June 2014 Issue - page 6

Page 6
June 2014
A Sunny Mother’s Day at the Willowdale Steeplechase
by Marcella Peyre-Ferry
It was the first win under
rules for Dont Tell Sailor, and for
Irish jockey David Byrne, who
got a soaking from water buckets
following his victory at the Wil-
lowdale Steeplechase, Sunday,
May 11 in Kennett Square, PA.
Don’t Tell Sailor, owned by
Rosbrian Farm and trained by
Louis Neilson III, was the winner
in the Marshall W. Jenny Memo-
rial maiden timber race, followed
three and a quarter lengths back
by Mark Beecher on Durer in
second and Jacob Roberts on Dax
in third.
The Irish import won just
a month earlier at the Fair Hill
Point to Point races, and shows
signs of going a long way. "It's a
big upgrade, lots of nice horses
in this race," Neilson said. "We
think the horse has got a bright
future but it’s always nice to take
the big step to go under rules and
he did that today, so we’re going
to put him away. I don't know if
he's going to run this fall or not."
Don’t Tell Sailor ran in the
front half of the field for the bulk
of the race, behind early leaders
Classy Rascal and Battle Aray,
saving his speed for the final
stages. Waiting for the stretch
didn't worry Neilson. "I could
tell his ears were still pricked,"
Neilson said.
The three mile course took its
toll on some of the other runners
with Gas Can Eddie losing rider
James Slater early on, and Cold
Water Spring and Drift Society
going down together over a fence
near the end of the run. "That sec-
ond to last fence is a very tricky
fence. I've had horses fall there
before with me on them, much
less ones that I've trained," Neil-
son said. "Two of them fell and I
thought for a second maybe it was
us. But it wasn't. He flew it."
Foxhunter’s Chase
The second timber race on
the card at Willowdale was the
Foxhunter's Chase, which was
won by Armata Stables' Brother
Sy, ridden by Diana Gilliam and
trained by Todd Wyatt. Brother
Sy came on strong in the stretch
to win by a length and a half over
Irvin's S. Naylor's Almarmooq.
"A couple of years ago we
ran him over hurdles. It's taken
us a while to get him going over
timber," Wyatt said, explaining his
plan for the race. "We thought, get
away sharp going uphill. If some-
body wanted to go by, great - if
not, jump a few in front. When he
went across the top, a few galloped
by then he just kind of dropped in
and had a nice trip around. She
gave him a little breather across
the top. He was a little bit out of
it, but I think she felt she had him
clocked going down the hill. He
has a pretty good turn of foot for a
timber horse."
Featured Race
Wyatt came back to the
winner's circle in the next race,
the featured $25,000 Willowdale
Steeplechase, with a win by Mrs.
Cary Jackson's Raven's Choice.
Jockey Mark Beecher piloted
Raven's Choice to the win by
less than a length ahead of Justin
Batoff on Major Malibu.
This was the second win in a
row for Raven's Choice, who took
the Benjamin H. Murray Memori-
al amateur timber allowance race
on at the Grand National on April
19. "He was lovely here today.
After he won the allowance at the
Grand National we decided we'd
come here since it’s a nice race,"
Beecher said after the race. "He's
a bit less experienced than other
horses so when other ones were
going to Iroquois, we came here.
He just jumped super. I think the
course is very hard."
Raven's Choice is a Cary and
Ann Jackson homebred, bred and
raised in Maryland. "He broke his
maiden on the flat, broke his maid-
en over hurdles, and now he's won
a couple of timber," Wyatt said.
Beecher is very positive
about Raven's Choice. "He's a
very nice horse, a big strong type
of horse with lots of scope. He's
learning his trade but he listens to
the rider," he said. "He's a super
jumper. If he was going a shade
quicker we could have used that
jumping a bit more, but when
you're going a bit slower you just
have to keep them together and
pop away. He was very good."
The Liam MaGee Amateur
Training Flat race and two hurdle
races rounded out the day's card.
Cry Vengeance, owned by
Wendy Hendriks and trained by
Ricky Hendriks, was ridden to a
win in The Folly maiden claiming
hurdle by Paddy Young. Frozen
Funds under Harry Haynes led
for the early stages of the race,
but dropped back to fourth of the
four finishers in the late stages
of the 2.5 mile race and was
ultimately disqualified for leaving
the course during the race.
Rose Tree Cup
American Ladie won the
$15,000 Rose Tree Cup for
owner Irvin S. Naylor against
the biggest field of the day over
fences. Jockey Carol-Ann Sloan
kept American Ladie off the
pace for the bulk of the race, but
turned on the speed at the end
of the hurdle course to go past
Shelia William's Popplestone to
win by a length.
Nine horses went to the start
in the flat race, where Dynafort-
wo, owned by Michael J. Moran
and ridden by Connor Hankin,
was first under the wire, followed
by Randleston Farm's Spy In
The Sky in second and Rodman
Moorhead's All the Way Jose
running third.
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Don’t Tell Sailor, winner of the Marshall W. Jenny Memorial maiden timber race at the Willowdale Stee-
plechase, saved his speed for the final stretch to win with ears pricked.
Armata Stables’ Brother Sy has “a pretty good turn of foot for a timber horse,” said trainer Todd Wyatt
when the bay captured the win in the Foxhunter’s Chase.
All photos by Marcella Peyre-Ferry
Raven’s Choice, with jockey Mark Beecher aboard, took the $25,000 Willowdale Steeplechase with classic
style. The Maryland homebred broke his maiden on the flat, over hurdles, and now over timber.
1,2,3,4,5 7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,...40
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