Top Striker wins Colonial cup Steeplechase by 10 1/2 lengths
CAMDEN, S.C. (AP) Top Striker broke away for a 10 1/2-length victory Saturday in the 47th running of the $150,000 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup Steeplechase.
The 7-year-old Van Nistelrooy gelding, stabled at a barn across the street from Springdale Race Course, was taken to the lead by jockey Ross Geraghty entering the 17th and final fence of the 2 3/4-mile race. Days of Heaven came in a length and a quarter behind Rawnaq for third in the starting field of 10 jumpers, of which nine finished. The final running time was 5:12.40.
It was Top Striker's second win in a feature at his home course. Owned by Camden's Sue Sensor and trained in Camden by Arch Kingsley Jr., Top Striker won the $50,000 Carolina Cup Steeplechase in the spring of 2014.
Top Striker also snapped Rawnaq's bid to complete an unbeaten 2016 campaign over fences. The winner of last month's $300,000 Grand National in Far Hills, New Jersey, had earned $360,000 from three starts coming into Saturday's feature. The 9-year-old Azamour gelding had already locked up the National Steeplechase Association's Lonesome Glory Champions Award before Saturday's race.
The win was also the second consecutive Colonial Cup victory for Geraghty, an Ireland native who won aboard Dawalan last year.
When entries were announced for the Colonial Cup last week, Kingsley did not have a rider listed. Geraghty, the association's 2012 champion jockey, did not have a horse to ride.
''I was sort of shopping around,'' Geraghty said. ''Honestly, I said to Arch that I didn't want to just take part in the race, I wanted to win it. … I was impressed by (Top Striker). I knew he was a horse that was going to suit no matter what.''
Sean McDermott took Rawnaq to the early lead and was pressed by Days of Heaven, who had Kieran Norris aboard. That allowed Top Striker to settle into a nice galloping pace behind the two leaders.
''He's a bigger, stronger horse now,'' Sensor said of Top Striker. ''He's got so much more confidence and you can place him wherever you want to in a race now and he doesn't try to right you. He will just do his thing.''
Saturday's Colonial Cup meet ended the association's 2016 season.
Rawnaq's owner Irv Naylor had already wrapped up the title of leading owner, and Jack Fisher takes his 10th title as leading trainer in terms of season wins. Rawnaq is the circuit's leading earner.