Photos by Douglas Lees
The trainer-rider team of Jimmy Day and Bryan Cullinane won four of the nine races carded at the Old Dominion Point-to-Point at Ben Venue Farm on Saturday, April 6, 2019. The Amateur/Novice Rider Hurdle (first race) was a walkover, and the rest of the fields were sparse, but Day and Cullinane won over hurdles, over timber, and on the flat.
In the Maiden Hurdle, Cullinane took Charlie Fenwick’s Apollo Landing right out to the front and pulled away from Leopard Cat for the easy win.
John Wittenborn and his fourteen-year-old Clydesdale-Thoroughbred cross, Soccer, returned home to Long Island and the Smithtown Hunt with the Championship Trophy and ribbon from the Theodora Randolph 2018 Field Hunter Championship in Virginia. Three tries was the charm for Wittenborn and Soccer. Last year the pair made a good showing, placing third.
It was the first team from a northern hunt to have won the coveted prize in thirty-five years of competitions. And it was fitting; Mrs. Randolph was a northerner, though from Boston’s North Shore.
Here’s a final reminder, latest information, and sneak-preview of the Art Show at Morven Park to be presented by the Museum of Hounds and Hunting over the Virginia Foxhound Show weekend. The Opening at 4 PM and the Reception at 5 PM on Saturday, May 26, 2018, the day before the hound show, will be for Museum members, their guests, and the artists. The show opens to the public on Sunday morning, the day of the hound show, and the works will remain on display until June 25th.
Manacor is back. Remade into a timber horse and now trained and ridden by Amber Hodyka, Manacor won the first race, Lady Timber, at the Old Dominion Hounds Point-to-Point Races on Saturday, April 7, 2018.
The bay ten-year-old was brought to the U.S. from Ireland by trainer Jimmy Day and was a frequent winner over hurdles out of Daybreak Stables for four years. He disappeared from the point-to-points last year and is back in the capable hands of Hodyka, a friend of the Days.
Manacor led throughout most of the race, held off a bid by Erin Swope’s Sweet Talking Guy, and won comfortably. Sweet Talking Guy—another familiar horse on the point-to-point circuit with a regular habit of winning Lady Timber races—was one of the top six Leading Horses in Virginia in 2017. Just off a Lady Timber win at Piedmont this season, he came up short against Manacor.
With the foxhunting season closing, and a new season of hound and puppy shows approaching, I always determine to improve my eye for a hound by judging from ringside just for fun. I would encourage any foxhunter to try it. The exercise not only makes the day more interesting, but educational as well. Especially when you can collar a friendly judge after the class and ask him why he didn’t like the hound you adored, or why he picked a hound you thought was ordinary.
It can be intimidating when you watch a procession of foxhounds enter and leave the ring and wonder how in the world the judge can sort them all out. For example, how does he compare a hound he is looking at to one he saw ten minutes ago? I have asked, and it seems there are almost as many methods as there are judges.