Amschel Prevails In Noel Laing Handicap At Montpelier Hunt Races

The 85th running of the Montpelier Races took place November 2 in Montpelier Station. The feature race recap below comes courtesy of the National Steeplechase Association. A series of pictures below showcases the great property and scene with thousands of fans in attendance.

Irv Naylor’s Amstel, always racing comfortably under Graham Watters, jumped powerfully to the lead at the last fence of the Montpelier Hunt Races’ $40,000 Noel Laing Handicap, gave up some ground on the final turn, and repelled Stooshie to win by 3¼ lengths on Saturday.

Tailgaters gather in the final turn before the wire.

Woodslane Farm’s Pik Em, winner of the Far Hills Races’ Appleton ratings handicap on Oct. 19, closed some ground late to finish third, three-quarters of a length behind Rosbrian Farm’s Stooshie, in a field of eight.

Horses cross the wire at Montpelier.

Straylight Racing’s Invocation finished fourth, another 2¼ lengths farther back. Amschel ran the Noel Laing’s 2½-mile distance in 5:20 on turf rated as good.

Amschel is shown with rider Graham Watters before a stakes at Far Hills.

Trained by Cyril Murphy, Amschel made his first appearance in a year with a sixth-place finish in the Appleton, and he clearly benefited from his comeback race in New Jersey two weeks earlier. The five-year-old carried the 158-pound co-highweight based on his three-race winning streak last year in Ireland.

Horses prepare for one of ten jumps they encounter in a typical race.

He was sidelined after a third-place finish in Far Hills’ 2018 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle and passed tired horses in the Appleton, in which Stooshie finished third.

Sunny skies and 60 degree temperatures greeted attendees at Montpelier.

Buttonwood Farms’ All the Way Jose, ridden by Willie McCarthy, took the lead shortly after the first of 11 trips over the historic Montpelier course’s natural brush fences, with Rather Be Racing’s Kremlin and Rosbrian Farm’s Stooshie in his wake.

Montpelier has a traditional dirt oval which played host a Virginia-Bred training flat Saturday. The race was won by Tolaga Bay.

Watters placed Amshel in fifth position early, and he moved into the fourth spot as Mark W. Buyck Jr.’s Grade 1 winner Show Court began to back up after the seventh fence. Kremlin took the lead from All the Way Jose at the next to last fence, but Stooshie and Amschel overtook them in the run to the last.

Montpelier is home to former President James Madison whose estate is just outside a perimeter of the grass track.

Stooshie and Jack Doyle reached the fence with a slight advantage, but Amschel put in a strong jump for Watters and seized the lead. Amschel opened daylight on his only challenger, but he gave up some of his advantage when his mount wheeled wide into the short stretch, and Doyle took the inside path with Stooshie.

A series of Jack Russell Terrier Dog races kicked off festivities.

But Watters had more horse, and Amschel began to draw away in midstretch.

Crowds took advantage of nice fall weather to tailgate and enjoy the races.

Pik Em, ridden by Michael Mitchell, closed ground late to claim third money. Mitchell entered the Montpelier meet with a one-race lead over Doyle in the jockey standings but was blanked for the afternoon. Doyle picked up a victory with I Am Not Here in a maiden claiming hurdle to draw into a tie.