AIKEN, S.C.--Jonathan Sheppard of West Grove, Pa., had a big day at the Aiken Spring Steeplechase meet on March 24, winning three races, including the featured $20,000 Imperial Cup Ratings Handicap Hurdle, and placing third in another on the six race card.
"Someone said, `It was just like the good old days,'" said Sheppard.
KMSN Atables' Able Archer, ridden by Kieran Norris, won the Imperial Cup by 10 1/2 lengths over Price-Richardson Stable's Indigo Heart, trained by Arch Kingsley, Jr., and ridden by Michael Mitchell, with Irvin Naylor's Borderlinedecison, trained by Katherine Neilson and ridden by Gerard Galligan, finishing third in the seven horse field.
"Able Archer is a homebred of Kevin Galbraith's and his wife Diane," said Sheppard. "They have one broodmare, Fareena. They raced her, and when she was retired, they bred her. She had four foals in a row. Inverness, who won the flat race, and Able Archer are both out of that mare."
"We also have a 3-year-old, High Sierra, and a 2-year-old, Commodore Barry, out of Fareena," said Sheppard.
"KEVIN IS basically retired," said Sheppard. "The Galbraiths started racing on the flat. But now they enjoy the jump races. In flat races, you just go to the races for your one race, but at hunt meets, people make an afternoon of it."
KMSN's Inverness, ridden by Keri Brion, won the James W. Maloney Training Flat race by 1 3/4 lengths over Mark Buyck's Show Court (Ire), trained by Kingsley and ridden by Mitchell, with Rosbrian Farm's Sail Ahoy, trained by Ricky Hendriks and ridden by Ross Geraghty, finishing third.
Sheppard also saddled Riverdee Stables' Bite the Bit, ridden by Jack Doyle, to win the G.H. Bostwick Maiden Hurdle, beating Eve Ledyard's Go Get the Basil trained by Hendriks and ridden by Geraghty, by 2 1/2 lengths.
"(Trainer) Wesley Ward's father called by to say he had a horse that might make a jumper," said Sheppard.
Sheppard took the horses, and Bit the Bit was eventually bought by Riverdee, a partnership that includes, among others, Sheppard and Sean Clancy.
"He improved over the winter," said Sheppard. "He won nicely, He's a nice, useful horse,"
Street Passage, owned by Mrs. George Sensor, trained by Fenneka Bentley and ridden by Doyle, won one of the $15,000 Maiden Claiming Hurdle races by 17 3/4 lengths, with Scout Leader, trained by Lilith Boucher, second, and Gabo, owned and trained by Sheppard, third.
In the other $15,000 Maiden Claiming Hurdle, Neilson saddled Naylor's Change of View to win under Galligan, scoring by 2 1/2 lengths over Corstorphine, owned by S. Bruce Smart, Jr., trained by Jimmy Day and ridden by Sean McDermott.
Kingsley saddle David Richardson's Kilronan to win the Maiden Training Flat race.