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McLane's Picks Maryland Hunt Cup

The Maryland Hunt Cup (4mi. 22 timber fences)

An extremely competitive group of nine runners line up for the 126th running of the historic Maryland Hunt Cup. Very tough to choose a winner amongst this bunch.

Top selections: Royal Ruse, Wagner, Rocket Star Red

1.     Rocket Star Red - Jockey Brett Owings highly touts this horses jumping ability which he put on display in a nice third place finish last weekend in the Benjamin Murray over the Grand National course. He fell in the Hunt Cup last year at the 13th fence after finishing 2nd behind Vintage Vinnie’s record breaking victory in the previous year. This will be his fourth attempt of achieving glory in the historic race and giving owner, Lucy Goelet, a chance to retire the Hunt Cup trophy. (2 previous with Twill Do)

2.     Blackhall - This will be his third run in the MD Hunt Cup. He finished 5th in his first attempt in ‘22 and fell at the 16th fence lat year. He looks to be in good form this year finishing a strong second behind Mr. Fine Threads and ahead of Rocket Star Red last week. English jockey, Charlie Marshall, will take on the Tufton Timber for the first time after a nice 2nd on him last week behind Mr. Fine Threads.

3.     Withoutmoreado - Last year’s winner comes in to the race this year with a little drama after unseating Tierney last weekend in the Grand National. He finished 4th earlier this year in the Cheshire bowl behind his Pennsylvania rival Royal Ruse who was second. He lost his rider less then half way through the race last week and without a run since Cheshire in March, his fitness may come into question here along with his jumping this year. Plenty to overcome for the defending champ this year, especially if Vintage Vinnie is in form.

4.     Goodoldtimes - The second of trainer Mark Beecher also comes into this year’s edition of the Hunt Cup with a mark on his form. He fell over the 2nd to last fence in last week’s Grand National. He looked to be in good order heading into that race winning the award for best turned out but it will be interesting to see if he bounces back from that fall. This will be his 3rd attempt in the race finishing 3rd in his first attempt two years ago and unseated his rider last year. Adds cheek pieces

5.     Shootists - His second try at the Maryland Hunt Cup this year with a different Freddie. Last year he was pulled up after tiring with Freddie Tett. This year, Freddie Procter, last year’s champion amateur jockey, will pilot him. They were a solid 3rd with a good jumping performance last week in the Grand National.

6.     Mr. Fine Threads - A very impressive winner last week in the Benjamin Murray over the Grand National course. Earlier this year he was also very impressive in his win at Elkridge- Harford. This will be his first try at the Maryland Hunt Cup along with his Irish jockey Andrew Burke Ott. He seems to have the ability, stamina, and experience needed for a first timer. One of two Armata runners giving them a chance to retire the trophy. Adds cheek pieces.

7.     Wagner - The English import made a splash with his victory at the Manor two weeks ago fresh off the plane from England. He looks to have improved his technique jumping the American timber last week around the Grand National. Unfortunately jumped the wrong fence on the second lap of the course and was disqualified. This may have ultimately worked in his favor, because he had a hard race at the Manor after his ship to America. He had a nice school over the bigger Grand National fences in preparation for this week but didn’t have a hard race. So he could be coming in to this week fresh to take on the grueling 4 mile course with an undoubtedly quick pace to be set by Vintage Vinnie.

8.    Royal Ruse - Last year’s runner up came back last fall to claim the Pennsylvania Hunt CupHe enters the race this year off a slightly different path then last year. Trainer Sanna Neilson opted to use the My Lady’s Manor race as his prep instead of the Grand National as he did

last year. This gave her another week to get him fresh for his third attempt for Glyndon Glory. He was second in that prep to Court Ruler at a much shorter distance.

9.     Vintage Vinnie - The two time winner and course record holder looks to notch a third victory in Maryland Hunt Cup to retire the trophy for Armata Stables. He was pulled up last year after leading in his typical style. In preparation for this he was 2nd in his traditional run over the Manor course. At the veteran age of 15 he may have lost a step so he will not be a with out question marks for this year’s contest after being pulled up last year. Teddy Davies climbs back aboard after having to sit out last year due to a broken collar bone done the week before. Two strong chances for Armata Stables to retire the Hunt Cup trophy.


Misc. facts/stats:

4 of 6 trainers won the race as a jockey

Chances of Owners to retire trophy: Armata Stables, Lucy Goelet

1st time Hunt Cup (horses/jockeys):

Mr. Fine Threads Wagner

Andrew Burk Ott Freddie Procter Charlie Marshall

Previous HC winners (horses/jockeys): Vintage Vinnie (2)

Withoutmoreado Dan Nevin Conor Tierney Teddy Davies Eric Poretz (3)

MHC Record:

Rocket Star Red - 3rd in ‘21, 2nd in ‘22, fell ‘23 Black Hall - 5th in ‘22, fell ‘23

Withoutmoreado - 1st in ‘23 Goodoldtimes - 3rd in ‘22, LR ‘23 Shootist - PU ‘23

Mr. Fine Threads - Wagner -

Royal Ruse - 4th in ‘22, 2nd in ‘23

Vintage Vinnie - 1st in ‘21, 1st in ‘22, PU in ‘23

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