Radnor wraps up season
by Tod Marks
The curtain comes down on the National Steeplechase Association Spring season on Saturday with the 92nd running of the Radnor Hunt Races in the picturesque Brandywine Valley of Chester County, Pa.
As has been the case for much of the Spring, there’s a (slight) chance of precipitation in the forecast; temperatures are expected to be comfortable, in the low 70s. That sure beats last year’s oppressive heat when the thermometer reached well into the 90s.
The five-race card, worth $110,000, has drawn 38 runners whose connections are looking for a final opportunity to pick up purse money before the summer season begins at flat tracks Colonial Downs (July 14) and Saratoga (July 19).
The headliner is the $30,000 National Hunt Cup at 2 3/8 miles, which will be contested under allowance conditions for non winners of a race of than maiden, claiming, or ratings handicap of 115 or less. A field of 10 has been entered led by recent winners Eternal Story, who broke his maiden at the Queen’s Cup for Runnymore Racing; David Hain’s Hail to the Chief, a maiden claiming victor at the Virginia Gold Cup Races; and South Branch Equine’s Who’s Counting, coming off a score over the turf on the flat at Laurel earlier in the month. Also in the field is the leading three-year-old of 2021, Armata Stable’s Realist, who makes his first start over hurdles (for trainer Ricky Hendriks) since his spectacular U.S. debut in the Gladstone stakes for sophomores, which he won by 28 lengths before going to the sidelines. Realist prepped for Radnor with a training flat leg-stretcher at Winterthur two weeks ago.
The rest of the card consists of the $25,000 Milfern Cup and Thompson Memorial, both $25,000 maiden special weights contests at 2 1/8 miles; $20,000 Radnor Hunt Cup timber allowance at 3 1/4 miles; and $10,000 Henry Collins starter allowance at 2 1/8 miles for runners who have started for a claiming tag of $20,000 or less on the flat or over jumps.
First race post time is 1:30 p.m. For complete entries, click here. If you can’t make it to the races, be sure to watch the live stream, sponsored by Brown Advisory, at www.nationalsteeplechase.com
By the numbers
The Radnor Races mark the end of the National Steeplechase Association spring season that consisted of 16 meets spread across seven states. In all, 81 races were run worth a collective $2.54 million in purses.
Among trainers, Leslie Young, who captured the title by wins last season, has amassed a huge lead in the standings with 19 victories to date; Jack Fisher is in second place with nine. Young also has a slight ($16,100) advantage over Fisher in earnings, $420,350 vs. $404,250.
The jockey race is more of a nailbiter. Harry Beswick has nine, the injured Graham Watters eight, and Barry Foley and Conor Tierney knotted at six. Watters’ mounts have the highest earnings with $275,400.
The leading owner is the Irv Naylor stable with $198,750. Riverdee Stable is in second with $167,700.
By virtue of his victory in the richest race of the spring, the $200,000 Iroquois (Grade 1), Malcolm Denmark’s European invader Scaramanga is the richest horse by earnings with $120,000. Bruton Street-US’ Snap Decision, who captured the $100,000 Temple Gwathmey earlier in the spring and ran second in the Iroquois, is next at $96,600. Upland Partners’ Mystic Strike, a 14-year-old timber star, rounds out the top three with $72,200.