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Friday, April 20, 2012

66th Block House Steeplechase

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Jockey Richard Boucher seeks success again at steeplechase Jockey Richard Boucher of Camden, S.C. returns to the Block House Steeplechase races this year to see if he can again claim the top prize. Boucher won the big race in 2010 and said even after several decades of steeplechase racing, he never gets enough. “There’s nothing better than galloping along with a horse into a fence and knowing that he’s going to sail it with no problem,” Boucher said of his love for steeplechases. “I think its an achievement for the horse and the rider to win a steeple because there are a lot of little things that can happen within a race that can change your performance. In the end it’s all about having a great partnership with your horse – if you have that you can go a long way.” Boucher and wife, Lillith, of Mede Cahaba Stables have entered three horses overall in Saturday’s races. These horses include a young filly American Crossing that will experience its third start over hurdles. Another of their horses will be making his first steeplechase start. Boucher said they’re hoping to see how he does with timing his jumps and galloping. And finally, Flight Movie, a horse that won last month in Aiken and has run twice over hurdles will likely be Boucher’s choice ride for the BlockHouse feature race. Boucher is looking for a strong season after a back injury last October at Morven Park cut his season short. His record was 289-7-3, $162,700. He said he took the winter to heal and is feeling great this year with two wins out of 10 races so far.

Boucher has been riding in America for about 20 years Steeplechasing, plus several years before that in England. He usually competes in between 40-60 races a year over hurdles and in the summertime rides about 100 flat races. Boucher said the Block House track feels more of a traditional a quarter of a mile longer than many of the newer tracks, meaning jockeys need to help their horses along that last turn toward the finish line. “The race course [Block House Steeplechase] I think is a fair course and an honest steeplechase course,” Boucher said. “Flat tracks deal with a horse with more speed but tracks like Tryon bring out the real steeplechase character where you have the up and down hills and it might be for a more versatile horse.” Boucher said he and his family always enjoy returning to the Tryon area for Steeplechase each year. “We’ve had some good times there. Our horses seem to do quite well there and it’s always a friendly atmosphere with an enthusiastic crowd,” he said. – article by Samantha Hurst

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