KENT, Va.--Ricky Henriks saddled West Newton (GB) to win the first $30,000 Maiden Steeplechase for 4 year olds and up at Colonial Downs on Aug. 2, while Kathy Neilson saddle Glencorrib Sky (Ire) to win the second $30,000 Maiden Steeplechase for 4 year olds that same day.
West Newton, owned by Upland Flats Racing and John W. Lewis and ridden by Harrison Beswick, went to the lead at the start and was never headed, winning by about 10 lengths over Cause For Pardon, trained by Leslie Young, and Westerland (GB), trained by Neilson in a field of nine.
"It was very exciting," said Hendriks. "We had wanted to lay close to the pace, but before the race Harry asked if there was no pace would it be okay if he went to the front, and I told him to use his judgement. He gave him a nice ride."
"We claimed this horse at Radnor for a new owner," said Hendriks. "This is his first horse and this was his first win. He was very excited. He spoke to me last March or April and said he wanted a horse to run in Nashville at Iroquois. He lives in Nashville and has two young kids. West Newton went in the maiden race at Nashville and finished fourth. We had a great time in Nashville."
"Then we ran him at Colonial last week, and he was fourth again," said Hendriks. "Patrick asked if we could run him back, and we did, and he won. Hopefully, he'll run next at Saratoga. Patrick wants a horse to run at Saratoga."
GLENCORRIB SKY, owned by Meadow Run Farm and ridden by Skylar McKenna, ran mid-pack in a tightly bunched six horse field, moving into the lead after the final turn to win by 1/2 length over The Flasche, trained by Young, and Nice to Meet Ya, trained by Keri Brion.
"Glencorrib Sky is from Ireland, but he's appealing because he has American breeding, with Nijinsky on the top side and Gulch on the bottom." said Neilson. "He's a medium size horse, so he appreciates harder ground. We've had him for about five months. He was second in a point-to-point in Ireland in a pretty good race. I bought him for Ben Griswold through an agent, Hammish McCauley."
"It was a short field, but they were all clumped together," said Neilson. "Skylar had him in a good position throughout the race, and he jumped really well for her."
Neilson said she wasn't sure where the horse would go next, that she had to see how he came out of this race.