NEW KENT, Va.--Richard Valentine saddled Master McGrath to win the $40,000, 2 1/4 mile Maiden Special Weight Hurdle at Colonial Downs on Friday, Aug. 25.
Master McGrath, owned by Michael Byrne's Park Stud and ridden by Harry Beswick, ran fourth, then moved up to third in the four horse field before moving up on the final turn and slowly gaining on Beowulf, trained by Willy Dowling, then edging away to win by 2 lengths with Beowulf second, finishing in 4:08 1/5.
Master McGrath had run 11 times on the flat, mostly at Woodbine in Canada, with a maiden claiming win and a third in an allowance.
He had run twice inn recognized hurdle races, being pulled up each time, before winning at Colonial.
"He ran second twice in point-to-points, at Old Dominion and Middleburg," said Valentine. "Then I ran him back too quickly at Great Meadow and Malvern in May, but he was too soft."
"Today was a soft spot,so it was a great spot for him to get confidence," said Valentine. "I'm not sure where he'll race next. I have to talk to his owner. This was his first jump winner. He's from Kilkenny and is a great friend of Willie Mullins, so he's a jump guy. But he''d never had a North American jump winner before."
JACK FISHER saddled Riverdee Stable and Ten Strike Racing's Rocket One, ridden by Tom Garner, to win the $30,000 Maiden Starter Hurdle by 7 1/4 lengths over Auction Kingdom, trained by Neil Morris, finishing eased in 4:15 1/5..
Rocket One is by Into Mischief out of an Afleet Alex mare, another well bred gelding found by Riverdee's Sean Clancy.
Rocket One had finished second twice in his two previous hurdle races at Great Meadow and Radnor after winning twice on the flat before being converted to hurdles.
Dante's Fire, owned by James Steinbrook,J ames Bonanni and PathFinder Racing, trained by Neil Morris and ridden by Beswick, won the $30,000 Maiden Starter Hurdle by a neck over Reassured, trained by Mark Beecher.
Dante's Fire ran fourth in the six horse field, began closing ground on the pacesetters over the last fence and caught Reassured in late stretch for the win.
This was Dante's Fire's second start over fences after finishing second in his first at Colonial.
He had run 19 times on the flat with three wins, one in an allowance race.
With his win, Fisher moved into the lead in Trainer, Money Won with $564,350 over Leslie Young, with $503,500, while Young continues to lead in Races Won, with 22 to Fisher's 12.
Beswick leads in Rider, Races Won with12 wins to Graham Watters 10 wins, while Watters leads in Money Won with $372,000 over Barry Foley with $314,150.