HOLLYWOOD — Champagne was sprayed on the finish of the Steeplechase of Charleston on Sunday on the Stono Ferry Racetrack, and never simply in honor of the newly topped jockey of the yr.
The bubbly flowed to mark the top of a troublesome season for the Nationwide Steeplechase Affiliation, impacted as a lot as every other sport by the coronavirus pandemic. And the Steeplechase of Charleston, the ultimate occasion of the NSA season, may simply have proven the way in which ahead in the course of the pandemic for the steeplechase, a staple occasion in South Carolina cities corresponding to Charleston, Aiken and Camden.
Races in Aiken and Camden have been worn out earlier this yr by the pandemic, as was about two-thirds of the NSA schedule. The Steeplechase of Charleston, owned by the dad or mum firm of The Publish and Courier, was solely the second occasion of the season to permit spectators.
“We have proved immediately that, even underneath COVID-19 restrictions, it’s doable to drag off a really profitable occasion,” stated race director Toby Edwards, who additionally runs races in Aiken and Camden. “I am very proud we have been in a position to pull this off. I hate to say that I do not know what the brand new regular is, however we confirmed what is feasible.”
Ticket gross sales have been restricted to about 50 % of the capability of the 60-acre property at Stono Ferry, and spectators sported protecting masks together with conventional bowties and colourful head gear. Even after per week of rain, the grounds weren’t almost as muddy as that they had been final yr.
“The monitor is in a lot better form,” stated proprietor/coach Kate Dalton, whose horse Mr. Sarinana gained the ultimate race of the day, The Alston Cup.
On the monitor, the day belonged to Corridor of Fame coach Jonathan Sheppard and jockey Gerard Galligan, the NSA’s coach and jockey of the yr within the remaining standings.
Sheppard had already clinched the highest coach award earlier than coming to Charleston, however Galligan trailed rival Michael Mitchell by one victory heading into the Steeplechase of Charleston.
Sheppard and Galligan teamed to brush the primary 4 races, a uncommon achievement on the NSA circuit.
Galligan, a 29-year-old Irishman and the son of a bookmaker in County Kildaire, referred to as it “the very best day of my profession.”
“It was the primary time a coach has gained 4 on the cardboard in America,” Galligan stated. “And it’s totally uncommon for a jockey to win 4 in a row. I am in shock, I am speechless.”
Galligan rode 4 Sheppard-trained horses to victory: Excessive Sierra within the Night Publish Cup, Penitence within the Writer Cup, Guess the Pot in The Publish and Courier Cup and Zoom Zoom Zoe in The Editor Cup, all run at 2¼-miles.
“It was a type of once-in-a-lifetime days,” Galligan stated. “I walked the course, and it was somewhat bit softer inside. So I plotted the identical monitor each time, shifting somewhat bit wider, and that helped. However it was the largest day of my profession, for positive. I had by no means been in competition for the jockey title earlier than, so that is big for my profession.”
Solely the husband-and-wife group of jockey Bernard Dalton and proprietor/coach Kate Dalton may sluggish the Sheppard/Galligan duo. The Daltons’ Mr. Sarinana completed half a size forward of Galligan’s journey Lap of the Gods within the fifth and remaining race.
Sheppard and Galligan, and their horses’ homeowners, took residence $32,700 of the $65,000 purse.
“The final I keep in mind a coach and jockey profitable 4 races was within the Nineties,” race director Edwards stated. “It is an unimaginable feat for a coach to come back to a race and win 4, and to get beat within the final by the shortest of brief noses. Very uncommon, not simply in America however world wide.
“I feel the coach was decided that his jockey was going to win the title, and so they got here loaded for bear.”
Galligan ended up with 14 victories on 61 mounts for the season, whereas Mitchell was second with 11 victories in 62 rides. Sheppard claimed 20 wins in 79 begins for the season.
Steeplechase of Charleston outcomes
Night Publish Cup ($7,500 purse)
Horse (jockey, coach)
1. Excessive Sierra (Galligan, Sheppard); 2. Lemon Once more (Mitchell, Thompson); 3. Vincent Van Gogo (Watters, Morris); 4. Western Crusader (Dalton, Dalton); 5. Pretty Sundown (Geraghty, Gomena); 6. Duellist (Foley, Davies).
Writer Cup ($7,500)
1. Pentitence (Galligan, Sheppard); 2. Yankee Doodle Boy (Foley, Fout); 3. Sim Card (Dalton, Dalton); 4. Choklitcoverdonut (Geraghty, Wofford); 5. Argentic (Macauley, Morris); 6. Bowled Over (Mitchell, Dowling).
Publish and Courier Cup ($20,000)
1. Guess The Pot (Galligan, Sheppard); 2. Thomas Cubitt (Mitchell, Younger); 3. Compass Zone (Watters, McDermott); 4. Sherkali (Macauley, Kingsley); 5. Eagle Fifty (Foley, Fout); 6. Thomond Park (Geraghty, Gomena).
Editor Cup ($15,000)
1. Zoom Zoom Zoe (Galligan, Sheppard); 2. Notjudginjustsayin (Mitchell, Fisher); 3. Animal Kingston (Watters, Morris); 4. Mighty Mark (Dagle, Neilson); 5. Junonia (Dalton, Morris); 6. Undisclosed (Foley, Fout).
Alston Cup ($15,000)
1. Mr. Sarinana (Dalton, Dalton); 2. Lap of the Gods (Galligan, Sheppard); 3. Cainudothetwist (Macauley, Kingsley); 4. Koko Star (Foley, Fout); 5. Bogey’s Picture (Watters, McDermott); 6. Heaven Made (Geragthy, Sheppard).