AIKEN, S.C. — Steeplechase racing starts Saturday, March 24 at Aiken, S.C.

Owners, trainers and 'chasing fans received their first look at where their horses stand in the grand scheme of things when the National Steeplechase Association released the first official ratings for the 2018 racing season.

Irvin S. Naylor's Rawnaq, the 2016 Eclipse Award winner who was absent in 2017 while recovering from injury, was rated at the top of the list at 156 pounds, 10 pounds over 2017 Eclipse finalist Mr. Hot Stuff and 11 over the third finalist, All the Way Jose.

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The rating system was first employed in 2015 to determine eligibility of every horse racing over jumps for ratings handicap races. The ratings are formulated by Equibase Chart Caller Martin Chamberlain, publisher Joe Clancy and Will O'Keefe, the Director of the Virginia Fall Races under the supervision of NSA Director of Racing Bill Gallo, Jr.

Rawnaq won the 2016 Grade 1 Calvin Houghland Iroquois at Nashville, Tenn., the Grade 3 Temple Gwathmey at Middleburg, Va. later in the spring and the Grade 1 American Grand National At Far Hills, N.J. in the fall.

After taking last year off, the Irish-bred gelding is now back in training at Naylor's Butler, Md. farm under the supervision of trainer Cyril Murphy.

Gillian Johnston's Mr. Hot Stuff, a two-time Grade 1 over jumps and Grade 1 placed on the flat, is expected back for another 'chasing campaign at age 12 under the guidance of champion trainer Jack Fisher. Mr. Hot Stuff, the winner of Belmont's Grade 1 Lonesome Glory Stakes for Button Wood Farm and Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard.

Modem, the show horse in Far Hills' Grand National, was rated at 145 as were Naylor's import Sempre Medici who did not run last year but is a two-time stakes winner in Ireland. Zanjabeel, who went to the winners' circle for Ben Griswold and the Rosbrian Farm in Callaway's AFLAC Supreme Hurdle and Far Hills' Foxbrook Championship for novices is on the 2018 list at 137.

Here is the list of the 100 horses in training as 'chasing fans await the bugler’s first call to the post.

  1. Rawnaq, 156
  2. Mr. Hot Stuff, 146
  3. All the Way Jose, 145
  4. Modem, 145
  5. Sempre Medici,145
  6. Zanjabeel, 137
  7. Gibralfaro, 136
  8. Jamarjo, 136
  9. Hinterland, 135
  10. Balance the Budget, 134
  11. Swansea Mile, 133
  12. Diplomat, 132
  13. Ice It, 130
  14. Taper Tantrum, 130
  15. Katnap, 130
  16. New Member, 130
  17. Schoodic, 127
  18. Andi’amu, 127
  19. Daneking, 126
  20. Laser Light, 126
  21. Lyonell, 125
  22. Mercoeur, 125
  23. Simenon, 125
  24. Jack Frost, 125
  25. Three Kingdoms, 125
  26. Surprising Soul, 124
  27. Lord Justice, 123
  28. L’aigle Royal, 123
  29. Overwhelming, 123
  30. Rudyard K, 123
  31. Bobabout, 122
  32. Macnicholson, 122
  33. Mutasaawy, 122
  34. No Wunder, 122
  35. Invocation, 121
  36. Orchestra Leader, 121
  37. Kingdom, 121
  38. Canadian Gold, 120
  39. Berland, 120
  40. Hardrock Eleven, 120
  41. Kensington Court, 120
  42. Officer Sydney, 119
  43. Lake Champlain, 118
  44. Detroit Blues, 118
  45. Castle Hill, 117
  46. Kremlin, 117
  47. Osmoz, 117
  48. Get Ready Set Goes, 117
  49. All for Us, 116
  50. Barnacle Bill, 116
  51. Deficit, 116
  52. Long House Saint, 116
  53. Manchurian High, 116
  54. Sarah Joyce, 116
  55. Sixty Five, 116
  56. Swellegent, 116
  57. Whitman’s Poetry, 116
  58. With Rhythm, 116
  59. Zio Elio, 115
  60. Any Given Royal, 115
  61. For Goodness Sake, 115
  62. Giza, 115
  63. Tay Lane, 114
  64. Easy Exit, 114
  65. Perfect Union, 114
  66. Unsinkable, 114
  67. Maximum Horsepower, 113
  68. Bishop’s Castle, 113
  69. Reporter, 113
  70. Officer’s Oath, 112
  71. Wigwam Baby, 112
  72. Wild Dynaformer, 112
  73. Swoop, 111
  74. Causeworthy, 111
  75. Down Royal, 111
  76. First Friday, 111
  77. Menacing Dennis, 111
  78. Able Archer, 110
  79. Ack Feisty, 110
  80. Gmac, 109
  81. Norse Star, 109
  82. Classical Art, 109
  83. Comanchero, 108
  84. Indy’s Legacy, 108
  85. Stormy Alex, 107
  86. Expecting, 107
  87. Pure Deal, 107
  88. Canaveral, 106
  89. Barbara’s Smile, 105
  90. Devil’s Wrangler, 105
  91. Disobedience, 105
  92. Pram, 105
  93. Say No Maux, 105
  94. Show King, 104
  95. Balistes, 103
  96. Pied du Roi, 103
  97. Mathayus, 101
  98. Boogie Feeva, 100
  99. Needle in the Hay, 98
  100. Stalled, 95

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