MIDDLEBURG, Va. — Lyonell, racing in the colors of Robert A. Kinsley of Seven Valleys, Pa., took the lead over the last national fence and went on to win Saturday’s $75,000, Grade 2 Temple Gwathmey Handicap, the feature race of the 98th annual Middleburg Spring Races.

With leading 'chasing rider Jack Doyle of Monkton, Md. in the saddle for trainer Elizabeth Voss, the German-bred gelding defeated nine rivals in the 2-1/2-mile contest over national fences by settling off the pace setters early on and then making his move on the second turn of the Glenwood Course.

After making the lead, Lyonell and Doyle were forced to repel a challenge from Zanjabeel and Ross Geraghty. At the wire, the result was Lyonell by 1-1/4 lengths ahead of Zajabeel who was 6-1/2 lengths ahead of the pace setting Mercoeur and Shane Crimin.

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Despite winning Far Hills' Appleton Handicap last year, Lyonell was assigned a 140 pound impost. The over 6-foot tall Doyle was able to tack 146 pounds and was riding six pounds over. Mrs.S.K. Johnston, Jr.'s Mr Hot Stuff, the winner of Far Hills' American Grand National in October, finished fifth as the starting highweight at 158.

Lyonell ran the 2-1/2 miles in 5:34.40 over a firm course.

One race earlier, Irvin S. Naylor's Super Saturday took the lead three fences out and went on to a 2-1/2-length lead in the $30,000 Middleburg Hunt Cup at 3-1/4 miles over timber fences.

With all seven starters carrying 165 pounds, Super Saturday and jockey Gerald Gallaghan fought off a challenge from Michael A. Smith's LeChavalier and Jack Doyle. Doc Cebu, the 2017 timber champion for owner Charles Fenwick and champion trainer Jack Fisher, finished third.

At Butler, Md...

Trainer Joe Davies and amateur rider Eric Poretz were the stars of the afternoon as they swept all three races on the Grand National card.

Davies opened the afternoon when he sent Irwin L. (Skip) Crawford's Senior Senator from his yard at Monkton over to Butler to win the $50,000 Grand National at 3-1/4 miles over timber fences for horses ridden by amateurs.

Senior Senator, the 2016 Maryland Hunt Cup winner, defeated eight rivals after setting the early pace and then getting a breather halfway through the race. That on-course respite allowed Ann Jackson's Raven's Choice and Mark Beecher to seize the lead and Derwins Prospector and Gonzague Cottreau to move into second.

When Poretz and Senior Senator renewed their efforts, they got by Raven's Choice again. Derwin's Prospector lost the French amateur Cottreau. At the wire, it was Senior Senator by 1-1/4 lengths ahead of Raven's Choice with Black and Blue Stables' Monstaleur finishing third.

Senior Senator ran the 3-1/4 miles in 6:06 on a firm turf course.

Davies and Poretz lost no time in claiming their second win of the picture perfect afternoon when Sportsman's Hall's Hill Tie defeated nine rivals to win the $20,000 Benjamin H. Murray Memorial at 3-1/4 miles over timber fences.

Hill Tie was three parts of a length to the good of Irv Naylor's Aquies with Eddie Keating aboard for Katherine Neilson. Kinross Farm's Irish-bred Pocket Talk, another Davies trainee, was third in the race completed in 5:58.20.

The $15,000 Western Run Plate, a 3-mile race over timber for amateur apprentice riders, gave Davies and Poretz their personal pick three when Frand A. Bonsal, Jr.'s Irish-bred Stand Down defeated six rivals.

Shelia Williams's Straight To It took second money with Owings aboard. Hyggelig Haven's Irish-bred Political Theatre ran third with Paul O'Neill up.

They ran three miles in 6:25.40.

Maryland's unofficial 'Timber Triple Crown' concludes Saturday with the $100,000 Maryland Hunt Cup.

‘Chasing Stats

Spring arrived at last in time for the Middleburg Spring and Grand National steeplechase cards. With those races run, here are the win-place-show standings for the equine and human awards the National Steeplechase Association will present at the close of the 2018 season in late November.

Owners, Purse Money Won:

  • Stonelea Stables, $90,000
  • Rosbrian Farm, $76,100
  • Irvin S. Naylor, $69,100

Trainers, Races Won:

  • Jonathan Sheppard, 5
  • Ricky Hendriks, 3
  • Richard Valentine, 3
  • Joseph G. Davies, 3
  • Katherine Neilson, 3

Trainers, Purse Money Won:

  • Jonathan Sheppard, $140,700
  • Ricky Hendriks, $110,350
  • Julie Gomena, $109,900

Riders, Races Won:

  • Jack Doyle, 7
  • Eric Poretz, 4
  • Darren Nagle, 4

Riders, Purse Money Won:

  • Jack Doyle, $166,300
  • Ross Geraghty, $102,700
  • Mark Watts, $97,200

Horses, Purse Money Won:

  • Balance the Budget, $90,000
  • Lyonell, $45,000
  • Personal Start, $45,000

Timber Horse Owner, Purse Money Won

  • Robert E. Kinsley, $45,000
  • Irvin S. Naylor, $33,300
  • Irvin L. Crawford, $30,000

Timber Horses, Purse Money Won

  • Lyonell, $45,000
  • Senior Senator, $30,000
  • Super Saturday, $18,000
  • Zanclus, $18,000

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