Tuesday, May. 28, 2024

Miller Employs Patience For Radnor Win

Certain things come with experience, and for veteran jockey Chip Miller, patience is definitely one of them. Looking at a wall of fast moving horses, Miller just bided his time until a hole opened up, then he shot through to win the $75,000 National Hunt Cup at the Radnor Hunt Races in Malvern, Pa., May 19.


Certain things come with experience, and for veteran jockey Chip Miller, patience is definitely one of them. Looking at a wall of fast moving horses, Miller just bided his time until a hole opened up, then he shot through to win the $75,000 National Hunt Cup at the Radnor Hunt Races in Malvern, Pa., May 19.

The National Hunt Cup is the third leg of steeplechasing’s Triple Crown series. Riding Sarah Jeffords Radcliffe’s Best Attack, Miller was joined by seven novice horses, including the first leg winner, EMO Stables’ Orison (Matt McCarron), the second leg winner Brigadoon Stables’ Gliding (Jeff Murphy) and Armata Stables’ $30,000 Virginia Gold Cup allowance hurdle winner Orsay (Cyril Murphy).

Miller was content to be just off the pace on the inside of most of the run. As the tightly bunched field galloped down to the final turn for home, Miller realized there was no room to move to the head of the pack. After the second-to-last, he spied a small opening, and Best Attack slipped in.

Five horses jumped the last together, with Best Attack alongside Orsay and Orison. Miller’s horse had a much better turn of foot when he landed, and this time it was the other horses looking at Best Attack’s backside as he drew away to win by 1⁄2 length over Orison. Orsay placed third, and Gliding picked up fourth.

Trained by Miller’s father Bruce Miller, Best Attack is a 6-year-old son of Bahri and was bred on the Jeffords’ Estate. This is Best Attack’s third win in eight starts, and he has never been worse than third.

“I wasn’t sure how much horse I had left,” Miller said. “He actually did not feel that good today. The ground was a little harder than he likes, but he’s such class and was like, ‘I am going to do it anyway.’ Before I could even give him a squeeze he saw the hole and was off. For a horse to see it, react to it before you do and take you there, is the most incredible feeling in the world.”

Miller said that when he went down into the valley out of view, everybody went by him. “I had to give my horse a breather because there was really no place left to go,” he said. “I could have gotten a little twitchy and pushed for room, but I have been [riding races] for a while, and I didn’t do that; I just waited. I figured I was committed to the inside and there was no way I was going to ask him to go all around them. Then Paddy’s horse moved just slightly after the second-to-last and that is when he saw it.”


This is Miller’s 199th sanctioned win. The 36-year-old is eighth on the National Steeplechase Association’s leading jockey of all-time list and the only jockey in the top 10 still riding. His sister Blythe Miller Davies, who retired after 202 wins, ranks seventh. McCarron, the only other jockey in the top 15 still riding, currently has 166 wins, but they both have a way to go to catch Joe Aitcheson Jr.’s record of 440 wins.

“I would be glad to take these guys on at the A.P. Smithwick [Aug. 9 in Saratoga Springs (N.Y.)] and say let’s go,” Miller said. “They are very good horses. It’s not like they are just nice novices; they are really nice horses. Can they take on McDynamo or Sur Le Tete? Who knows? But if Best Attack shows up for the A.P. Smithwick I would not trade the ride for any of them.”

On A Roll
Jockey William Dowling is having a pretty good spring season. He won his first Grade I on May 12 at Iroquois (Tenn.), and at Radnor he won his first sanctioned timber race on Arthur Arundel’s Seeyouattheevent in the $40,000 Radnor Hunt Cup.

The three late scratches of Arcadia Stable’s Bubble Economy, Augustin Stables’ Ghost Valley and last year’s winner, Irvin S. Naylor’s Salmo, narrowed the field from 11 to eight. The group started the 31⁄4-mile race with little impulsion. Fappa Fire lost Blake Curry at the first fence (which is also the last), taking out the top rail.

Move West (Paddy Young) and J. Alfred Prufrock (Conrad Somers) picked up the pace after that, and the rest of the field followed along. Ellie Russell’s King Lear (James Slater) was the next to lose his rider with Move West maintaining the lead for most of the running.

As the horses ran down to the last, Move West bobbled the fence badly, and Dowling shot over the reduced panel, with Mr. Bombastic (Miller) in tow. But Miller was not so lucky in this race and had to settle for second more than 2 lengths behind Seeyouattheevent.

This is also Seeyouattheevent’s first sanctioned timber win.“He jumped really well and put in a superb performance,” Dowling said. “I was in good company here like the Gold Cup, but I was too far out of it in that race. Here the last fence was broken down so I just sent him. He landed running, and there was no turning back. I was going to follow Mr. Bombastic and we would probably fight it out in the stretch, but I ended up jumping ahead of Mr. Bombastic.”


Hodsdon Doubles
Danielle Hodsdon picked up two more wins for trainer Jonathan Sheppard. Her first was on William Pape’s Divine Fortune in the $25,000 maiden hurdle and the second was with Warren Dempsey’s Desert Vigil in the $20,000 maiden claiming hurdle race.

“Desert Vigil tends to get a little keen, and he kind of runs on nerves,” Hodsdon said. “I wanted to get him to relax, and he almost did. For the first turn we had some really good fences, and he jumped his way to the lead. I don’t mind that, it’s when he’s frantically pulling me to the lead that is a problem. I knew I hit the front way too soon, but we were going so well I just left him alone.”

Unless she gets the call, Hodsdon won’t be riding Desert Vigil anymore, because trainer Rusty Carrier claimed him for a tidy sum of $30,000.

In the second race of the day, Arcadia Stable’s Rum Squall (Xavier Aizpuru) won the $25,000 allowance hurdle by about 15 lengths, but sadly the race did come with a tragic loss.

After Rum Squall was safely over the last, Gregory Hawkins’ Red Letter Day (Carl Rafter) fell behind them. Barracuda Stable’s The Next Man (Robert Massey) fell at the same fence, and Armata Stables’ Dynaway (Cyril Murphy) fell over The Next Man. Unfortunately, The Next Man broke his neck in the fall.
The 9-year-old son of Fourstars Allstar, The Next Man was part of steeplechasing’s Triple Crown series in 2006, placing second in two of the legs and earning $47,700 in his career. Massey walked away from the fall badly bruised and did not ride the rest of the day.

Eldon Farm’s Pukka (Jeff Murphy), who finished fifth, was disqualified after the stewards ruled he had accidentally interfered with Kinross Farm’s Humdinger (Dowling), who lost his rider around the fourth fence on the backside of the course.

Sarah L. Greenhalgh




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