Last year, he followed his Lonesome Glory victory with a fourth in the Grand National at Far Hill, N.J., but then won the Colonial Cup at Camden, S.C. to win the Eclipse as 2007’s top steeplechase horse.
This year, the 7-year-old Concern gelding won the Georgia Cup and Iroquois and made the Lonesome Glory his fourth straight Grade 1 victory. And this was despite a four-month layoff and spotting his rivals from four to 20 pounds as the 158-pound highweight in the Lonesome Glory.
Good Night Shirt settled quickly to track longshot Red Letter Day, and used his smooth, huge stride to maintain position. In the lane for the final time, he again jumped well with jockey William Dowling and went on to an easy 3 ¾-length victory in 4:24.88.
“He normally goes out to the front but with five months off we decided not to be the lead horse, with all that weight,” Dowling said. “He kind of took off and dove at the first fence, and I was able to get him back. He’s an impressive horse. I’ve waited a lifetime for that.”
Good Night Shirt paid $2.80 to win.
Sermon of Love got up late to neck Red Letter Day for the place. It was another neck back to Duke of Earl (IRE). Dark Equation, Dalucci (IRE), Best Attack and Mon Villez (FR) trailed.
GRADE 1 LONESOME GLORY STEEPLECHASE QUOTES
Winning trainer Jack Fisher (No. 7 Good Night Shirt): “Any idiot could train him. He does everything right. Today he was giving away 20 pounds to just about everybody. Big Brown can’t do that. It’s a lot of weight. But he’s such a classy horse. I’ve been riding and working him to get him used to it – I’m 155 pounds, so with the tack and everything it’s about 170 pounds. His works have been lackadaisical but you find that in older horses. Fair Hill is next.”
Winning jockey William Dowling (Good Night Shirt): “He normally goes out to the front but with five months off we decided not to be the lead horse, with all that weight. He kind of took off and dove at the first fence, and I was able to get him back. He’s an impressive horse. I’ve waited a lifetime for that.”