Jockey Carol Ann Sloan and Irvin S. Naylor’s Decoy Daddy cashed in on their symbiotic relationship during the $50,000 National Hunt Cup, first staying off the pace and then making their move down to the wire for the win. Photo courtesy of Marcella Peyre-Ferry.
Irvin S. Naylor's Decoy Daddy repeated last year's victory in the $50,000 National Hunt Cup by winning the 2 3/8 mile hurdle race for the second time Saturday, May 17 at the Radnor Hunt Races.
This was only the second time out this year for the 12-year-old, and his second win of the season. He turned in a win in the Temple Gwalthmey at Middleburg in April under Carol Ann Sloan, and ran well for her again at Radnor.
Absolum was the early leader, but Paddy Young fell on the first of the three times around the course, leaving the loose horse to run just behind the leaders all the way to the finish line. Decoy Daddy stayed just off the pace for the bulk of the race, behind Willie McCarthy on Wanganui who set the pace. As the race wore on, Decoy Daddy still had enough left to take over the lead as the gaps between horses lengthened on the way to the wire.
Trainer Cyril Murphy came into Irvin's barn last September but Sloan is Decoy Daddy's longtime rider. "We don't mess with anything. She tells us what she thinks and he tells us what he feels," said Murphy, who has stuck with the winning combination. "He's a horse who's always been on or near the lead. As I said to Carol Ann, just jump away at the start. If somebody wants to be in front of you, he's very ratable, just sit in behind. If you end up in front, slow it down to suit yourself. Give yourself every chance and see what happens."
Naylor is also pleased with the combination of Decoy Daddy and Sloan. "He's a very special horse ridden by a very special lady. She does a terrific job with that horse and he seems to respect her," Naylor said. "Nobody rides the horse better and she doesn't ride any horse better than she rides that horse, so it's a perfect symbiotic relationship between the two of them and I'm very proud of both of them."
Hunt Cup Timber
The other big purse on the card was the $40,000 Radnor Hunt Cup timber race, won by Fritz Boniface on Moonsox. Moonsox is a family horse, trained by Fritz's father, Kevin Boniface and owned by his sister with Nelson and Traveller Stable.
"Ever since he was a baby, he grew up on the farm, his mother was one of my favorite fillies to gallop and I've just always had a connection with the horse. I always knew he was going to be my jumper," Fritz Boniface said after his win, then recapped the race. "When he started getting a little rank out there I knew he wanted to be in the front and that's where we went. He relaxed, then once we got pressure he wasn't going to back off - he just galloped. He was great. He can go all day. I think the longer the race, the more he likes it. Right now, his mind set is all about racing."
Leading Jockey for the day was Harry Haynes who won the $20,000 James M. Moran, Jr., Steeplechase riding Happy Digger for owner/trainer Jeremy Gillam, and also won the $30,000 Thompson Memorial Steeplechase on GMAC, owned by Gregory Hawkins and trained by Janet Elliot. "That was his first time in the US, so he obviously needed to go to our style of racing," Haynes said of GMAC after his win. "The softer ground helped him today. I let him idle in front on his own."
In other races, Selection Sunday, owned by Andre Brewster and ridden by Sam Jones won the $25,000 Milfern Cup Maiden Hurdle Race. "I'm very pleased. He's still only a baby, just learning the game. I was delighted with the way he settled and he jumped really well. I never had a moment of worry through the race," Jones said. "He was keen when he ran in his point to point, and the thing I wanted to get him to do today was to just switch off before even thinking about putting him into the race. He just relaxed lovely and when I put him into the race he just traveled into it nicely. When I asked him to pick up going into the last, he's quick and away from the others lovely. I'd say he's probably a class above these."
Richard Boucher closed out the day with a win for trainer Lilith Boucher on Why Not Racing's Complete Dyno in the $10,000 Henry Collins Steeplechase.