Ricky Hendriks trained three winners at the Aiken Spring Steeplechase in Aiken, S.C., on March 25, including his Mother Wendy’s Any Given Royal in the first division of the $25,000 Imperial Cup maiden race and Wendy’s Surprising Soul in the second division.
Ridden by Ross Geraghty, Any Given Royal won by 3 ½ lengths over Aflutter, owned by Hudson River Farms, trained by Jonathan Sheppard and ridden by Sean McDermott.
Surprising Soul won by 23 ¼ lengths over Jesse O, owned by Flying Horse Farm LLC, trained by Jazz Napravnik and ridden by Willie McCarthy.
“We went to a sale in Kentucky in February last year to buy a filly, which we did,” said Wendy. “I saw Surprising Soul out of his stall, and I said,`I have to have this horse.’”
We looked at his pedigree and vet papers and decided to buy him,” said Wendy.
“We ran him on the flat at Penn National, and he won a race and was second twice,” Wendy said. “Then we started him over fences at Middleburg and he was second, and then he was second in the Gold Cup, just beaten.”
“Number one son had him ready for Aiken,” said Wendy. “Ross said he thought he was a pretty good horse.”
“We got Any Given Royal from Canada last summer,” said Hendriks. “He ran twice last fall.”
Any Given Royal was stakes placed in Canada, running on the flat there from 2012 to 2016, before the Hendriks got him.
Ricky also saddled Winter House (GB), owned by Rosbrian Farm and ridden by Geraghty, to win the 1 ¼ mile Training Flat race.
Janet Elliot trained Christopher Elser’s Full of Joy, ridden by Keith Dalton, to win the 1 mile Training Flat.
Indy’s Legacy, owned by Thistledown Farm, trained by Desmond Fogarty and ridden by McCarthy, won the $15,000 Maiden Claiming Hurdle.
JONATHAN SHEPPARD saddled his own Rare Mix, ridden by Darren Nagle, to win the $20,000 Maiden Hurdle by seven lengths at the Carolina Cup Races in Camden, S.C., on April 1.
Rare Mix is by Partner’s Hero out of Gemini Gem, by Gemini Dreamer.
Rare Mix won four times on the flat at Gulfstream and Penn National, including winning an allowance race at Penn.
The Carolina Cup race was her first time running over fences.
“Three of Gemini Gem’s get all won within a week of each other last year,” said Sheppard. “I knew Rare Mix would be better over fences.”
Show Court (Ire), owned by Mark W. Buyck Jr., trained by Arch Kingsley and ridden by Michael Mitchell, won the featured $75,000 Carolina Cup by seven lengths, with Castle Hill, owned by William L. Pape, trained by Sheppard and ridden by Nagle, second.
Maximum Horsepower, owned by Smallwood Stable, trained by Nancy Ruch and ridden by Bernie Dalton, won the $30,000 Sport of Kings Maiden Hurdle, and Syros, owned by Mrs. S.K. Johnston Jr., trained by Jack Fisher and ridden by Sean McDermott, won the $20,000 Timber race.
Hendriks saddled Rossbrian Farm’s Swansea Mile (Ire), ridden by Geraghty, to win the 1 ¼ mile Maiden Training Flat, and Diplomat, owned by Flying Elvis Stable, trained by Kate Dalton and ridden by Bernie Dalton, won the 1/1/2 Training Flat.
Sheppard returned to the winner’s circle at the Steeplechase of Charleston at Stono Ferry in Hollywood, S.C., on April 8, saddling KMSN Stable’s Fort Collins, ridden by Gerard Galligan, to win the $15,000 Maiden Claiming Hurdle.
“Kevin Galbraith (owner of KMSN Stable) is a pretty enthusiastic owner,” said Sheppard. “When Fort Collins got older and started dropping down in class (running on the flat), someone offered to buy him as a jump prospect.”
Fort Collins had been running in allowance races on the flat, with three wins, five seconds and six thirds, but he had been dropped down to claiming races last year.
Instead of selling him, Galbreath had Sheppard train him over fences, resulting in his winning first time out over fences.
“Kevin seems intrigued by jump races,” said Sheppard. “This was their first jumping win, and now they’re embracing the sport a bit. Kevin has six horses with me.”
Fantastic Song, owned by Mrs. S.K. Johnston, trained by Fenneka Bentley and ridden by McDermott, won the $30,000 Allowance Optional Claiming Hurdles, Zio Elio, owned by Edition Farm, trained by Kate Dalton and ridden by Keith Dalton, won the $25,000 Maiden Hurdle, and Longing to Travel, owned by Buckshot Racing Stables, trained by Neil Morris and ridden by Kieran Norris, won the $20,000 Conditioned Claiming Hurdle, with In Memory of My Fathr Stable;s Petak Mountain, trained by Kingsley and ridden by Emma Clifton,, winning the Training Flat.