Final Steeplechase Eclipse Title Showdown in Colonial Cup

Edited From National Steeplechase Association Press Release

Five horses bring Eclipse Award hopes into the final Grade I steeplechase of 2004 in the $100,000 Marion du Pont Scott Colonial Cup (NSA-I) at Springdale Race Course in Camden, S.C., Nov. 21.

Hirapour, McDynamo, Preemptive Strike, Sur La Tete,
and Tres Touche can each lay claim to championship honors with a win in the historic race's 35th running. The five lead a seven-horse field that also includes Gallant Turk and Imperial Gold.

McDynamo, a 7-year-old son of Dynaformer sewed up last year's Eclipse Award by setting a course record in the2003 Colonial Cup, and probably needs to win the 2004 running to secure a second bronze statue.

Owned by Michael Moran, and trained in Pennsylvania by Sanna Hendriks, McDynamo comes off an impressive score in the Breeders' Cup Steeplechase (NSA-I) at Far Hill, N.J. Oct. 23--his only start of this year due to off-season hock surgery.

In that race, McDynamo bested three of his Colonial Cup foes--Hirapour, Sur La Tete and Tres Touche--and they return in the 2 3/4-mile, 17-fence affair with their eyes set on revenge. All three have banked more in earnings than McDynamo this year, and would bolster their championship credentials with a victory in Camden Sunday.

Virginia-based horses Hirapour and Sur La Tete, second and third respectively in the Breeders' Cup Steeplechase, will try to reverse that result in the Colonial Cup by stalking closer to the favorite. They both made bids around the final turn and through the stretch, but never got past McDynamo, who won by 1 1/2 lengths.

Tres Touche should appreciate Springdale's drier turf and the added distance. He finished second in the 2002 Colonial Cup and is the only one of the five with a race to his credit since the Breeders' Cup, scoring a stake in Montpelier Nov. 6.

Jockey Rob Massey will substitute for the injured David Bentley.

Preemptive Strike won the Carolina Cup (NSA-III) at Springdale in March, and enters this race off an impressive score on the Breeders' Cup undercard in the Appleton Stakes (NSA-III) Oct. 23. Trained in Pennsylvania by Paul Rowland, the 6-year-old's style is to set the early pace and appears to be one on the front early.

Passed by Hirapour late in the Carolina Cup, Preemptive Strike came again to catch him in the final strides. The only one of the major contenders without a Grade I win this year, Preemptive Strike has won three stakes.

PP, horse, owner, trainer, jockey. Each carries 156 pounds.

1--Tres Touche, Barracuda Stable, Ricky Hendriks, Rob Massey.

2--Preemptive Strike, Polaris Stable, Paul Rowland, Robbie Walsh.

3--Sur La Tete, Kinross Farm, Neil Morris, Chris Read.

4--Hirapour, Eldon Farm, Doug Fout, Matt McCarron.

5--Gallant Turk, Gone Away Farm, Dabney Thompson, Ted Thompson.

6--Imperial Gold, Eldon Farm, Dout Fout, Tom Foley.

7--McDynamo, Michael Moran, Sanna Hendriks, Craig Thornton.