December 2017 Issue - page 6

Page 6
December 2017
By Marcella Peyre-Ferry
The 83rd running of the
Pennsylvania Hunt Cup in Union-
ville, PAwas held Sunday, Nov.
11 under cloudy skies, on turf that
was wet from rain the previous
night yet firm for good going.
For the second year in a row,
Ebanour, owned by Irvin S. Nay-
lor and ridden by Darren Nagel,
was the winner of the $35,000
Pennsylvania Hunt Cup, even
though trainer Cyril Murphy had
not originally planned to run the
horse in this race.
“We planned not to come last
year. We didn’t get to the (Vir-
ginia) Gold Cup. At Geneseo (the
Genesee Valley Hunt Cup in Oc-
tober) he turned over and stung
his stifles and this was a backup,”
Murphy explained. After that fall
last year, Darren Nagel replaced
Gus Dahl for a winning ride his
first time on the horse in last
year’s PA Hunt Cup.
Once again this year, Mur-
phy had hopes of taking Ebanour
to the fall Gold Cup. “After this
spring, winning at the Gold Cup,
the plan was to try to get back to
the International Gold Cup in the
fall. We went to Shawan Downs
(in September) to give him a run
around and we finished where we
anticipated he would finish. We
went to New Jersey (Far Hills) and
he ran and jumped terrible. You
couldn’t put a finger on it. He just
didn’t seem to have any enthusiasm
to run and jump on the day.”
Although he was entered for
the International Gold Cup this
fall, his poor trip in New Jersey
forced a change in plans. “He
rapped an ankle behind and he
was just a little sore. There was
just too much at stake to go down
there and not do himself justice.
With an extra week off, coming up
here and have him perform like he
did last year, it was a good alterna-
tive for him,” Murphy said. “Four
miles suits him to the ground, he
just travels and he jumps. Between
Gus and Darren they know how to
get a tune out of him.”
Ebanour ran in the middle of
the pack for most of the race. In
the final stages of the race, when
other horses were tiring, Ebanour
kept up the pace, overtaking the
leaders to win by an 18-length
margin in a time of 9:20 for the
4-mile course.
“People have been misled into
thinking he’s got a good turn of
foot because of how he’s finished
his last few races. Going four
miles, he’s a very good staying
horse, and he outstays everyone
and they’re backing up in front of
him and it exaggerates the turn of
foot he has,” Murphy said. “It’s
great to finish the year like this
because we put a lot of time and
effort into him. He’s got plenty of
idiosyncrasies at home and when
you get him to the races and he
performs like he did today, it’s just
a big ‘we did something right’.”
The trophy presentation was
delayed when a claim of foul
was lodged against Nagle and
Ebanour. Eventually, the claim
was not upheld.
“It’s always in your mind that
it can go one way or another. But
he was a superior horse on the day.
Ebanour (left, with jockey Darren Nagle) was pointed toward the International Gold Cup, but a sore an-
kle forced a change of plans. He won the $35,000 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup for the second year in a row
and gave Nagle his 100th win.
Photos by Marcella Peyre-Ferry
Ebanour and Nagel Repeat Win at the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup
He put plenty of distance between
himself and everyone else, so it
would have been a big disappoint-
ment if he had lost it,” Murphy
said. “Everything I could see, it
looked pretty clean for everybody.”
The win on Ebanour was
a landmark 100th steeplechase
victory for Nagel, who came
prepared with a sign to mark the
occasion when he came in first.
Beecher Wins Two
The two other sanctioned tim-
ber races on the card were both were
wins for jockey Mark Beecher.
The first race of the day, the
$15,000 Lewis C. Ledyard Maid-
en Timber race, was a battle of
attrition, with early leaders El Jefe
Grande and Our R J both losing
their riders on the first lap. Beech-
er on Bruce Fenwick’s Daddy in
the Dark came into the last fence
just ahead of Jack Doyle on Durer.
Durer rubbed the top rail of
the last fence and flipped over,
leaving Daddy In The Dark to run
uncontested for home. Touch-
downtony was a distant second
place finisher with the remaining
horses being pulled up.
“That last fence is like a
bloody brick wall, so you want to
make sure you’re right when you
come to it, but you can’t be trying
to set him back either because you
lose too much time,” Beecher said.
The $20,000 Arthur O.
Choate, Jr., Memorial timber race
was also a win for Beecher on
Rosbrian Farm’s Class Brahms
and trainer Tara Elmore.
Byron Moorcroft fell from
early leader Secret Soul, cutting the
three-horse field to two. In a com-
petitive stretch run, Class Brahms
won by a neck over Darren Nagel
on Bruce Fenwick’s De Chera.
“It was just kind of judging
when to give my horse a breather
and when to go after the other
horse,” Beecher said. “I just had
to make use of my jumping over
the last two and I just about did
Also on the sanctioned racing
card was the Athenean Idol flat race
where a field of ten took on the 1
3/8 miles of turf. At the finish it
was Sea of Erin under Lydia Rose
with a win by three lengths. Sea of
Erin is owned by William Pape and
trained by Edward Graham.
Side Saddle Returns
This year, the PAHunt Cup
continued the recently added
side-saddle race, but this time in the
format of a Field Master’s Chase.
The new structure kept the field in
a pack behind the Field Master over
the course and jumps. It produced a
much more competitive race when
the pack was released to run at the
top of the stretch.
“That makes it a little more in-
teresting,” said Julie Nafe, who was
first under the wire on McCrady’s, a
horse owned and trained by Lauren
Schock. “This mare likes to run in
the front. It’s a little more difficult
for her to understand why there’s
somebody in front, but she rated
beautifully for me the entire time.”
McCrady’s is hunted regu-
larly with Radnor Hunt, and the
Field Master’s Chase is more like
being in the hunting field than rac-
ing. “There’s thoroughbreds and
non-thoroughbreds, so it’s a little
bit of a slower pace with some
nicer fences and it really keeps
everybody together for a nice idea
of how a lady should look out on
the hunt field,” Nafe said. “She’s
truly a wonderful horse. She has
a soft mouth that allows you to
work on you, not your horse. The
fences here are extremely inviting,
so it makes it a lot of fun.”
Aprize was also awarded to the
highest finishing non-thoroughbred
horse. That award went to Telly,
ridden by the only male rider in the
race, Andrew Camp of Middleburg,
VA. Camp rides in accurate tradition
for side saddle of earlier years, when
trainers were all male, and had to
learn to ride aside to properly train
horses for lady riders.
“In the 20s and 30s, in the
heyday of side saddle, all train-
ers were men so they had to
ride aside; they just were never
photographed,” Camp said. “I
am wearing tweed today and not
my formal. I’m supposed to be
dressed as a stud groom, I am
technically the second horse for
my lady. She would get done with
her horse, then she would be going
to my horse for her second and I
would take her first horse home.”
A warmblood cross, Telly
was not at the front of the race,
but did a good job of staying with
the pack. “She moves those legs
nice and fast against those thor-
oughbreds, so I’m really happy
with how she finished. Getting
the first-place non-thoroughbred,
I’m super proud,” Camp said.
Junior Races
The Field Master’s Chase for-
mat was also used for all the junior
races. The first race of the day was
for junior riders on horses, with
fourteen-year-old Skyler McKenna
first under the wire on Embarrassed,
a horse trained by her mother.
“It was awesome. He’s a
really fun horse,” McKenna said.
“Sometimes I get too scared I’m
not doing the right thing and go too
soon or too late. I listened right to
my mom’s directions,” she said.
Winning honors were
also given to the top finishing
non-thoroughbred. That award
went to thirteen-year-old Park-
er Hendriks on his Irish Sport
Horse, Ted. “He’s great. He’s big
and strong, but if you can control
him he’s great,” said Hendriks,
who hunts the horse every week-
end with Cheshire Foxhounds.
“He’s big and strong but he
doesn’t try and run off with you.”
Small and medium ponies
raced together with the Medium
Pony win going to Count Chocula,
ridden by thirteen-year-old Teddy
Davies of Monkton, MD. This was
just the second time Davies had
raced the pony, with his first time
out in a flat race at Geneseo. “He
was a little strong but really good.
This time I had a lot of competi-
tion. I had good ponies to compete
against and my good friends too.
The first small pony to finish
was Chewy, ridden by thirteen-
year-old Anna Farber of West
Chester, PA. “He was actually
very good. He was cooperating,
he was doing everything perfect,”
she said. She enjoys the Field
Master’s Chase format. “I like it
because it’s very orderly. You’re
able to organize yourself a little
bit better than if you were just
going straight in a line.”
The last of the Pony Hunt Cup
races was for large ponies. The win
went to Bailey, ridden by fourteen-
year-old Theo Sushko. “This race
was a good race. I kept right up
there behind the field master,” he
said. Sushko also likes the race
format. “It’s a totally different
thing. It’s fun and all, but it can
be tough holding them back and
obviously there’s a lot more tactics
to it, because you have the whole
long jumping as opposed to going
straight down the stretch.”
Jack Doyle and Durer had a dramatic fall at the last fence of the sanctioned $15,000 Lewis C. Ledyard Maiden
Timber race. The race was won by Daddy In The Dark, ridden by Mark Beecher, one of only two horses to finish.
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