Polstar, making his first U.S. start, charged to a 1 1/2-length victory in the $20,000 Budweiser Holiday Cup, the featured Ratings Handicap of Saturday’s 25th annual Aiken Fall Steeplechase.
Owned by Amy Taylor Rowe and Apple Equipment, Polstar was last of nine for the first circuits of the South Carolina course and began his move under jockey Paddy Young approaching the last fence.
Champion owner Irv Naylor’s Stormy Alex led over the last, and Polstar overtook him before drawing clear approaching the finish line. Check Mark Stables’ Mr. Lickety, a winner at the Aiken Spring Steeplechase, also moved from the back of the field to take third money, 7 1/4 lengths behind Stormy Alex. Aquies, also owned by Naylor, finished fourth.
Trained by Leslie Young, Polstar run the Holiday Cup’s 2 1/4-mile distance in 4:16.60 on turf rated as good.
French-bred Polstar notched his first win in almost exactly a year, after scoring in Wincanton’s Bruton Handicap Hurdle last Oct. 25.
Polstar was the afternoon’s second winner for the Youngs, who also combined forces for a 5 3/4-length victory by Rowe’s Green Lazer in a maiden claiming hurdle.
With a victory aboard Buckshot Racing Stables’ Longing to Travel, Kieran Norris maintained his lead in the jockey standings with 13 victories.
Sean McDermott, the top jockey by earnings, won the afternoon’s opener on Naylor’s River Rush in a maiden hurdle and is tied with Ross Geraghty with 10 wins. Jack Doyle, now on the sidelines, has 11 wins.