Monthly Archives: March 2011

Piedmont Hunt Point-to-Point

For additional racing photos, please visit the steeplechase gallery at Susan M. Carter Photography.

Piedmont Hunt Point-to-Point is held across the street from the Upperville Horse Show grounds, the oldest continuous horse show in the U.S. It is a spectacularly beautiful area with picturesque stone wall jumps that feature prominently in the races. Here Westbound Road and George Hundt, Jr. clear one of the walls with the mountains in the background. The pair won the owner rider timber race.

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Early in the week, the weatherman was calling for all sorts of unpleasant weather, including possible snow. Fortunately the snow held off and race day, although cold, had lovely blue skies with a smattering of clouds. This is the open flat race.
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Timber races usually have smaller fields than hurdles but Piedmont’s maiden timber race was as big as any race on the point-to-point circuit with eleven starters. Here they go over the fifth jump.
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The feature race of the day was the Rokeby Challenge Bowl, a three and a half mile race over timber. Incomplete and Charles Fenwick, III won the race for the third time, retiring the trophy.
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Last summer Genghis suffered from atrial fibrillation and his owner, Sara Collette, thought that he might not be able to continue racing. Genghis is full brother to the famous Salmo and I considered giving him a retirement home. In the end, I acquired a half brother to two time Charles Town Classic winner, Researcher, and Genghis went back to racing. Here he is with Diana Gillam in the Lady Rider Timber race.

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Posted in Horse Racing, Steeplechase

Warrenton Point to Point

Warrenton Hunt Point to Point races were held last Saturday on the grounds of the Airlie Conference Center, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The grounds are lovely and the many ponds and wetlands host the largest captive free-swimming swan collection in the northeastern Unites States. For more photos of the races (but none of the swans) please visit the Warrenton races gallery at Susan M. Carter Photography.

Jockey Carl Rafter and trainer Julie Gomena teamed up for two hurdle wins, one in the maiden hurdle and one in the Airlie Steeplechase Open Hurdle. Here is Carl and Greg Ryan’s Devil’s Preacher in the open hurdle race. It still looks weird to see anyone other than Greg in these silks.

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Jacob Roberts and Pres On won the restricted maiden hurdle. They navigated cleanly and quickly around the course while other horses refused jumps and lost jockeys.
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Natalie Wales and Pizarro crossed the finish line first in the Owner Rider Timber race but here at the last jump she interfered with Justpourit (IRE) and George Hundt, jr and was disqualified into second place.
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According to the program, Todd McKenna should have been wearing blue and white silks in the amateur/novice hurdle race. I guess he left them at home. It looks like he grabbed a suit coat off someone and stuck it over his racing vest. Wish I had his form over fences, though…
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Virginia Steeplechase Association president Don Yovanovich served as starter. The novice riders for the flat race had a hard time getting organized but eventually Don got them pointed in the right direction.
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No one wanted to start in the novice timber race. The flag is down but neither Gus Brown nor Paddy Young were in any hurry to go.

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Posted in Horse Racing, Steeplechase

Blue Ridge Point to Point

The Virginia point to point season now begins with Blue Ridge in March instead of Casanova in February. A lot of rain during the week leading up to the races made the footing very nice. I had expected it to be soggy so I can only imagine how hard it would have been without the drenching rains. You can find more photos from the races on Susan M. Carter Photography.

So Amazing (Ire), ridden by Ross Geraghty, beat two hurdle stakes winners to win the open hurdle race.

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Sam Cockburn and Meshwaar were the Virginia Steeplechase Association Amateur/Novice Hurdle champions in 2010 and they started the season off right with another win.
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The Novice Timber race featured three horses making their first start over timber. Thynnus, ridden by Chris Read, was the youngest with the least racing experience but still won. He was jumping like a deer, although he is named for a fish – a tuna to be precise!
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BK’s Double Jade, by contrast, has years of experience over hurdles and hasn’t yet figured out that he needs a different style over solid jumps. His young jockey, Gus Dahl, did a good job.

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Mary Motion and Orpington have been cleaning up in the Junior Fieldmaster Chase for the past couple of years but now she has moved up to the regular races. This was her first race over jumps and she won the Foxhunter Timber race. You go, girl!
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I almost didn’t recognize Pat Cooney (left) without a big red apple on his chest. He pointed out that I couldn’t have gotten any good photos because I had none of him since he wasn’t riding. So now I have at least one good photo from the meet.
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Legend the yellow lab is ready to enter the races with the big boys. He doesn’t know he is small. 🙂

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Posted in Horse Racing, Steeplechase