THE PLAINS, Va.--Jack Fisher and Jonathan Sheppard, standing first and second in both Trainers Races and Money Won, dominated the International Gold Cup on Oct. 26, between them winning five of the six hurdle races.
Fisher won the two featured races, the $75,000 David "Zeke" Ferguson Memorial 2 1/8 mile hurdle with Gibralfaro, and the $75,000, 3 1/2 mile International Gold Cup Timber with his mother's Schoodic, and also won the $40,000 Maiden Hurdle with Brianbakescookies.
Sheppard saddled his own homebred Ebullience to win the $25,000 Rating Handicap at 2 miles and 1 furlong, and Hudson River Farms' Skydiving to win the $45,000, 2 1/8 mile Allowance Hurdle.
Mrs. John R.S."Dolly" Fisher's Schoodic won the timber stakes by 2 1/2 lengths over the division's leading money winner Andi'amu, trained by Leslie Young.
"She was so excited," said Fisher of his mother's reaction.
FISHER SAID that Schoodic is finished for this year.
"He'll just hang out for the winter," said Fisher. "I thought about letting my father hunt him over the winter, but then I thought that wasn't really a good idea. He'll just be turned out for the winter."
"It was nice to have the jockey listen to me," said Fisher of Hadden Frost's ride. "I gave him instructions and he did just what I said."
Schoodic broke on top but quickly dropped behind Andi'amu, drafting 2 or 3 lengths behind the leader for the first three miles and moving into the lead three fences from home.
Sean Clancy's Riverdee Stable's Gibralfaro, rested since his second place finish in the Turf Writers at Saratoga, won the Ferguson hurdle stakes by 3 1/2 lengths over Hinterland, also trained by Fisher.
The hurdle stakes was disrupted when No Wunder, who had lost his rider earlier, ran into Sempre Medici, who was leading at the time, on the last turn, causing Sempre Medici to lose his rider, Darren Nagle.
"I was quite happy with my position," said Gibralfaro's rider Mikey Mitchell. "He's such a cool horse. He jumped fantastic. He's fantastic to ride, he really tries. I saw the loose horse coming towards us. Luckily, I just managed to avoid him."
"He was second in the Turf Writers," said Clancy. "Our choice was between the Grand National and here. He'd run a hard race in Saratoga, so we decided to come here. Plus, it's my hometown. My father was a great fried of Zeke Ferguson, so it's fun to win a race named for him."
"Ebullience is a nice homebred," said Sheppard. "I was disappointed to see in the program that he's 7 years old. He's taken his time in coming around. But he's run well this year. This was his second win. He's a nice little horse."
Ebullience won by 1/2 length over Gaye Breeze with another Sheppard homebred, Hepcat, placing third,
"I own Skydiving in partnership with Ed Swyer's Hudson River Farms," said Sheppard. "Ed was there, too. It was a good race."
Skydiving, who led the whole way, was quick and efficient over the fences and won by 1/2 length over Big Bend, who is by Union Rags.
Dapper Dan, owned by Donna T. Rogers, ridden by Graham Watters and trained by Neil Morris, won the $40,000, 3 miles Steeplethon by 5 1.2 lengths over Mercoeur, trained by Leslie Young.
"He ran like the favorite," said Watters. "He needs something to run at, so I had to take him back. He took some holding. He jumps one hedge and locks on to the next."
"He's a Va-bred, so I was thrilled to have my Va-bred win here," said Rogers. "The heavens were smiling on us today."
THE HENDRIKS made it a family affair in the $20,000, 2 1/4 miles Conditioned Claiming Hurdle at Aiken. also on Oct. 26.
Diplodocus, owned by Ricky Hendrik's Morning Star Farm, trained by Ricky and ridden by his son McLane, won the race by 1/2 length over Riverdee Stable's Bite the Bit, trained by Sheppard.
"He jumped great," said McLane. "He ran the whole race on the bit. He dragged me the whole way."
Kathy Neilson saddled Irv Naylor's Mighty Mark, ridden by Alain Cawley, to win the $15,000, 2 1/4 mile maiden Claiming Hurdle by 8 1/2 lengths.
"I knew if I didn't do too much on the first circuit that I could push him on in the second circuit," said Cawley. "It worked out well."
Naylor's Family Tree, ridden by Barry Foley and trained by Morris, won the $30,000, 2 1/4 miles Sport of Kings Maiden Hurdle by 2 lengths over Fightinirishtapit, trained by Hendriks.
Timber Town Stable's Lela's gift, trained by Madison Meyers and ridden by Kieran Norris, won the $20,000 2 1/4 miles Filly and Mare Maiden Hurdle by 18 1/2 lengths.