Maryland Hunt Cup

Maryland Hunt Cup

Last Saturday in April
A steeplechase that has been run in Maryland since 1894, the Hunt Cup is considered the premier such horse race in America and one of the toughest steeplechases in the world. It's a timber race: the jumps are over stout post-and-rail fences rather than hedges as in the English Grand National. Since 1922, it has always been held in Glyndon, the locale of the Green Spring Valley Hounds, a hunt club. The course is four miles long and has 22 fences, none of which is jumped twice. The highest fence is the 16th at 4'10", while the most spectacular, causing the most spills, is the 4'6" third fence, near the beginning of the race before the horses are well warmed up.
The first race was held to settle a dispute between two hunt clubs, Green Spring Valley Hounds and the Elkridge Hunt, over which had the better fox-hunting horses. Originally only for club members, the race was opened to all comers in 1903, and a rivalry between Pennsylvania and Maryland horses began and still endures.
At the first race, a silver cup and $100 were awarded to the winner. Today there is still a cup, but the purse has grown to $65,000. Memorable horses have been Mountain Dew, a three-time winner in the 1960s; Jay Trump, also a three-time winner in the 1960s and the winner of the English Grand National in 1965; and Ben Nevis, twice a winner, who took seven seconds off the course record in 1978. Ben Nevis, who also won the English Grand National, was a small horse but a spectacular athlete.
The Hunt Cup was originally only for men, but women were allowed to enter in the late 1970s, and in 1980 Joy Slater was the first woman to take the prize.
Tailgate parties are held before the race, and a hunt ball after it is attended by riders, trainers, jockeys, owners, and members of the two local hunt clubs. It's considered the social event of the season.
CONTACTS:
Maryland Office of Tourism Development
217 E. Redwood St., Fl. 9
Baltimore, MD 21202
866-639-3526 or 410-767-6288; fax: 410-333-6643
www.mdisfun.org
References in periodicals archive ?
She was also the first woman to ride in the Maryland Hunt Cup.
Ennis will partner Bon Caddo in the Maryland Hunt Cup for trainer Charlie Fenwick, famous for riding Ben Nevis to victory in the 1980 Grand National.
Michael is the owner-rider winner of the 2001 Maryland Hunt Cup, an avid fly fisherman and errant golfer.
but I'll be turning pro shortly," added the former carpenter, who flies across the Atlantic to ride in America's biggest jump race, the Maryland Hunt Cup, next week.
The British-bred Ben Nevis was unbeaten in his American career and won the Maryland Hunt Cup in 1977 and 1978.
Correct me if I'm wrong (on second thoughts, don't), but didn't Battleship memorably win the Grand National for the US in 1938, and the American Tommy Smith win it on triple Maryland Hunt Cup winner Jay Trump in 1965, and Charlie Fenwick repeat the feat on double Maryland Hunt Cup winner Ben Nevis, in 1980?
His main target is the Maryland Hunt Cup, so the experience should do him good.
Having been placed twice as a jockey in the Maryland Hunt Cup in the US, Elliott is looking ahead to the 2008 running in April with Rocking Ship, who has just joined him from Joanna Morgan's yard.
It's everybody's dream to have a horse for the Maryland Hunt Cup, so hopefully he might be good enough.
5f, ranks of equal importance in steeple-chasing's role of honour to our own Grand National and The Maryland Hunt Cup.
Before becoming a trainer, Smithwick was a top amateur jump jockey, winning the historic Maryland Hunt Cup, America's most prestigious timber race, a record six times.

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