Voss duo heads Grand National field

Welter Weight, `Sullivan' ran 1-2 in Elkridge-Harford

April 21, 2001|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

The Tom Voss-trained entry of Welter Weight and Sam Sullivan will be the horses to beat today in the $30,000 Grand National Steeplechase at Butler.

Defending Grand National champion Welter Weight, a model of consistency, and Sam Sullivan finished 1-2 two weeks ago in the Elkridge-Harford point-to-point feature at Voss' farm and will not have to contend with 2000 Maryland Hunt Cup winner Swayo, who is sidelined by an injury.

Nine entries are scheduled to vie in today's race, a three-mile test over timber fences beginning at 3:30 p.m.

However, five of those are cross-entered in the secondary feature, the $15,000 Benjamin H. Murray Memorial, and some are likely to be scratched from the Grand National. Included are Jack S. Griswold's Pleasant Host, Whitewood Farm's Bowman's Crossing, Northwoods Stable's Flood Relief, Arthur W. Arundel's Bavario and Irvin S. Naylor's Make Me A Champ.

Only one horse returns from last week's My Lady's Manor race that was dominated by Voss trainee Ironfist. That is Floating Interest, who finished fourth at the Manor and is scheduled to be ridden by former Maryland flat-track jockey Charles Fenwick III.

Welter Weight is now 13 and is still "going very well" according to Voss. "At the moment, I have no thought of scratching either one. We're going to try Sam Sullivan to see how he handles the bigger fences."

The F. Bruce Miller-trained entry of Southwoods and Make Me A Champ could pose the biggest threat to Voss' duo, although Southwoods, once a major force in the sport, is battling encroaching age as well. (He's 14).

The Grand National course has been manicured to ensure good footing and has good growth except in a barren field around the eighth fence.

Grand National field

Horse...Rider...Trainer

Bavario...S. Kelly...C. Fenwick Jr.

Bowman's Crossing...B. Moran...R. Valentine

a-Welter Weight...A. Smithwick Jr....T. Voss

Pleasant Host...B....Curry...E. Dixon

Flood Relief...W....Cushny...R. Welsh

b-Southwoods C....Fenwick III...F.B. Miller

a-Sam Sullivan...J. Gillet...T. Voss

Floating Interest...C. Fenwick III...S. Neilson

b-Make Me A Champ W. Meister F.B. Miller

a-Thomas H. Voss-trained entry.

b-F. Bruce Miller-trained entry.

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