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Thursday, September 29, 2022

Sean McDermott and Richard Valentine saddle steeplechase winners at Colonial Downs

NEW KENT, Va.--Sean McDemott trained and rode South Branch Equine's Who's Counting to win the $35,000 Ratings Handicap Hurdle race at Coloniial Downs on Aug. 8, while Richard Valentine saddled Mrs. George Ohrstrom's Connagh's Quay, ridden by Barry Foley, to win the $40,000 Maiden Hurdle.

Whos Counting CoadyWhos Counting (Photo by Coady Photography)Who's Counting won by 6 lengths over Mr.  Bridger, trained by George Laird and New Appointment, trained by Keri Brion.

Who's Counting has been switching from winning flat allowance races to steeplechases, with three wins and two seconds from five starts this year.

"He came last year as a just broken 3-year-old," said McDermott. "He was very green, but he always had a great attitude."

"I started him on the dirt," said McDermott, who ran hiim in flat races seven times, withone win in a turf race, before running him in a Maiden Claiming race over hurdlea at Middleburg this spring, figuring thst Who's Counting would't be claimed out of his first jumping race.

"I figured if he won that he could get in a ratings handicap race," said McDermott. "That plan worked."


McDERMOTT started  him twice more on the flat, with Who's Counting finiashing second in a 1 3/8 mile turf race at Laurel Park.

Connaghs Quay CoadyConnaghs Quay (Photo by Coady Photography)"He needs that distance, but they don't run many races at thst lenght,". said McDermott, who said he's onsidering a Stakes at Colonial or perhaps a hurdle race at Saratoga as Who's Counting nexr start.

"He loves to jump," said McMermott. "It's like giving him a mint. It's a treat."

Connagh's Quay won by 6 lengths over Pacifist, trained by Kate Dalton and Robert's Luxxury, trained by McDermott.

Connagh'e Quay ran eight time on the flat, with his best a second place finish before being switched to hurdles.

This was his third start over fences after finishing sixth twic.


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