Far Hills returns with 6 hurdle races for the Centennial meet. Unfortunately, the timber course was dismantled after the 2018 races and a flat race was not carded this year. Races 1, 2 and 3 will be on Fox Sports 2 starting at 12:30, ending at 3:30. After 3:30, races should be on your local ADW or watch at the National Steeplechase Association site Jump Racing USA – National Steeplechase Association .

The turf is lush and the track is smooth with average moisture, however it will most likely be listed as “good” turf condition. Heavy rain is expected at 4:30 and may impact the last race. There is a slight uphill; about 10 feet of elevation, after the last fence that will separate the contenders from the pretenders.

A new wrinkle this year is that New Jersey Race Commission prohibits use of whips: “jockeys will not be allowed to use the riding crop for any reason “except when necessary to control the horse for the safety of the horse or rider” & “prohibits the use of the riding crop to encourage a horse to run faster under any circumstances.” It will be interesting to see how this is adjudicated since the Presiding Steward Steven Pagano is from Monmouth Park.

Irish trainer Gordon Elliot brings 2 runners. After serving 6 months of his 1 year suspension he was reinstated on September 9.

Race 1 is a stakes restricted to 4YO with a post time of 1:20. There are 4 maiden hurdle runners against 3 winners over hurdles. Winners pick up 3 pounds for each win. #7 Historic Heart has 3 hurdle wins carrying as much as 163 pounds to victory and will be tough to beat in his first US try. #6 Bassmatchi ran well at Belmont and should improve in his 2nd US start. #5 Mr. Sirinana ran well at Foxfield but picks up 10 pounds from that race. #4 Bogey’s Image beat a weak field in a slow time at Shawan Downs. #2 Queens Empire is training well after a good effort at Shawan and can run underneath. Projected order of finish: 6-7-5-2-4-1-3

A) 6-7 C) 5

Race 2 is the Novice Hurdle stakes that features 5 time jump winner (twice over hurdles and 3 times over steeplechase fences) #4 Druid’s Altar making his US debut. Reviewing the ratings for each runner, #4 Druid’s Altar has a 142 rating, towering over the next runners with a 127 rating for #1 City Dreamer and #3 French Light. #6 Ritzy A.P., rating 124, won the Novice stake at Belmont for red hot trainer Neil Morris. From the spring point to point circuit, #6 Ritzy A.P. did win a training flat after the early speed collapsed but more importantly was 0 for 3 over undulating course jump races which he gets today. #3 French Light always hits the board and #1 City Dreamer gets class relief, a top jock, and will run underneath. Projected order of finish: 4-3-1-6-2-5

A) 4

Race 3 is the big race of the day and starts the Cross Country Pick 5 featuring #1 Snap Decision and #2 The Mean Queen, who gets an 8 pound sex allowance, with an eclipse award to the winner. Both are ready to fire. #2 The Mean Queen schooled over fences at Fair Hill with regular rider Richard Condon then worked 5F in 1:01 (galloped out 1:14 for 6F) over Tapeta on Tuesday. No runs up the hill at the 100 acre field down the road from me since the turf was too firm. #1 Snap Decision worked 2 one mile gallops Wednesday with regular rider Graham Watters and trainer Fisher says he’s ready. Fisher says #1 Snap Decision wasn’t fully cranked for his Belmont run but now #1 Snap Decision is ready to go. Gordon Elliot’s runner #4 Chosen Mate gets Lasix but is on an 0 for 7 streak, last winning over jumps at Cheltenham March 2020. Projected order of finish: 1-2-4-3

A) 1 B) 2

Race 4 is a ratings handicap and the horse ratings are accurately reflected in the weight assignments. An FYI observation, #3 Cite refused and dwelt when the starter flag fell in his last 2 training flat races and may refuse again. #4 Ya Boy Ya is highweight, has the most experience over jumps and makes his US debut. #5 Recent Revelations should improve in his 2nd US start. #1 Mighty Mark is on a 3 race win streak, gets in light with 148 pounds and finishes strong. #2 Presence of Mind is 146 lightweight and should improve in his 2nd US start. Projected order of finish: 4-5-1-2-6-3

A) 4-5 B) 1-2

Race 5 is the 3YO stakes and Gordon Elliot’s runner #6 Realist will be tough with a 1st and 2nd from 2 jump starts. #1 Fast Vision is 1 for 1 over jumps and both are making their US debuts. #5 Circus for Voss went wire to wire and won easy at Shawan in a very slow time. Watch the race at this link: 2021 Shawan Downs – Shawan – Race 1 on Vimeo (vimeopro.com) #8 Project Two finished on the board from both jump tries. Projected order of finish: 1-6-5-8-3-2-4-7

A) 6-1 B) 5-8

Race 6 is the filly and mare stake with #4 Down Royal as highweight and the one to beat.#4 Down Royal ran within 4 lengths of The Mean Queen at Nashville. #2 Screen Image had a medication violation and was disqualified at Colonial after beating #4 Down Royal with a 10 pound weight break. Projected order of finish: 4-2-1-3

A) 4

Cross Country Pick 5 grid:

Leg A Race 3 FH – (A) 1 / (B) 2
Leg B Race 5 BEL – (A) 4-5-10 / (B) 1
Leg C Race 6 BEL – (A) 2-4 / (B) 5-3
Leg D Race 4 FH – (A) 4-5 / (B) 1-2
Leg E Race 5 FH – (A) 6-1 / (B) 5-8

Good Luck at the races!