Tom Voss, the four-time National Steeplechase Association leading trainer, will send out a formidable pair of runners for the $25,000 Budweiser Holiday Cup, featured race of the 19th annual Aiken Fall Races in Aiken, S.C., on Saturday, Oct. 30. First post time at Ford Conger Field is 1 p.m. for the five-race program, which benefits the Hitchcock Woods Foundation and the Aiken Rescue Squad.
Dumbarton Farm’s Sharps Island, who carries the Budweiser Holiday Cup’s 156-pound high weight, won his maiden victory at Shawan Downs in Hunt Valley, Md., on Sept. 25. Second in the 2009 Native Dancer Stakes on the flat, Sharps Island ran third in a Saratoga Race Course claiming flat race on Sept. 1.
Reigning champion jockey Paddy Young, currently the leader by victories and purse earnings, will have the mount on the seven-year-old Deputy Minister gelding.
Voss also entered wife Mimi’s Farndale, who will carry 138 pounds under the Budweiser Holiday Cup’s allowance conditions. The four-year-old homebred Petionville gelding won a Colonial Downs maiden claimer over fences by 9 1/4 lengths on June 13. Brian Crowley, currently second in the jockey standings by purse earnings, has the mount.
Irvin Naylor has a new contender, Twister Crossing, whom the owner claimed for $15,000 when he finished second by a neck at the Virginia Fall races on Oct. 2. In his previous start, Twister Crossing had finished a good third in a $25,000 allowance hurdle race at Monmouth Park on Sept. 25. Now trained by Brianne Slater, the seven-year-old Twining gelding will be ridden by James Slater.
Never to be overlooked is Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard, the National Steeplechase Association’s current leader by wins and purse earnings. Sheppard entered his Barnstorming, a four-year-old Thunder Gulch gelding who won a Colonial maiden claimer by 8 1/2 lengths on July 11. Danielle Hodsdon, currently second in the jockey standings by wins, will ride.
Owner-trainer Edward Mulligan’s The Editor will seek to repeat a 2009 victory at Aiken Fall. The five-year-old Mr. Greeley gelding most recently finished third in a Morven Park claiming race in Leesburg, Va., on Oct. 9. Paddy Merrigan has a return engagement on The Editor.