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Three-year olds top the bill for NSA finale in Charleston

Posted: November 9, 2017 9:09 a.m.
Updated: November 10, 2017 1:00 a.m.
Tom Didato/C-I

JONATHAN SHEPPARD WILL SADDLE Snuggling for Sunday’s feature in Charleston.

Sunday’s Steeplechase at Charleston brings down the curtain on the National Steeplechase Association season, and the afternoon’s featured race for three-year-olds will provide a glimpse of upcoming seasons.

The three-year-olds are the youngest competitors in jump racing, and past three-year-old champions include Eclipse Award winner Demonstrative and graded stakes winner Schoodic.

The $25,000 allowance hurdle will be one of five races at Stono Ferry Racecourse in Hollywood, S.C. First post time for the season-ending meet will be 1 p.m.

The key matchup in the 2 1/4-mile hurdle will be Hudson River Farms’ Snuggling and Riverdee Stable’s Down Royal.

Snuggling, a half brother to graded stakes winner Parker’s Project, finished first by 2 1/2 lengths in the Far Hills Races’ Gladstone Stakes on Oct. 21 before being disqualified to third for interference at the top of the New Jersey course’s stretch.

Snuggling bumped with Down Royal, sending the Alphabet Soup filly to the far outside of the course. Down Royal regained her composure and closed ground through the stretch to finish third, four lengths behind Snuggling.

Far Hills’ stewards disqualified Snuggling to third position because of the interference and moved Down Royal into the second spot.

Darren Nagle, assured of the year’s champion jockey crown by wins, takes over the mount on Snuggling for Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard. Bernie Dalton will ride Down Royal for his wife, trainer Kate Dalton. The Daltons bred Down Royal in New York.

Four other Charleston competitors ran in the Gladstone, and all will be seeking to improve on their performances. Sean McDermott, who will be the leading jockey by purses won for the second straight year, will be aboard Ballybristol Farm’s Alshibaa for trainer Leslie Young. The Irish-bred finished fourth in the Gladstone.

Also coming out of the Gladstone are Brian Murphy’s and Tara Murty’s Burning Approval (seventh), Eve Ledyard’s Britain (eighth), and Andrea Seefeldt Knight’s What Gives (ninth).

Kieran Norris, the 2016 champion jockey, rides Burning Approval for trainer Murphy; 2012 champion jockey Ross Geraghty has the mount on Britain for trainer Ricky Hendriks; and apprentice jockey Keith Dalton will be aboard What Gives for champion trainer Jack Fisher.

A newcomer to jump racing is Mark B. Grier’s homebred Cross Current, winner of a $30,000 flat maiden race at the International Gold Cup on Oct. 28. Michael Mitchell will ride the Macho Uno gelding for trainer Todd Wyatt.

Completing the field is Redmon Farm’s Crosseyedcricket, an Indiana-bred maiden trained by Lilith Boucher. Shane Crimin has the mount on Crosseyedcricket.

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