Seven horses looking to climb the ladder in steeplechase competition will line up Saturday, April 9, for the $20,000 Sandhills Cup, featured race of the 60th annual Stoneybrook Steeplechase at the Carolina Horse Park in Raeford, N.C.
The Sandhills Cup, sponsored by the Lumbee River Electric Membership Corp., will be the finale of the five-race program, which attracted 45 entries. The $15,000 Stoneybrook Cup, a maiden hurdle race, has a packed field of 12.
For the Sandhills Cup, a 2 3/8-mile allowance race over National Fences, Roger O’Byrne’s Tizsilk will carry the 152-pound highweight in a very competitive field. Trained by Tom Voss, the six-year-old Tiznow gelding won his steeplechase debut at the Montpelier Hunt Races in Virginia on Nov. 6 after a respectable career on the flat. Champion jockey Paddy Young has the mount.
Second in the allowance weights at 148 pounds is Magalen O. Bryant’s Air Maggy, who hails from the powerful stable of Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard. The five-year-old Sky Mesa gelding won his steeplechase debut last spring and had a good second in a National Steeplechase Association flat race at Monmouth Park on Sept. 25. Brian Crowley will ride.
Also from the stable of 2010 champion trainer Sheppard is Bill Pape’s Silence, who is making his second 2011 start. A maiden-claiming winner by disqualification last year, the seven-year-old Quiet American gelding opened the season with a third-place finish after setting the most of the pace in a claiming race at the Aiken Spring Races on March 26. Silence carries 144 pounds and will be ridden by Danielle Hodsdon.
Also at 144 pounds are Chestermite, Twister Crossing, and Eamonn. Chestermite, owned by Silverton Hill LLC and trained by Leslie Young, had two promising starts over fences last year, concluding with a maiden claiming victory at Montpelier. Xavier Aizpuru will ride the seven-year-old Chester House gelding.
Twister Crossing finished second in his debut over fences at the Virginia Fall Races on Oct. 2, when 2010 leading owner Irvin S. Naylor claimed him for $15,000. The eight-year-old Twining gelding was second again in an allowance race at the Aiken Fall Races on Oct. 30. Trained by Brianne Slater, Twister Crossing will be ridden by James Slater.
Owner-trainer Edward Mulligan’s Eamonn had two third-place finishes in claiming races last season. Liam McVicar has the mount.
Carrying 140 pounds will be Hamilton Farm’s four-year-old Great Halo. Trained by Kathy N. McKenna, Great Halo won his steeplechase debut at the Foxfield Fall Races in Virginia on Sept. 26 but was unplaced in three subsequent starts. Carl Rafter will ride the Great Notion gelding.