Ballet Boy (foreground), ridden by Willy McCarthy, emerged from the pack at the second to last fence iot outrun second place finisher Gustavian, under Carl Rafter, in the $50,000 Radnor Hunt Cup, the featured race of the six race card.
Ballet Boy, owned by Cashel Stables, was the star of the 82nd running of the Radnor Hunt Races, winning the $50,000 National Hunt Cup. The six race card was run on the Radnor Hunt club grounds in Willistown Township, PA on Saturday May 19.
Willy McCarthy kept Ballet Boy in the pack for most of the 2 3/8 mile race while Wanganui and then Fog Island set the pace. Wanganui looked like a strong early leader until jockey Danielle Hodsdon fell on the first of three laps around the right-handed course. Daren Nagle on Fog Island took over from there while the loose horse continued to run for the lead through the rest of the first lap.
McCarthy stuck with the strategy trainer Thomas Voss had laid out before the race. "He told me to have him up there and keep him under the bridle for as long as I could. I was pretty confident he could get his head in front," McCarthy said.
While Fog Island faded on the final lap, Ballet Boy turned on the speed at the next to last fence, passing Gustveian under Carl Rafter, who put up a good fight but finished second, followed by Kieran Norris on Cornhusker and Arctic Reach with Ross Geraghety.
Radnor Hunt Cup
The other stakes race on the card was the $40,000 Radnor Hunt Cup, the only timber race of the day. Robert Walsh on Four Schools (owned by Mrs. George Ohrstron, trained by Richard Valentine) nearly went wire-to-wire setting the pace from the second jump through the final fence. Four Schools kept a two to five length lead over the field throughout the race, but at the final jump Darren Nagle on Delta Park, (owned by Arcadia Stable, trained by Jack Fisher) move up beside the leader. In a tight stretch run, Four Schools didn’t have enough left to hold off Delta Park, who went by him for the win.
“Robbie (Walsh) was traveling great, his horse was probably a better horse going right handed,” Nagle said after the race. “He didn’t really stop, compared to my laddie who got down on the ground and galloped up.”
Nagle had a successful day also winning the James M. Moran Jr. Steeplechase, a claiming hurdle race on Canardly, for owner Karen B Eyles and trainer Liam McVicar.
Nagle also had the distinction of being one of only two riders to finish out of a twelve-horse field in the day’s opening race, the Milfern Cup Maiden Hurdle. Nagle rode Annual Update (owned by Mrs. William Pape, trained by Richard Valentine) to a careful second place finish well behind winner Staying On.
More loose horses were on the track than ridden ones at one point, but it was not the fault of any one large pile up. The falls came one or two at a time throughout the course.
There were just three horses left in contention at the final fence when second runner Out of the Ghetto unseated Jeff Murphy, who tried valiantly to stay on after a rough jump only to hit the ground two strides later in sight of the finish line.
Jody Petty with the aptly named Staying On (owned and trained by Michael J. Moran) managed to stay out of trouble by staying near the front when he could, avoiding the loose horses that interfered with the remaining racers at times.
“We know the horse has speed, we wanted to get some cover for him. He had cover but the horse in front of him fell,” Moran said after the race. “He’s good, he’s a smart horse. He was a class act he was a stakes winner of $400,000 so he’s got the mental capability and obviously he’s got the physical capability too.”
Spectators were concerned when faller El Crespo, owned by Harold Via and ridden by William Dowling, had to be removed from the course in the equine ambulance, but it was reported that he had been taken to New Bolton Center and was doing well.
In other action the Vita C. Thomson Memorial steeplechase, a $30,000 allowance race for a purse of $30,000, was won by Black Quartz, owned by Irvin S. Naylor and ridden by Ross Geraghty for trainer Joseph Delozier.
“My enthusiasm remains high whether you win or lose. You lose an awful lot more than you win,” Naylor said philosophically during the trophy presentation. “Ross did an excellent job of riding him. It was a cerebral race all the way around.”
Geraghty also won the concluding race of the day, the Henry Collins Steeplechase. He went wire to wire on Kingfisher Farm’s Maya Charlie, trained by Jack Fisher.