Far Hills Spotlight: Timber Toppers

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And the finale. Still going strong? The New Jersey Hunt Cup caps off the banner day of racing at Far Hills. With a stakes at Middleburg last week and another one at Great Meadow next week, the timber horses are stretched thin, only six wind up here.

1. Ballylifen. Another Irish-bred import for Bruton Street and Jack Fisher, he seeks his third win since coming here in 2014. Nine-year-old won two minor timber races last season and has been blanked in three tries this year, including a sixth behind his stablemate at Shawan Downs in September. If he can reproduce his fourth in the Virginia Gold Cup and International Gold Cup last year, he should win this. If.

2. Puller. Woke up with a much-improved effort at Virginia Fall, taking a strong field a long way before being reeled in after the last fence. By far his best effort this year, he’ll try to do it again here, taking on fewer horses and certainly not-as-established horses. Jumping is the key, if he jumps like he did at a week ago, he’ll have a shot at the upset.

3. Old Timer. Fitting name for the 10-year-old veteran who makes his debut for Richard Valentine after a long career with Neil Morris and Chris Read. Makes his seventh stakes start in a row and if you look at some of those efforts, he chased the likes of Straight To It and Ebanour. Well, there no Straight To Its or Ebanours here. Live.

4. Le Chavelier. Spring maiden breaker makes his fall debut here for a trainer and jockey who are having solid years. Last year, he opened up big leads and faded. This year, he’s learned to rate, which helped him win a maiden at the Manor and finish second in the Houghland at Nashville. Excuse the lost rider at Fair Hill and he comes here with a chance.

5. West Is Best. Opened the year with an upset in the maiden timber at the Manor, he returned to finish second at Queen’s Cup, but then didn’t threaten at Fair Hill and came back with an even effort at Shawan Downs. Actually made up some ground that day and could improve with that under his belt and in a smaller field. No standout, but no standouts in here.

6. Pured It. Like Puller, he wheels back in seven days after chasing the likes of Two’s Company and Grinding Speed at Virginia Fall. Owns one timber win, a lopsided win in an attritional affair at High Hope in the spring. We’ve written this before – no standout, but no standouts in here.