AIKEN, S.C.--Keri Brion saddled two winners at the Aiken Fall Steeplechase, both three year olds, which bodes well for her continuing success in next year's races.
Both three year olds are owned by Jordan V. Wycoff, a relatively new steeplechase owner.
Topic Changer, ridden by Barry Foley, won the featured $30,000, 2 1/8 mile Maiden Hurdle by 4 1/2 lengths over Beat Le Bon, trained by Jack Fisher.
Beat Le Bon (Fr) led for most of the race and looked like the winner, while Topic Changer raced at the back of the six horse field after Tiger to Remember lost his rider.
Topic Changer began to move up gradually, caught Beat Le Bon in the stretch and went on to win late.
This was Topic Changer's first race over fences after winning a maiden race at Belmont last June, then finishing ninth in an allowance race and being dropped into a claiming race at Saratoga, where he was claimed by Double B racing.
After finishing last in an allowance race at Belmont on Oct. 7, Wycoff got him and he was switched to jumping.
CLARA BELLE, also ridden by Foley, won the $15,000 Maiden Claiming race by 2 1/2 lengths over Hail to the Chief, trained by Kathy Neilson.
Clara Belle also raced off the pace, moved up gradually, began to make a move a half mile from the finish and pulled clear in the stretch.
It was also Clara Belle's first race over fences.
Wycoff had raced her on the flat after claiming her at the Fair Grounds on Dec.5.2021.
Trained by Michael Maker, she ran seven times on the flat in 2022, all in claiming races, winning a maiden claiming last March.
After finishing fourth in a claiming race at Aqueduct on Sept. 16, Wycoff switched her to steeplechasing and sent her to Brion.
Arch Kingsley saddled his own Cainyoudothetwist to win the $25,000 Filly and Mare Maiden Hurdle by 4 lengths over Fits the Jill, trained by Fisher.
Caiyoudothetwist led all the way in the 2 1/8 mile race.
Bred by Carrington Holdings, Cainyoudothetwist was traied by Kingsley while being raced by Carirngton through her previous race at Foxfield, so this was her first race both owned and trained by Kingsley.
The 5-year-old mare had run 15 times over fences since 2020 and had been competitive in most her previous runs with multiple seconds and thirds prior to breaking her maiden for Kingsley in Aiken.
Leslie Young saddled Ballybristol Farm's Soramondo (Ger) to lead by huge lengths throughout the race and win the $20,000 , 2 3/8 mile Rating Handicap very impressively by 15 1/2 lengths over Shaka, trained by Kate Dalton.
This was Soramondo's second race in this country after he didn't finish in his previous start.
He had won twice in handicaps in England before being imported to this country.