By Tod Marks
Following several weeks of weather-related cancellations, steeplechasing returns to Colonial Downs in New Kent, Va., on Friday, with three non-betting events, with a first-race post time of 11:45 a.m.
Kicking off the card is a $40,000 maiden hurdle, followed by the $75,000 Randolph Rouse filly and mare stakes (at 12:15 p.m.), and a $30,000 110 ratings handicap (12:45 p.m.). All three races will be run at 2 ¼ miles.
The Rouse has attracted a hard-hitting group of seven distaffer runners led by Irv Naylor’s Bercasa, who returned from a layoff of nearly two years to capture the $50,000 Margaret Currey Henley Stakes at Iroquois in May with Gerard Galligan riding for Kathy Neilson. The Naylor stable is having a brilliant summer with three wins already at Colonial and Saratoga, including two stakes – the Grade 1 A.P. Smithwick and Jonathan Kiser novice stakes.
In the Henley, Bercasa faced a stiff challenge from Joseph Fowler’s Met in Miami (trained by Kate Dalton), who finished just 1 ¾ lengths behind the winner in her first stakes try following a maiden hurdle score at the Carolina Cup Races in April. Bercasa carries 157 pounds in the Rouse. The rest of the field carries between 143 pounds and 151 pounds.
Naylor’s Gold Charm, trained by Cyril Murphy, made an instant impression in her first U.S., start, a maiden at Radnor in May, where he just missed by a neck. In her next outing, at Colonial on July 14, the Irish-bred made a three-wide, last-to-first move to break her maiden going away.
Leading trainer Leslie Young saddles a pair. Potter Group USA and Ashwell Stable’s Right Tempo, a lightly raced French-bred, came off of a maiden score to run third in the Henley, about four lengths behind Met in Miami. Ashwell Stable’s Durragh, also bred in France and a recent convert to U.S. racing, boasts one win – in a 110 handicap at Willowdale this spring – in three NSA starts.
Owner-trainer Arch Kingsley saddles the versatile New York-bred Cainudothetwist, who finished a close second to Ziggle Pops in a 115 handicap at the Queens Cup in April and, following a DNF in the Henley, won a maiden claimer on the flat at Colonial a little over a week ago.
Jordan Wycoff’s Clara Belle, who also has split her time between flat and jump racing, is looking for her first victory since a maiden claiming effort at Aiken last fall. Her best performance to date this season is a second in the Imperial Cup stakes at Aiken Spring, where she was runner-up to her Keri Brion-stablemate The Insider.
For complete entries, click here: https://nationalsteeplechase.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Colonial-overnight-august-11.pdf
You can watch the races via live stream from the National Steeplechase Association home page, www.nationalsteeplechase.com.