with Horse and Hound

Photos by Douglas Lees

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Trainer Jimmy Day Sweeps Open Races at Warrenton

warrentonptp.13.open hurdleOpen Hurdle winner Sulwaan (#8) ridden by Paddy Young leads second place finisher Sporty (#3) ridden by Mark Beecher over the last fence. / Douglas Lees photo

Jimmy Day-trained horses swept both Open Races at the Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point at Airlie Race Course, Warrenton, Virginia on Saturday, March 16, 2013. With Paddy Young in the irons for both races, Sulwaan owned by Magalen O. Bryant and Triple Dip owned by Daybreak Stables won the Open Hurdles and the Open Timber Races respectively.

With a half mile to run over hurdles, Sulwaan and Sporty left the field behind and made it a two-horse race, but Sulwaan drew away after the last fence and won easily. In the timber race Zulla Road led after the last fence, but Triple Dip put on a burst and prevailed by a nose.

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The 116th Maryland Hunt Cup

mhc12.stretchTwill Do (left) wins in one of the closest Maryland Hunt Cup finishes ever.One after the other, the two favorites tumbled from contention, paving the way for one of the closest finishes ever in the 116th running of the Maryland Hunt Cup on Saturday, April 28, 2012. Twill Do ridden by James Stierhoff and Battle Op with Connor Hankin aboard battled down the stretch with Twill Do doing it by a head at the wire. It was the second Hunt Cup win (2010) for Twill Do, who is coming back this season from an injury.

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Old Dominion Hounds Point-to-Point

odh12.mischiefAfter winning three consecutive Amateur/Novice Hurdle Races and placing second in four starts, Annie Yeager and Mischief wind up in the turf at Old Dominion.The Amateur/Novice Hurdle team of Annie Yeager and her brilliant gray horse Mischief experienced a frightening moment at the Old Dominion Point-to-Point on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at Ben Venue Farm in Flint Hill, Virginia. With three consecutive wins and a second place finish in four starts in the division, Mischief went down with Yeager, who was airlifted from the course.

The good news is that the horse is fine, and Yeager was released from the hospital the following day with a concussion and a broken collar bone. Those who witnessed the fall close up, including this reporter, expected a far worse outcome, and that expectation clouded the rest of the day’s racing.

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Orange County Hounds Point-to-Point

och12.open hurdleOpen Hurdle winner Old Timer and Chris Read (right) lead Robert Walsh on Better Than Ever.The Orange County Hounds Point-to-Point Races were held at Locust Hill Farm in Middleburg, Virginia on Sunday, April 1, 2012. Trainer Neil Morris made the most of his home turf by saddling both the win and place horses in the Open Hurdle Race. Kinross Farm’s Old Timer ridden by Chris Read jumped to the lead at the last fence and beat second-place finisher Humdinger to the wire by two lengths.

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On the Road: One Master’s Perspective

hunt 2Foreground (l-r): Michael Brown, huntsman and Oliver Brown, MFH, Rappahannock Hunt with host Epp Wilson, MFH, Belle Meade Hunt /  Karen Raiford photo

This article—about foxhunters on the road and the joys of visiting—is being published in several installments: 1. A Huntsman’s Perspective, 2. One Master’s Perspective, 3. Another Master’s Perspective, and 4. A Member’s Perspective. Here is our second installment.

I first met the Ambassador of Foxhunting, Ben Hardaway, MFH, of the Midland Foxhounds (GA) in 1973. It was Ben’s first trip to Virginia, and I was in awe of this traveling foxhunting circus. His members were so excited as were his hounds to show their adaptation to a different territory. Many more times did he come to hunt with us, and I also had the pleasure of being invited to hunt with him in his country. But I envied being able to take your own hounds to strange territories. So after hunting in Midland several times and becoming enthused, my son Michael and I made our first trek south with hounds in 1999.

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Piedmont Fox Hounds Point-to-Point

piedmont12.ownerridertimber(l-r) Jeb's Crowner (Bart Poole up) in the Foxhunter Timber Division catches Incaseyouraminer (Ben Swope) riding in the Owner Rider Division. Both were winners of this timber race in their respective divisions.

Considering the superb weather we have been enjoying this season, Piedmont Fox Hounds drew the short straw for their point-to-point races as Douglas Lees’s great photos clearly illustrate. It was a wet day!

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Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point

warrentonptp12.yeagerAnnie Yeager's Mischief (rt) on the way to winning his third hurdle race in three starts. Mary Motion riding Fogcutter (left) finished fourth.Annie Yeager and Mischief scored a hat trick in the Amateur/Novice Rider Hurdle Race at the Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point Races on Saturday, March 17, 2012, posting their third win in three starts this year. Mischief passed pace-setter Mariah’s Promise before the last fence to take the lead. Mariah’s Promise challenged in the stretch but had to settle for second place by a head. Mischief is owned by Yeager and trained by Don Yovanovich.

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Blue Ridge Hunt Point-to-Point Races

brh.witte.12Kellie Witte piloted her Twin Kiss to a second victory in two starts this season in the Junior Field Masters Chase.The sixty-third running of the Blue Ridge Hunt Point-to-Point Races was held Saturday, March 10, 2012 under a brilliant blue sky and over good footing at the Woodley Farm racecourse.

Two horse-rider combinations repeated their winning ways of the previous week at Thornton Hill: Twin Kiss ridden by Kellie Witte in the Junior Field Masters Chase and Mischief with Annie Yeager aboard in the Amateur/Novice Rider Hurdle Race.

Trainer Jimmy Day posted a win and two second place finishes. Top jockey was Carl Rafter with two wins and a second. Rafter rode Day's winner, Trappe d'Or owned by Bruce Smart in the Maiden Flat Race; Zoe Valvo's Triton Light to the wire in the Open Hurdle Race; and posted a second on Red Ghost in the Novice Timber.

Jockey Jeff Murphy rode trainer Teddy Mulligan's The Editor to a win in the Novice Timber Race and posted two second place finishes for the day as well.

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First Running of the Thornton HIll Fort Valley Hounds Point-to-Point Races

thfv ptp 12Brett Jackson, MFH leads the Junior Field Master's Chase. Erin Swope keeps in touch.

The Thornton Hill Fort Valley Hounds (VA) is the result of a recent merger between the Thornton Hill Hounds (previously unregistered) and the Fort Valley Hunt (registered with the MFHA in 1992). The hunt’s point-to-point races were run for the first time on Saturday, March 3, 2012 at the beautiful Thornton Hill Racecourse near Sperryville, Virginia in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Masters are Jim Kincheloe, Brett Jackson, and the father and son team of Larry and Jeff Lehew.

At the end of the day, Jeff Murphy was top jockey, bringing home two winners—Orebanks in the Open Hurdle Race and Dealer Beware in the Novice Timber.

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Private Attack and Blythe Miller-Davies Formidable in Maryland

md_hunt_cup.11Blythe Miller-Davies on Private Attack is congratulated by husband Joe Davies after winning the Maryland Hunt Cup. Michael Wharton leads the winner.First the Grand National on April 23, then the Maryland Hunt Cup on April 30. Two winning performances for Blythe Miller-Davies and Private Attack. Yet the circumstances made it all the more dramatic.

Miller-Davies—former champion jump jock, mother, and trainer—had retired from riding races more than eight years ago. Mark Beecher was to ride Sportsmans Hall’s Private Attack in the Grand National for trainer Alicia Murphy, but was having visa problems in Ireland. Murphy turned to Miller-Davies, and the pair won by a neck.

Meanwhile, Miller-Davies had been training her husband’s horse Fort Henry which she had intended to ride in the Maryland Hunt Cup one week later. The Grand National win changed those plans, and husband Joe Davies, a former three-time winner of the Maryland Hunt Cup, graciously scratched his horse so his wife could ride Private Attack in that race.

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