Carolina Cup preview: what's it like to be a steeplechase jockey?

Carolina Cup preview: what's it like to be a steeplechase jockey?

CAMDEN, SC (WIS) - Horse racing jockeys have a dangerous job. Running horses over fences doubles the danger.

Camden horse trainer Arch Kingsley knows the thrill of riding horses in steeplechase races.

"It feels really awesome," he said. "I don't know how to put it into words other than to say you're walking a fine line between being completely out of control, and yet, being agreeably along for the ride. You're guiding the horse. You're putting a great deal of confidence in the horse and there's a part of you that, in order to be good at it, you need to let go of all control and all of your fears."

Kingsley also knows what it's like to ride--and win--at Springdale Race Course in Camden.

"I loved riding here," he said. "This race course is a fair one and it's wide open and if you make good decisions, you're going to put your horse in a position to win more often than not when you're on a horse that's good enough to win."

He loved racing in Camden so much, the Virginia native moved here permanently in 2000.

"Riding here was really special to me because it was my hometown and I was doing it in front of the people that I loved and that knew me and were cheering for me."

Of course, winning two Carolina Cups and Two Colonial Cups don't hurt, either.

"Every time that kind of thing happened you became, kind of like, the hero for the year. Everybody knew you wherever you went."

In 1997 he won the National Championship based on the most races won. He won the National Championship in 1997 and 1999 based on the amount of money he won in races.

"It was wonderful being a jockey and particularly here in Camden," he said. "This race course was always very good to me. The people of this town have always been very warm and welcoming to me and putting the two together was ultimately satisfying to me as a rider."

Despite the various injuries throughout his racing career, Kingsley says it was worth the experience.

"It made me really live in the moment and you don't have a worry in the world because you are right there on the back of that horse thinking about that and only that."

Kingsley may have retired his racing silks, but he still gets aboard daily to exercise the race horses he trains. Among them, 2014 Carolina Cup and 2016 Colonial Cup winner Top Striker. He has several horses running in races Saturday at Springdale Race Course, including Show Court, who is running in the Carolina Cup.

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