Demonstrative to defend Grand National title at Far Hills

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

October 14th, 2015

American steeplechasing's richest event, the $300,000 Grand National (G1) over 2 5/8 miles, will be contested Saturday at Far Hills, New Jersey, but without divisional leader Bob Le Beau among the field of nine. The New York Turf Writers Cup (G1) and Lonesome Glory (G1) winner will, presumably, train up to next month's Colonial Cup (G1), the final Grade 1 hurdle of the season.

Bob Le Beau's absence gives reigning divisional champion Demonstrative an opportunity to return to his best form. The eight-year-old virtually clinched his 2014 title with a 3 3/4-length win in the Grand National, giving him three Grade 1 wins on the season. After a season-opening win by a neck in the Iroquois (G1) at Nashville in May, Demonstrative finished third as the odds-on choice in the A.P. Smithwick Memorial (G1) at Saratoga, and then left the course at the 10th fence when far behind in the Turf Writers Cup.

Dawalan could move up considerably in his second U.S. appearance for owner Irv Naylor and trainer Cyril Murphy. The relatively young five-year-old, who had been off since the Grand National meeting at Aintree in April, rallied for third in the September 24 Lonesome Glory, finishing only 1 1/2 lengths in back of Bob Le Beau.

Naylor and Murphy will also be represented by Irish import Rawnaq, who makes his U.S. debut here; 13-year-old Decoy Daddy, a multiple winner of the Temple Gwathmey (G3) and National Hunt Cup (G3); and Charminster, whom Dawalan beat out for third by a nose in the Lonesome Glory.

Other domestic entries are Alajmal, a past winner of the Colonial Cup who was far up the course in the Turf Writers Cup and Lonesome Glory, and the multiple Grade 1-placed All Together, owned and trained by David Jacobson.

Completing the field are European invaders Hunt Ball, unplaced in four U.S. Grade 1 appearances in 2013, and Eshtiaal.

(Demonstrative photo: NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography)