Nine to Contest New York Turf Writers Cup

Nine to Contest New York Turf Writers Cup
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Hirapour, winning the Royal Chase at Keeneland, is one of nine entered in the New York Turf Writers Cup.
Edited NYRA report
Led by A. P. Smithwick winner Paradise's Boss, nine jumpers are entered for Wednesday's $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup Steeplechase at Saratoga. The race has grade I designation from the National Steeplechase Association.

Paradise's Boss will look to become just the fifth horse to accomplish the Smithwick-New York Turf Writers Cup sweep, joining Yaw (1991), Warm Spell (1993), Lonesome Glory (1995) and Campanile (1999).

Owned by Mrs. Henry Stern and trained by Jack Fisher, Paradise's Boss will be ridden by Xavier Aizpuru, who was aboard when the pair captured the Smithwick Aug. 8, and has drawn post three.

In the Smithwick, the 5-year-old gelding spurted to a lengthy lead and comfortably held sway for an impressive 2 1/2 length triumph.

Paradise's Boss was the National Steeplechase Association's novice champion jumper of 2004 and after losing his first two starts this season has reeled off three straight wins, highlighted by his win in the Smithwick. Fisher, the leading steeplechase trainer the last two years, has never won the New York Turf Writers.

The 61st New York Turf Writers Cup will also feature 2004 champion jumper Hirapour, who will have regular jockey Matt McCarron back in the saddle for the first time since McCarron suffered a broken arm on the Spa's opening day.

Hirapour entered the Smithwick off an impressive victory in the Royal Chase April 22 at Keeneland but with Chip Miller aboard for the first time he came up short, finishing third to Paradise's Boss and McCarron hopes the extra distance in the 2 3/8-mile Turf Writers Cup, over national fences, will make the difference for Hirapour. The Kahyasi gelding will leave from post 9.

"The Smithwick was a little short for him," admitted McCarron. "I think this race will have a much truer pace with some of the horses that will likely be going and with the added distance this will be more to his liking."

The 9-year-old gelding has finished off the board only once in 16 jump races, and has fashioned nine wins and four runner-up finishes.

Hirapour is trained by Doug Fout, whose father, Paul, died Aug. 16.

"He's coming into the race very well," Fout said. "He took six stitches in his knee after the Smithwick, but he's been training very well, and we're set. I'm happy where we are with him now.

"I was disappointed that he finished third in the Smithwick, but he didn't seem to relax during the race. One thing that I was worried about was the distance, and I think the added distance in the Turf Writers Cup will really help, too. Matt is back riding him, and there's enough speed in the race which will serve him well. I think all these combinations will be beneficial."

The New York Turf Writers Cup will also include Praise The Prince, the veteran Saratoga winner who captured the 2003 Turf Writers Cup and 2001 and 2004 A.P. Smithwick; Three Carat, who will look to give Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard his record 12th win in the Turf Writers Cup; and the Irish import Say What You See, who will make his U.S. debut.

Post Position--Horse, Jockey, Weight

1.--Say What You See, David Bentley, 146
2.--Mulahen, Robert Massey, 142
3.--Paradise's Boss, Xavier Aizpuru, 154
4.--Praise the Prince, Jody Petty, 148
5.--Three Carat, Danielle Hodson, 140
6.--Party Airs, Cyril Murphy, 142
7. (a) -- Mauritania, Z. Miller, 140
8. (a) --Understood, A. Dobbin, 144
9.--Hirapour, Matt McCarron, 158

(a)--Mauirtania and Understood are coupled.

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