Katnap Heads Foreign Quest for U.S. Grand National

Profile Picture: Alastair Bull

October 19th, 2017

While most eyes in North American Thoroughbred racing are looking toward the Breeders’ Cup, the country’s best jumpers head to Far Hills, New Jersey this weekend for the American Grand National.

At $400,000, the Grand National is the richest jumps race in the United States, and it’s attracted three horses from Europe.

Katnap arrives from the barn of Joseph O’Brien, the son of Aidan O’Brien and a former leading jockey who’s now turned to training. He finished second in April in the Randox Health Topham Steeplechase, a grade three steeplechase over the Grand National fences at Aintree, and warmed up for this with a sixth-place finish at Navan.

From Britain comes Hammersly Lake, whose owner Robert Aplin and trainer Charlie Longdon saddled Sharp Rise to finish third in this race last year. Hammersly Lake won at Perth in Scotland at his most recent outing.

The third invader has already raced in the United States: Casino Markets, who finished fourth in the Lonesome Glory Handicap at Belmont Park last month.

Most of the horses that figured in the finish of the Lonesome Glory are back for this race: the winner, All the Way Jose, second-place finisher Modem, and fifth-placed Mr. Hot Stuff.

All the Way Jose, trained by Jonathan Sheppard, was impressive in the Lonesome Glory and should acquit himself well again. Modem, who arrived from Ireland earlier this year, will be seeking a first victory for his new connections after three consecutive second-place finishes in grade one jumps races –the Lonesome Glory, the New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap, and the A.P. Smithwick Memorial Steeplechase.

Presenting a good challenge to them could be Moscato, from the stable of Jack Fisher. Brought to the U.S. from Britain at the beginning of the year, he’s had six starts for four wins, the most recent being the William Entenmann Memorial Hurdle Stakes at Belmont Park Sept. 21.

Also worth watching is Jamarjo, who hasn’t raced since winning the National Hunt Cup Hurdle at Malvern May 20.