For five of the eight horses entered in the $100,000 Marion du Pont Scott Colonial Cup, to be run Nov. 21, in Camden, S.C., Eclipse Award hopes rest on the results of the stakes race. McDynamo, Tres Touche, Hirapour, Preemptive Strike and Sur La Tete could all lay claim to the horse-of-the year title with a win in the venerable race and the Colonial Cup will bring the 2004 National Steeplechase Association season to a dramatic close.
Without a doubt, McDynamo is the clear favorite to win. Last year’s Eclipse Award winner, he won this year’s Breeders’ Cup Steeplechase in October, coming off an 11-month lay-up and defeated Hirapour, Sur La Tete and Tres Touche. He can only be improved from that run.
The horse is a running and jumping machine and is as versatile as they come. He can run on the front-end or make a come-from-behind charge. His huge galloping stride will only be an asset on the smooth, flat turf of the Colonial Cup course and since he won the 2003 running of the race, setting a new course record, we already know he relishes jumping the course’s bigger brush fences. Trained by Sanna Hendriks and owned by Michael Moran, McDynamo will have the services of veteran jump jockey Craig Thornton, who is flying in from New Zealand for the ride, as he did for the Breeders’ Cup.
Both based in Virginia, Eldon Farm Racing’s Hirapour and Kinross Farm’s Sur La Tete, who finished second and third in the Breeders’ Cup, bring their own impressive credentials to the Colonial Cup. Hirapour won the $150,000 Royal Chase in Kentucky in April and Sur La Tete won the $75,000 Metcalf Memorial (N.J.) in September, defeating Tres Touche by more than 11 lengths.
Leading jockey, Matt McCarron will ride Hirapour and Sur La tete’s regular jocky, amateur Chris Read has that ride.
Tres Touche, just coming off a win in the Noel Laing Stakes (Va.) will appreciate Springdale’s drier turf and the added distance. He finished second in the 2002 Colonial Cup. He is the only one of the five with a race since the Breeders’ Cup, getting a stakes win at Montpelier Nov. 6. Jockey Rob Massey will substitute for the injured David Bentley.
Preemptive Strike won the Carolina Cup at Springdale in March, and enters this race off an impressive score on the Breeders’ Cup undercard Oct. 23. Trained in Pennsylvania by Paul Rowland, the 6-year-old often races near the pace and is the likely leader. Irishman Robbiw Walsh will be in the irons.