Jump champ Dawalan out for season

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Dawalan, North America’s champion steeplechaser of 2015, will not get a chance to repeat his Eclipse Award-winning season this year due to an injury in a point-to-point flat prep April 2.

The gray 6-year-old had finished third in a 1 1/2-mile flat race at the Green Spring Valley Point-to-Point at Shawan Downs, but emerged with some filling in a leg. Later diagnosed as a bowed tendon, the injury will keep out of action this year. Owned by Irv Naylor, the French-bred was prepping for the $200,000 Iroquois Steeplechase to be run May 14 at Nashville, Tenn. Instead, he’ll get treatment, stall rest and plenty of recovery time at Naylor’s Maryland farm.   

“Everything suggests he’ll be back next spring, but it’s a year you’d like to not have to give away,” said trainer Cyril Murphy. “He went there to do a nice piece of work and that’s what he did. He went around there, everything was good, then he had some heat in the leg.”

Dawalan, bred by the Aga Khan’s Studs, burst on the American scene last year with a third in the Grade 1 Lonesome Glory and back-to-back Grade 1 wins in the Grand National and Colonial Cup. Dawalan led all U.S. steeplechasers with $255,000 and won the Eclipse Award over Bob Le Beau and Demonstrative.

The son of Azamour and half-brother to standout flat horses Dalakhani and Daylami won four hurdle races in England, while trained by Nicky Henderson, before being imported.

Dawalan’s defection leaves a void at the top of the American jump ranks, though Naylor and Murphy will be represented by Rawnaq, who finished second in the Colonial Cup and third (behind his stablemate and Irish shipper Eshtiaal) in the Grand National last year.

“At the end of the day, Dawalan was the only U.S.-based horse who finished in front of him,” Murphy said of the understudy. “He was always going to go to the Iroquois anyway.”

In addition to Rawnaq, who is nominated to the Temple Gwathmey at Middleburg April 23 as a prep, the Iroquois should include two-time race winner Demonstrative.

Temple Gwathmey weights released
NSA director of racing Bill Gallo released the weights for the Temple Gwathmey, a $50,000 hurdle stakes and the feature on the Middleburg Spring card April 23. The nominees (with weights): Rawnaq (158), All The Way Jose (148), Daneking (146), Alajmal  (144), Jack Frost (144), Overwhelming (144), Scorpiancer (144), Andi’Amu (142), Bodie Island (142), Rudyard K (142), Top Striker (142), Awesome Pearl (140), Bonded (140), Manacor (140), Plated (140).

First run in 1924 and won by the likes of Zaccio, Flatterer, Lonesome Glory, the Gwathmey will be run at 2 1/2 miles over the Glenwood Park course. Entries close Monday. Naylor seeks his fifth win in six years after victories by Decoy Daddy in 2011, 2013 and 2014 and Via Galilei in 2012. The retired Decoy Daddy finished second last year.