Check Mark Stables’ Mr. Lickety, a winner at the Aiken Spring Steeplechase, returns to South Carolina on Saturday as the co-highweight for the $20,000 Budweiser Holiday Cup at the Aiken Fall Steeplechase.
Under the conditions of a Ratings Handicap, the top-rated horse or horses carry 158 pounds, and Mr. Lickety will share that assignment with Amy Taylor Rowe’s Polstar, who is making his first U.S. jumps start.
In his only start since an impressive Aiken win on March 26, Mr. Lickety finished fifth in a Queen’s Cup Rating Handicap. Bernie Dalton will ride for trainer Richard Valentine.
Polstar, trained by Leslie Young, will be ridden by Paddy Young, the reigning champion jockey. The French-bred has five wins over fences in an extensive overseas career but is winless this year in six starts.
Ross Geraghty will be aboard Morning Star Farm’s Elusive Evening for trainer Ricky Hendriks. Elusive Evening won an Aiken Spring maiden claiming hurdle and a Block House allowance hurdle before a fifth in a High Hope Ratings Handicap in May.
Also coming out of the Lexington, Ky., race on May 22 is Irv Naylor’s Stormy Alex, who finished second. Trainer Cyril Murphy named Sean McDermott to ride.
Naylor also will be represented by Aquies, who is trained by Kathy Neilson. Gerard Galligan will ride Aquies, who finished sixth in Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle on Oct. 15.
Another graduate of the High Hope race is Stonelea Stables’ homebred Devil’s Wrangler, who finished third. Mark Watts will ride for trainer Julie Gomena.
Here is the field for the $20,000 Budweiser Holiday Cup Ratings Handicap. The horse’s National Steeplechase Association rating is in parentheses at the end of each profile.
Mr. Lickety. 2010 b. g., Powerscourt (GB)—Sugah Sugah, by Northern Baby. Owner: Check Mark Stables. Trainer: Richard Valentine. Jockey: Bernie Dalton. Breeder: Cathy Rountree (Fla.) 2016 record: 2-1-0-0, $13,000. 2015 record: 4-1-1-0, $13,350. Won impressively in his 2016 opener, an Aiken Spring Ratings Handicap, then was fifth in Queen’s Cup Ratings Handicap. Finished sixth in 2015 High Hope optional allowance hurdle after game second in Queen’s Cup Ratings Handicap on April 25. Kicked off the 2015 season with a victory in an Aiken Spring starter allowance hurdle, then fell at Stoneybrook. (110).
Devil’s Wrangler. 2012 ch. g., Cowboy Cal—Satan’s Plume, by Smoke Glacken. Owner: Stonelea Stable. Trainer: Julie Gomena. Jockey: Mark Watts. Breeder: Stonelea Stable (Ky.). 2016 record: 4-1-1-1, $18,500. Finished third in High Hope Ratings Handicap after win in Atlanta Steeplechase maiden claiming hurdle. Finishen second in maiden start over fences at 2016 Aiken Spring. (105)
Polstar (Fr). 2009 b. g., Poliglote (GB)—Star Dancing, by Danehill Dancer. Owner: Amy Taylor Rowe. Trainer: Leslie Young. Jockey: Paddy Young. Breeder: Comte Jean-Jacques de la Rochette (Fr). 2016 NSA record: No starts. Winless in six overseas starts this year. Overall, has five victories in 27 jump starts. (110)
Stormy Alex. 2012 b. g., Afleet Alex—Miss Atlantic, by Stormy Atlantic. Owner: Irv Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Jockey: Sean McDermott. Breeder: Scott Naylor (Pa.). 2016 record: 3-1-1-0, $15,600. 2015 record: No NSA starts. Won maiden effort at Block House and then was well-beaten second in High Hope Ratings Handicap on May 22. Finished last in Saratoga allowance hurdle. (105)
Elusive Evening. 2010 b. g., Elusive Quality—Evening Primrose, by Dayjur. Owner: Morningstar Farm. Trainer: Ricky Hendriks. Jockey: Ross Geraghty. Breeders: Keene Ridge Racing and Darley (Ky.) 2016 record: 3-2-0-0, $21,800. 2015 record: No NSA starts. In first venture over fences, won 2016 Aiken Spring maiden claimer and then Block House claiming hurdle. Finished fifth in High Hope Ratings Handicap. (108)
Majestic Z. 2012 ch. g., Majestic Warrior—Zienat, by Woodman. Owner: Clarke Ohrstrom. Trainer: Richard Valentine. Jockey: Bernie Dalton. Breeder: J. C. Davis Farm (Ky.) 2016 record: 3-1-0-0, $19,000. 2015 NSA record: 2-0-0-0, $1,000. Went off course in Block House claiming hurdle, then was fourth in High Hope Ratings Handicap. Won maiden claiming victory over fences at Stoneybrook. Made 10 flat starts in 2015 without a victory. (100)
Dream Voyage. 2011 gr. or ro. g., Mizzen Mast—Stage Dream, by Theatrical (Ire). Owner: Manown Kiser Jr. Trainer: Michael Berryman. Jockey: Open. Breeders: Bertram and Diana Firestone (Va.) 2016 record: 3-0-0-1, $2,000. 2015 NSA record: 2-1-0-0, $9,000. Finished third in Tryon claiming hurdle, then was pulled up in a High Hope Ratings Handicap. Pulled up 2016 Georgia Cup optional allowance hurdle. In first two starts over fences, won a 2015 Charleston Cup maiden claimer after being pulled up in an Aiken Fall maiden claimer. (103).
Slaney Rock (Ire). 2005 b. g., Rock of Gibraltar (Ire)—Dress Code (Ire), by Barathea (Ire). Owner-trainer: Benjamin C. Swope. Jockey: Erin Swope. Breeder: K. Molloy (Ire). 2016 record: 2-0-0-0., $0. Finished 12th in Virginia Fall Ratings Handicap. In first start since 2012, was pulled up late in Willowdale claiming hurdle. (100)
Aquies. 2012 b. g., Artie Schiller—Quies, by Quiet American. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Jockey: Gerard Galligan. Breeders: Mr. and Mrs. M. Roy Jackson (Ky.) 2016 NSA record: 6-1-3-0, $21,750. 2015 record: 4-0-1-0, $3,900. Finished sixth in Foxbrook Champion Hurdle. Won 2016 Block House maiden claimer by 2 1/2 lengths against a short field, then was second in Willowdale claimer and fourth in Belmont Park’s William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes. Finished second in Stoneybrook and Foxfield maiden claimers. Had winning summer on the flat. (105)