Middleburg jockey Michael Cooney rode Stage Radiance to a $45,000 International Gold Cup win in 7 minutes 472/5 seconds at Great Meadow in The Plains yesterday.
Stage Radiance held off Shimmer Shimmer, who was ridden by Diana Gillam, to win by 31/4 lengths. Sovereign Storm, ridden by Richard Boucher, took third, and Corona Effect, with William Meister aboard, finished fourth.
Favorite Ironfist lost rider Roger Horgan at the fourth of 20 fences as front-runner Hall of Angels, trained and ridden by Jack Fisher, continued to widen a considerable advantage over the five-horse field that remained.
When Fisher fell at the 17th fence, Sovereign Storm and Stage Radiance dueled for the lead. As Sovereign Storm tired before the last fence, Shimmer Shimmer rallied.
"He gave me a big run at the head of the stretch, and I nearly got up to [Sovereign Storm]," Gillam said.
Winning trainer Louis "Paddy" Neilson III said he doubts Stage Radiance could have beat Ironfist had Horgan stayed in the irons.
"But our horse is a nice horse," Neilson said of the 9-year-old bay gelding, owned by Jill Fanning of Unionville, Pa. "He likes this course and jumps well over this course."
The Don Yovanovich-owned and -trained Hendler won the $20,000 Internosis Allowance Hurdle race in 4:521/5 seconds, leaving The Knife Speaks and Colvin Ryan 81/2 lengths back.
"We were running so hard at the last fence that you had to be dead right to come up and jump it, [and] it might have been a little too long for [Swoop and Soar] and he couldn't make it," said winning jockey Richard Boucher. Until his fall at the last fence, Swoop and Soar, with Robert Walsh aboard, had been a serious contender.
Cooney clocked a second win when Northern Cowboy took the $10,000 maiden hurdle race in 4:44. Cooney rated the 4-year-old chestnut off the pace until the 10th of 13 fences, where he successfully dueled The Barker, who took second with French rider Eric Selter. Desert Fling, ridden by Englishman David Dunsdon, finished third.
Dunsdon won the $20,000 L.F. Jennings International Fegentri World Cup Hurdle in 4:514/5 by 31/4 lengths over Selter on Snowball Flannagan. The race, for international amateur riders, drew jockeys from Ireland, Italy, Sweden, and the Netherlands.
In the $15,000 hurdle, Sur La Tete crossed the finish first but jockey Christopher Read forgot to weigh himself after the race and was disqualified, relinquishing first place to Bobsingstheblues and Jeff Murphy.
In other races, Vintage Class won the $15,000 Steeplechasers Hurdle, French Connection won the $10,000 Old Dominion Turf Championship and Tip the Band took the International Fegentri World Cup Flat.