TMrs. Ogden Phipps' Happy Intellectual, a three-time winner on the Southern circuit this spring, will attempt to add the $10,000-added National Steeple-chase Handicap to its victory list here Saturday on the closing day of Fiar Hill's spring meeting.
The D.M. (Mike) Smithwick-trained chaser, a stakes winner on both sides of the Atlantic, has been assigned top weight of 160 pounds for the 2 1/2-mile jump event, feature of an eight-race card that begins with the Newark at 2 p.m.
Joe Atcheson Jr., staging a remarkable comeback at age 49, will handle the 11-year-old brown gelding that opened the season with victories in the Atlanta Cup, the Carolina Cup and the Virginia Thoroughbred Association Plate.
The field for the National is the best in the eight years that it has been run. The 1975 Eclipse award winner as top steeplechaser in the country, Life's Illusion, will make its first start this spring. Dough Fout will handle the 6-year-old bay mare, rated by some as potentially the greatest steeplechaser in history, in its first race over jumps since it finished our of the money in the $100,000 Colonial Cup last fall.
Ballet Master, winner, of the Kent here on Memorial Day, will carry an added six pounds Saturday, but will have the riding services of Joey Ruhsam, the first woman ever to win a sanctioned stakes race over jumps.
Fair Hill is the only stop on the hunt race circuit that offers parimutuel wagering. The William du Pont-designed course is 12 miles from the Rising Sun-North East exit off the Kennedy Memorial Highway on Rte. 273.