Check out this promotional video done by the Montpelier Hunt Races and Audi of Charlottesville capturing their record setting year with over 19,000 in attendance during the annual Fall Steeplechase meet. The video can be viewed here.
For more of a recap of the November …. races read the article below. originally posted on Nationalsteeplechase.com and written by Tod Marks.
At Montpelier in Montpelier Station, Va.
Former Brad Cox trainee makes successful debut on the flat
Lord Donegal, a three-year-old son of Noble Mission who started three times for Eclipse Award-winning trainer Brad Cox, made his NSA debut a winning one, taking the Montpelier Foundation Cup at a mile on the dirt for his new connections.
Owned by Karl McMillan and Richard Lam and ridden by Harry Beswick, Lord Donegal, who in his previous career won a maiden special weights win at Horseshoe Indianapolis in 2022, finished three lengths ahead of QR Stables’ Noble Gem (Bernie Dalton). Both Lord Donegal and Noble Gem are trained by Neil Morris.
Following an off-the-board finish in a black type stakes at Fair Grounds, Lord Donegal was claimed out of a race at Keeneland in April by Joe Sharp. The training race at Montpelier was his first start for his new team.
Hail to the chief: Potus takes $25,000 handicap in a landslide
In a handicap for horses rated at 110 or less, Riverdee Stable’s Potus took charge after the first fence, increased his margin, and won by daylight after Straylight Racing’s Frontline Citizen lost his rider while mounting a late bid.
With Jamie Bargary riding for Jack Fisher, the five-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid earned his first victory since breaking his maiden at the International Gold Cup Races in October 2022.
Though he controlled the pace from the outset, Potus faced a serious threat from Frontline Citizen in the stretch, who was challenging for the lead when jockey Alex Leventhal was unseated. Once that happened, Potus was able to score handily, by 11 ¼ lengths. Charlie Fenwick’s Withoutdestination (Harry Beswick) mounted a rally of his own two fences from home to finish second. William Russell’s Seismic Wave was third.
Rider-trainer McDermott wins first of two aboard Icandothat
Longtime NSA rider Sean McDermott has been turning more of his attention in the past few seasons to his training duties, but has remained active in the saddle as well, and on Saturday he piloted two winners while doing double duty.
In the $20,000 maiden claimer, McDermott broke swiftly aboard Vivian Rall’s Icandothat and was never seriously threatened, drawing off through the stretch by 9 ¾ lengths over Kiplin Hall’s Absam (Mikey Hamill), a one-time allowance winner on the turf at Saratoga. R&K Racing’s Bless Bless (Teddy Davies) was third.
The winner, a four-year-old Maryland-bred son of Divining Rod, has made nine starts this year, splitting his time between flat racing and steeplechasing. This was his first victory in 18 career outings.
Factotum opens NSA career with a victory
Celtic Venture Stable’s Factotum, a veteran flat runner at Woodbine and Penn National, made his NSA debut in a $20,000 maiden claiming hurdle and looked every bit like a seasoned warrior, digging in to hold off Hudson River Farm’s Sleight of Hand by a neck.
Trained and ridden by the father-and-son duo of Joe and Teddy Davies, the four-year-old Ontario-bred son of Blame started toward the back of the field, gained ground after the ninth fence, and had a lead into the stretch when Sleight of Hand (Tom Garner), also a recent convert to jump racing, came at him. Taco Tuesday Amigos Ice Bar, trained and ridden by Gerard Galligan, was third.
Casamo gives McDermott training-riding double
Sean McDermott was back in the winner’s circle in the fifth race with South Branch Equine’s Casamo, who made a late rush to surge past a handful of rivals in the stretch to break his maiden by 1 ¼ lengths. The Hundred Acre Field’s Samui Sunset (Mikey Hamill), who mounted a late rally of his own, was second.
Like many of McDermott’s runners, Casamo is a Maryland-bred, and the lightly raced four-year-old son of Mosler, a stakes-placed son of War Front, improved off of a sharp second in a maiden hurdle at the Virginia Fall Races last month. That race in Middleburg was only his second effort over jumps.
Right Tempo turns the table on Say Goodbye and talented field in filly & mare stake
On paper, it was hard to look past Robocour’s Say Goodbye in the $50,000 Marion duPont Scott Memorial filly and mare stakes. The seven-year-old made her first start outside of Ireland in October in the Peapack stakes at Far Hills. Sent off as the odds-on favorite off of two wins in her previous three starts in Europe, the Gordon Elliott-trainee sat behind pacesetter Bella Coola, took a slight lead heading up the backside the final time, and battled Potter Group USA and Ashwell Stable’s Right Tempo from the final fence to the wire. It wasn’t until the pair was in deep stretch that Say Goodbye was able to edge clear, winning by 3 1/4 lengths.
But at Montpelier, Right Tempo, trained by Leslie Young and ridden by Jamie Bargary, was content to sit back in the field of four as Say Goodbye (Mikey Hamill) set the fractions for the first two miles. Right Tempo began to pick up the pace at the eighth fence and was in contention entering the stretch. Meanwhile, Say Goodbye – toting high weight of 165 pounds in the handicap, 22 more than Right Tempo – was out of gas by that time and faded to last. Irv Naylor’s Bercasa actually grabbed the lead before the final fence, but was outrun by Right Tempo, who was in front by 1 ¼ lengths at the wire.
For Right Tempo, a five-year-old French-bred, it was her first stakes score and fourth top-three finish in five stakes outings since starting her racing career in the spring.
Noel Laing gives Zabeel Champion back-to-back stakes wins
Coming off of a hard-fought victory in the $50,000 Appleton Stakes at Far Hills, Martin Tedham and Wasdell Properties’ Zabeel Champion proved his victory on racing’s championship day was no fluke.
The $75,000 Noel Laing drew a field of seven including three of those who finished far back in the Appleton: Bruton Street-US’ Proven Innocent, Riverdee Stable’s Gordon’s Jet, and Del Rio Racing’s Soviet Pimpernel. Also in the field were two runners exiting the Grade 1 Grand National at Far Hills: Gill Johnston’s Mortlach and Irv Naylor’s Scorpion’s Revenge.
But it was all Zabeel Champion, who started slow under Bernie Dalton, moved up to stalk leader Eye of Gunfighter after the first mile and a half, and took charge entering the stretch. Scorpion’s Revenge, under Gerard Galligan, was also in contention through the stretch but outrun by the winner. The margin of victory was 3 ¼ lengths. Proven Innocent (Jamie Bargary) was third, about two lengths behind Scorpion’s Revenge. Hall of fame conditioner Jack Fisher trained both the winner and runnerup.