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HomeRacingBelfast Banter Breaks By in A.P. Smithwick

Belfast Banter Breaks By in A.P. Smithwick

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After hitting the board in three of six graded begins, Irvin S. Naylor’s Belfast Banter  broke by way of on the highest degree with a sensible rating within the July 19 $150,000 A.P. Smithwick Memorial (NSA-G1), a 2 1/16-mile hurdle check for older horses, at Saratoga Race Course.

Trained by Cyril Murphy and piloted to victory by Barry Foley, the 8-year-old son of Jeremy entered from third-place efforts in the David Semmes Memorial Handicap (NSA-G2) in May at Great Meadow and the Temple Gwathmey Handicap (NSA-G2) in April at Middleburg. He made his fourth start at the grade 1 level, with three previous unplaced finishes in 2022, and visited the winner’s circle for the first time since 2021 at Aintree.

Belfast Banter (IRE), b, 8/g

Jeremy — Sumtin Nice (IRE), by Simply Great (FR)


Owner: Naylor, Irvin, S.

Breeder: Seamus Cooney (IRE)

Trainer: Cyril Murphy

Jockey: Barry Foley

Information provided by
Equibase at time of entry.


Sale Historical past

TICAPR2019 • $38,694 • Consignor: Kingsfield Stud • Purchaser: Direct Bloodstock.

GOFJUN2018 • $32,998 • Consignor: Pine Tree Stud • Purchaser: Patrick Turley & Mark O’Hare.

TAINNH2016 • $11,141 • Consignor: Previous City Stud, agent • Purchaser: T. Hillman.

TAIFEB2016 • ($7,077 RNA) • Consignor: Glynn Stud.

TAINNH2015 • ($12,366 RNA) • Consignor: Glynn Stud.

Belfast Banter tracked close to the rear of the nine-horse discipline as West Newton  rushed as much as take command into the primary flip. Gordon’s Jet  sat just off the pace as Historic Heart  raced in third position ahead of a headstrong Welshman  with the order unchanged throughout the first time around the good inner turf course.

Passing the stands a second time, West Newton widened his margin before veering inward over the seventh fence and losing a touch of ground to a progressing Gordon’s Jet. Meanwhile, a patient Foley kept a firm hold of his charge as he waited for room to tip three-wide into the stretch and unleash his run at the lead.

Belfast Banter had plenty left in the tank and showed an impressive turn of foot to glide past the frontrunners with ease in mid-stretch, drawing off under a celebrating Foley to claim the victory by 6 1/2 lengths in a final time of 3:53.69.

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Historic Heart overtook the tiring front duo for second with Freddy Flintshire  picking up show honors over the high-weighted Noah And The Ark .

Belfast Banter had finished third to his returning Jack Fisher-trained rivals Welshman and Gordon’s Jet last out in the David Semmes when carrying six pounds more than the former and 10 more than the latter. Murphy said a more even weight assignment to that of his familiar rivals helped lead him to victory in their rematch.

“I believed coming here, we would win, but I didn’t think he would do it like that,” said Murphy. “It gives you something to think about moving forward, but today was to be his day from my perspective.”

“Everything went according to plan. They ran a nice gallop and we traveled very, very true to rails. Jumped brilliantly and he made my life easy,” said Foley, who won the first grade 1 of his 18-year riding career.

Murphy said it is possible Belfast Banter could give the 2 1/2-mile Jonathan Sheppard Handicap (NSA-G1) another try on August 16, but will wait and see how his newly-minted grade 1-winner exits this race with the 2 3/8-mile Lonesome Glory Handicap (NSA-G1) on September 14 at Belmont at the Big A as another potential target.

Bred in Ireland by Seamus Cooney, Belfast Banter banked $90,000 in victory, boosting his total purse earnings to $324,103 and improving his lifetime record to 5-7-5 from 29 starts. He returned $35.60 for a $2 win ticket.

Video: A.P. Smithwick Memorial H. (G1)

This press release has been edited for content and style by BloodHorse Staff.

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