Steeplechasing fans who saw a major loss in their sporting lives when the Grade 1 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup was canceled and removed from the National Steeplechase Association fixture card for 2018 can rejoice.

The Colonial Cup, formerly the last Grade 1 race on the NSA calendar, will now be run as the first graded stake in 2018. The date: March 31, 2018.

The purse will be $150,000 for the feature race on the Carolina Cup card at its regular home, Springdale Race Course at Camden, S.C.

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The $150,000 Grade 1 Colonial Cup will be part of an afternoon of racing worth $325,000 in total purses.

The program that was approved recently by the Carolina Cup Racing Association Board of Directors was developed by John Cushman, the Cup's Executive Director and Bill Gallo, Jr., the NSA's Director of Racing.

Speaking for the board, Cushman said, “We're very proud of this program. We're fully invested in the sport. This is the single best program we've ever put together.”

In addition to the Grade 1 Colonial Cup, the card will continue the Carolina Cup, a $75,000 stake for novice horses, those in their first or second seasons of racing over the jumps.

The Colonial Cup will be contested at 2-1/8-miles over National Fences.

Fillies and mares will run for a $40,000 purse in the Life's Illusion.

The Raymond Wolfe, formerly run in the fall for 3-year-olds, will offer a $30,000 purse for 4-year-olds as they prepare to move up into the novice division.

The Dale K. Thiel, a $30,000 Sport of Kings maiden, and a training flat race, will also be on the program.

With $325,000 in purse money on the line, the Carolina Cup card becomes the third richest on the tentative spring calendar for 2018.

The Iroquois Steeplechase, traditionally run on the second Saturday in May, offered $545,000 (including a $200,000 feature) this year. The Virginia Gold Cup program, a week before the Iroquois, offered $380,000 last May.

Cushman stressed the new line-up for Colonial Cup Day was being announced four months early so that steeplechase horseman will have ample time to prepare for new Colonial Cup card races.

The Camden, S.C. area has been a major winter training area for a long time, especially for those horsemen wanting to take advantage of the moderate climate in late winter.

“We're hoping steeplechase horsemen will ship down here six or eight weeks before the races. You're not going to miss any time training and you can ship north from here,” Cushman said. He noted stalls for early shippers will be available.

“The Colonial Cup is to be commended for putting together an impressive program for its 2018 spring meet,” Gallo said. “On one afternoon, the Carolina Cup's fans will be able to see some if the sport's best horses as they begin their 2018 racing seasons.”

TAPIntoHORSES.Net will have the first draft of the NSA spring calendar as soon as it is released so that Northerners will have ample time to plan trips to the spring race meetings.

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