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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.