No rest for the weary! Sunday, steeplechasing runs the gamut at Willowdale as maiden claimers, conditioned claimers and apprentice jockeys compete over hurdles and every type of timber horse in the sport gets a chance.
And, to all the mothers out there – especially Ruth Clancy, Sam Clancy, Anne Clancy and Sheila Clancy – Happy Mother’s Day.
Race 1. The Liam Magee SOTA Apprentice Rider. $10,000. 2 1/4 miles.
Ah, remember the one and only, Liam Magee? A legend of the game. The opener attracts seven solid conveyances, offering opportunities to jockeys and options for horses. Perfect. Grade 1 winner Swansea Mile returns for his start since last spring. Skylar McKenna, welcome to steeplechasing. We knew you when, we knew you when.
- Joe: Osmoz, Swansea Mile, Indigo Heart.
- Tom: Indigo Heart, Soluble, Jarir.
- Sean: Swansea Mile, Soluble, Osmoz.
Race 2. The Folly. Maiden Claiming Hurdle. $15,000. 2 1/4 miles.
This one overfilled with 22 entries. Yes, 22 entries. Oh, where have you gone Marengo, Stoneybrook, Tanglewood, Brookhill and all those meets of yore that offered opportunity…Wide-open contest. Do you go with the new or the proven?
- Joe: Cotton Town, Shoreline, Naval Gazer.
- Tom: Colonnello, Naval Gazer, Cotton Town.
- Sean: Cotton Town, Masquerader, Naval Gazer.
Race 3. The Rose Tree Cup. Conditioned Claiming Hurdle. $20,000. 2 1/4 miles.
Oh, the questions. Do you go with maiden claiming winners trying winners for the first time, do you go with connections or do you go with horses dropping into this division for the first time? The ST Handicappers went with all three!
- Joe: Lead Investor, Moorland, Ocean Ready.
- Tom: Ebullience, Moorland, Lead Investor.
- Sean: Ocean Ready, Moorland, Lead Investor.
Race 4. Willowdale Steeplechase. Timber Stakes. $35,000. 3 1/2 miles.
Another big field lines up for the feature. Jack Fisher launches Hanno, Political Theatre, Lemony Bay and Two’s Company. Take your pick. House horse Witor nearly pulled off a win at My Lady’s Manor and has pointed here since. Captivating renewal.
- Joe: Lemony Bay, Just Wait And See, Witor.
- Tom: Witor, Two’s Company, Hanno.
- Sean: Witor, Two’s Company, Lemony Bay.
Race 5. The Landhope Cup. Maiden Timber. $15,000. 3 miles.
Another full field of timber horses looking to graduate before summer grass. El Jefe Grande just missed at Foxfield. Mr. Brightside and Royal Ruse have learned the trade at the point-to-points.
- Joe: Royal Ruse, Rollforward, El Jefe Grande.
- Tom: El Jefe Grande, Royal Ruse, Colt Lightning.
- Sean: El Jefe Grande, Awesome Adrian, Colt Lightning.
Race 6. The Marshall Jenney Foxhunters’ Chase. Amateur/apprentice timber. $10,000. 3 miles.
Cue the record – another full field lines up here. The interest and energy for timber racing is strong. Aquies rebroke after 2 ¾ miles at the Grand National and looks strong in here. If Biedermeier wins, Sean will buy the beer, well, a few beers (it’s a $10,000 purse!).
- Joe: Carrickboy, Aquies, Biedermeier.
- Tom: Biedermeier, Carrickboy, Aquies.
- Sean: Aquies, Biedermeier, Carrickboy.
Now, call or hug or just think great things about your mother.