Page 60 - The Hunt - Spring 2019
P. 60

                  Doc placed third in the $30,000 Middleburg Hunt Cup Stakes on
April 21, won the $35,000 Willowdale Steeplechase Stakes on May 13, an allowance race at Shawan Downs on Sept. 29 and the $30,000 Geneseo Valley Hunt Cup Timber Stakes on Oct. 13.
He followed all that with a victory at the $75,000 International Gold Cup Timber Stakes on Oct. 27, which put him over the top for Timber Horse of the Year.
Fisher has won trainer titles for the past six years. In 2018, he traded the lead with Ricky Hendriks, meet by meet, before coming out on top.
Not that long ago, Fenwick came close to selling Doc. He was on the block in 2016 at the steeplechase auction. The starting bid was $15,000, and no paddles went up for the big gelding. “We were the first horse
in the ring. Nobody was warmed up and ready to go,” he recalls.
Fenwick was riding home to Maryland when he got a call from the auctioneer, asking him to bring back the horse. Angry and embarrassed, Fenwick refused. “The luckiest thing that happened to me
was not having anybody bid on that horse,” he says.
Fenwick did sell an interest in the horse to his primary Bruton Street partners, Michael Hankin and Charles Noell. “We’re all interested in having part of a nice horse,” he says. “We’ve all known each other forever.”
The trio became racing partners in 2013. Each had traveled to England to attend Ascot to see the Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom run. “I was smuggled in the paddock at Ascot, and I see my friend Charlie Noell outside,” Fenwick recalls. “He’s bent out of shape that I’m in the paddock and he’s not.”
Noell and Fenwick got together with Hankin the next morning for breakfast at the Connaught Hotel. They named their partnership after Bruton Street, a byway near the hotel, where Hankin’s firm, Brown Advisory, operates its London office.
Doc still races in Fenwick’s name and his colors. The old rose and white were established by his grandfather, Howard Bruce, owner of Billy Barton, one of only two horses to finish the Grand National in 1929. (Bumped by a riderless horse in the
homestretch, Billy Barton’s jockey fell off, remounted, and finished second, a feat that landed horse and rider on the cover of Time magazine.)
Billy Barton and Doc Cebu have a
lot in common. Both have impressive bloodlines but soured on flat racing. Both trained at Pimlico, where Fenwick’s grandfather discovered Billy Barton. Ninety years later, Fenwick’s brother
and his grandfather’s namesake, Howard Bruce Fenwick, found Doc.
The brothers both love foxhunting. Charlie Fenwick says his affection for
the timbers is rooted in his boyhood. “I grew up next door to the Maryland Hunt Cup, and it was the first thing my brother Bruce and I learned about racing,” he says. “Timber racing is my first love.”
Now 8, Doc is a horse with a feisty personality. “Doc is one you have to watch very carefully. There’s not a gentle side to him,” Fenwick says. “He’s a character who acts like he will bite and kick you—and he probably would. He always has something to say.”
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