayus (Ire0, trained by Cyril Murphy, and KSMN Stable's Inverness was third in the $25000 Filly and Mare Allowance Hurdle, won the Mavourneed, owned and trrained by Gerard Galligan.

Boys dominated the ASPCA Championship, with Sam Walker winning over Brian Moggre (2)

LEXINGTON, Ky.--In an unusual finish, the ASPCA Maclay National Championship was dominated by two boys, with Canadian Sam Walker winning over Brian Moggre, who had won the Medal Finals just a few weeks earlier.

Sam Walker on WaldoSam Walker on WaldoWith so many girls competing in equitation, it's a long stretch between wins by a boy, but perhaps never before have boys placed first and second in a national championship.

Jacob Pope was the last male athlete to claim the top honors in 2012, and prior to that was Brian Walker in 2001.

And in Lexington this year, Walker and Moggre were both on top through the first round, the flat phase, the second round and the final test of the top six, and way ahead of the others, including third placed Paige Matthies, who moved up from sixth to third after the final test.

“It was an honor to judge the Maclay to begin with, but an even greater thrill for both Chance [Arakelian] and I was that there were boys at the head of the class," said judge Walter T. (Timmy) Kees. "The courses separated the class nicely. The two boys were never far apart."

“I think I’m kind of in shock more than anything," said Walker of Ontario, Canada. "I didn’t expect for everything to come so soon and I’m really, really grateful that I got to experience this and ride in this class, let alone come out on top.”


IN THE FIRST round, 175 juniors competed over a course that included fences without standards, skinny jumps, a gate and an airy triple bar with varied distances requiring riders to lengthen or collect quickly within the same series of obstacles.

For the flat phase, which counted 50 percent, riders were called back in order of preference, with Walker, Moggre, Ava Ellis, Emma Kurtz, Catalina Peralta, Paige Matthies, Daisy Farish and Coco Fath getting the top call, after which the top 25 competed over a second course which included almost no fences with standards, a hand gallop, a counter-canter, a trot fence and a long, airy fence that represented the rail at Keeneland, which was jumped in both directions.

"I thought that the second course was amazing," said Walker, who  trains with Missy Clark and John Brennan from North Run, where he is a working student. "There were so many different options and numbers, like where you would do your flying change, where you would land the lead. There were so many different options of what you could do in the second round with where the jumps were placed."

Brian Moggre on EfendiBrian Moggre on EfendiReturning in reverse order of the standings for the second over fences phase, Moggre was the top call with Walker, Farish, Fath, Kurtz, Matthies, Ellis and Alexandra Worthington in second through eighth positions.

Following the second round of the top 25, the judges tested the top six, Walker, Moggre, Fath, Kurtz, Matthies and Mimi Gochman, who leapfrogged from 12th place into the work-off, which asked riders to canter fence 7, canter fence 2, counter-canter fence 6a, canter fence 6b, canter fence 4, halt and return to the line.

"The test, for me, I had everything to lose in the test," said Walker. "For me, playing it safe was the best thing I could do to hope to come out on top."


"THE TEST separated them," said Kees. "The two boys were a half of a point apart. It was really exciting for us to judge and, of course, it’s one of those things where you are fortunate enough to be able to judge and, more importantly, you really feel like you did the right thing at the end.”

“Sam was very smart in the final test." said Kees. "Brian had to take a shot and he did, and it was very good. He came back third and then moved up because he took a shot and made it happen. Sam was smart because he didn’t take a shot. He rode it beautifully, did a simple change and got a great result. It was beautifully done. We were pleased with how both of them rode.”

Walker's name now joins the ranks of past winners that include some of the sport's stars such as Bill Steinkraus, Frank Chapot and George Morris, as well as recent winners Lillie Keenan, Victoria Colvin and Madison Goetzmann.

Previously this year, Walker placed in the top 10 in the Medal Final and the Washington Equitation Final, and he also competes in the upper level jumpers, having won U25 and High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper classes across the United States and Canada, 

“I was so pleased with how it turned out," said Clark "We talked to Sam a lot about being a smart horseman, and that test was difficult to land the lead and hold it or even have the time to orchestrate and set up a flying change. We were gambling as he was leading the whole way through. I think at one point, he was in second, but he was definitely ahead at that point. I was hoping he would play his hand like he did. I was so proud that he thought like a horseman. I would have done the same thing if I was sitting on that horse. I was thrilled with that choice.”

“He has been with us for four years (as a working student," said Clark. "Sam is great. He is such a talent. His parents, Scott and Dee Walker, are professionals from Canada, and we connected however many years ago. You couldn’t help but see Sam’s talent, so it’s always fun to work with a kid like Sam. A little anecdotal story is his mom was my former student, so it’s a little disturbing to have her child as my student, but to work with the family is great. They’re such a great family. It’s been a great collaboration. His talent has shone through and he is such a hard worker. He’s a really great student of the sport and disciplined in his riding. It’s wonderful to work with him.”

“I have another junior year," said Moggre, who also competes very successfully in open jumpers, grand prix and hunters. "I would say that the plan is, with my amazing support system of my family, and Mike [McCormick] and Tracy [Fenney], and even Ken and Emily [Smith] and Don [Stewart], who helped this year, to really further my jumper career and get into more ranking classes on the jumpers. I had a great season in the equitation this year, and I was very well-mounted. Everybody was on my side and I’m really excited to see where the future goes. I don’t know what the plan is as of now. We will see. I would like to do the equitation next year, but I would definitely say my main focus is doing more grand prix classes on my jumpers.”

“I’ll be the first one to tell you that his work ethic is what is responsible for his success," said his trainer, McCormick. "He loves horses, he loves to ride, and it shows up. The results are right there for him. It has been a really, really wonderful year.”


2018 ASPCA Maclay National Championship:

Place / Rider / Horse

1. Sam Walker/ Waldo

2. Brian Moggre / Efendi

3. Paige Matthies / Blurred Lines

4. Mimi Gochman / Kaskade

5. Coco Fath / Class Action

6. Emma Kurtz / Cris Van De Helle

7. Elli Yeager / Copperfield 39

8. Farah Rizvi / Jarinka

9. Devin Seek / Startin Monday

10. Sophie Gochman / Contelido

Joe Davies saddled Stand Down to win the $40,000 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup (2)

UNIONVILLE, Pa.--Joe Davies saddled Frank A. Bonsal Jr.'s Stand Down (Ire). ridden by Eric Poretz, on Nov. 4 to win the $40,000 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup by 7 3/4 lengths.

Stand Down jump AlixStand Down, no. 8, behind Canyon Road (Photo by Alix Coleman)This was only Stand Down's fifth career start under rules in this country and his third win.

"We bought him last fall in England," said Davies on a telephone call from Dubai where he was with his son Teddy, who was racing in a pony race there. "He'd won a point-to-point in Ireland."

"We thought he was pretty small when we saw him getting off the plane," said Davies. "He was supposed to be 16.1-hands, but he was only 15.3. I was upset with our agent, but we had him."

"Once we got over his size, we began to like him," said Davies. "He was a little tricky in the beginning. He had a tricky mouth. But Blythe worked with him and we got him going."

"We ran him at Cheshire, then he started winning at Elkridge-Harford," said Davies. "We ran him in the little race at the Grand National, and he won that, and then he won at Willowdale."

"This fall, he ran at Geneseo, and he got a bit tired, and that might have discouraged him," said Davies. "He ran at the Gold Cup, where Doc Cebu and Le Chevalier set a good pace. With that discouraging race a week before, he just never really ran at the Gold Cup, so Eric pulled him up two fences from home." He came back well from that, so we decided to give him one more run at the Hunt cup, and he ran great."


Stand Down AlixStand Down on the way to the finish line (Photo by Alix Coleman)GRAND MANON, trained by Billy Meister, set the pace but gave way after the fifth-last fence and pulled up before the third last while Stand Down was rated through two and a half circuits of the 4 mile timber race, began to move up at the 14th fence and gained command at the last fence to beat Irvin Naylor's Super Saturday, trained by Kathy Neilson and ridden by Gerard Galligan by 7 3/4 lengths, with Gordonsdale Farm's Canyon Road, trained by Christopher Kolb and ridden by Kieran Norris third and Carrickboy, owned and trained by Ricky Hendriks and ridden by Jack Doyle, fourth.

Hunt Cup victory cup AlixLeft to right, winning owner Frank Bonsal, Joe Davies, Mrs. Bonsal and Eric Poretz (Photo by Alix Coleman)Biedermeier, owned by Riverdee Stable, trained by Todd Wyatt and ridden by Mark Beecher, won the $20,000 Arthur O. Choate, Jr. Memorial timber race at 3 miles by 1/2 length over Sycamore Run Farm's Pured It, ridden by Galligan and trained by Neilson.

Cyril Murphy saddled both th ewinner and the second placed horse in the $15,000 Lewis C. Ledyard 3 mile maiden timber, with Naylor's Hooded, ridden by Darren Nagle, winning by a head over James Steele Jr.'s Sideling Hill, ridden by G. Walters.

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