Dawalan wins Grand National by a length
Making his second U.S. appearance for owner Irv Naylor, Dawalan captured the $300,000 Grand National (G1) at Far Hills, New Jersey, on Saturday. The most lucrative of the nation's six Grade 1 steeplechase events, the Grand National was contested over 2 5/8 miles.
Trained by Cyril Murphy and ridden by Ross Geraghty, Dawalan won by a length over British invader Eshtiaal in a time of 4:54.20. Rawnaq, also owned by Naylor and making his U.S. debut, was a nose farther back in third.
Demonstrative, the reigning champion steeplechaser who captured last year's Grand National, trailed the field of nine.
"I thought we had to beat Demonstrative," Murphy said. "If we could beat him, it was going to take a very good effort to beat [Dawalan]."
Dawalan finished third to Bob Le Beau in the September 24 Lonesome Glory (G1) at Belmont Park in his first outing since April. He could have a rematch with that rival, to decide divisional honors, in the $100,000 Colonial Cup (G1) at Camden, South Carolina, on November 21.
Bob Le Beau, who also captured the New York Turf Writers Cup (G1) earlier this season and is in need of firmer ground, passed on the Grand National.