Straylight Racing’s Invocation remained undefeated for the year when he scored a two-length victory over Eve Ledyard’s Go Get the Basil in the Steeplechase at Charleston’s featured $30,000 ratings handicap on Sunday. Apple Equipment’s Oskar Denarius finished third.
The South Carolina meet brought down the curtain on the 2018 National Steeplechase Association season and decided several annual championships.
Darren Nagle scored a five-length victory in the afternoon’s first race with Irv Naylor’s Moss Code to secure his second straight title as champion jockey by wins. With another strong fall season, Nagle had 17 victories for the year.
Jack Doyle, who led for much of the year, had been tied with Nagle going into the Charleston meet and finished second in the standings with 16 wins. Moss Code prevailed in the maiden claiming hurdle for trainer Cyril Murphy.
Jack Fisher went into the Charleston meet with a one-race lead in the trainer standings over Ricky Hendriks, and he went two up with a victory by Noble Stables’ Dynaformersrequest in a $30,000 Sport of Kings maiden hurdle. Willie McCarthy rode the Dynaformer gelding, who was Fisher’s 22nd winner of the year.
Hendriks struck one race later when Rosbrian Farm’s Caldbeck won an allowance hurdle for three-year-olds and locked up the title for the steeplechase sport’s youngest competitors. Ross Geraghty, the year’s champion jockey by purse earnings with $716,100, rode the British-bred gelding, who had won Far Hills’ Gladstone Stakes.
Invocation also won at Far Hills on Oct. 20, taking a tough ratings handicap in his first start in more than a year. Trained by William Santoro, Invocation carried the Charleston handicap’s 158-pound highweight as the highest-rated horse in the field. Sean McDermott was in the saddle. The French-bred five-year-old ran the 2 1/4-mile distance in 4:25.80 on turf rated as good.
Hendriks trained Go Get the Basil and finished the season with 21 wins. Fisher’s win gave him his seventh consecutive training title by wins, and he also is the year’s champion trainer by purse earnings with $963,850, $50,100 ahead of Hendriks.