UNIONVILLE, Pa--Ebanour not only won the $35,000, four mile Pennsylvania Hunt Cup on Nov. 5 for the second year in a row, he also, for the second year in a row, hadn't been scheduled to run in the Hunt Cup.
But this year, despite winning by 18 lengths, he had to withstand a claim of foul against him lodged by Sean McDermott, rider of the second placed Hot Rize, claiming interference at the third to last fence.
Deciding the claim took a long time, but it was finally disallowed.
Owned by Irvin S. Naylor, trained by Cyril Murphy and ridden by Darren Nagle in the Hunt Cup, Ebanour had again been scheduled to run in the International Gold Cup in The Plains, Va., as he also had been last year.
"After he won at the Gold Cup in the spring, we had hoped to get back to the Gold Cup," said Murphy. "But when he ran at Far Hills, he ran and jumped terrible. He never got into the rhythm. He rapped an ankle behind, so we thought he needed the extra week before running again."
"Last year, he missed the Gold Cup because he fell at Geneseo, and again needed more time between races," said Murphy.
EBANOUR won easily this year, finishing 18 lengths in front of Holston Hall's Hot Rize, trained by Russell Haynes and ridden by Sean McDermott, who was 13 lengths in front of third placed Where's the Beef, owned by Welcome Here Farm, trained by Ivan Dowling and ridden by Mark Beecher.
Beecher did a terrific job of staying in the saddle as Where's the Beef hit the fence at the top of the hill and almost fell while leading the first time around.
Armata Stables' Cornhusker, trained by Alicia Murphy and ridden by Kieran Norris was fourth and Blythe Miller Davies' Sumo Power, trained by Joseph Davies and ridden by Graham Watters, was fifth and last.
"People have been misled into thinking Ebanour has a good turn of foot," said Murphy. "He's a very good staying horse. Four miles suits him."
"I wasn't concerned about the claim of foul in the beginning, but I got a bit concerned as it went on longer and longer," Murphy said.
This was the 100th win for Nagle, who was given a huge sign saying "100" to hold over his head while in the winner's circle.
MARK BEECHER rode both winners of the first two timber races at the Hunt Cup
Nine horses started in the $15,000 Lewis Ledyard Memorial for maiden timber horses, and only two finished the three mile race.
Daddy in the Dark, owned and trained by H. Bruce Fenwick, won by 32 3/4 lengths over Irvin L. Crawford's Touchdowntony, trained by Davies and ridden by McDermott.
Our RJ, owned by Walter Pinkard Jr., trained by Regina Welsh and ridden by Byron Moorcroft, led for half the race, jumping way to the left over every fence, and most of the field followed his lead of jumping to the left, until Our RJ lost his rider at the fence up the hill.
"That horse jumping so far to the left didn't help me," said Beecher. "But Bruce did a good job of getting this horse ready. That last fence is a bloody brick wall. You want to be sure to be right getting to it."
Only three horses ran in the $20,000, three mile Arthur O. Choate Memorial for horses that have never won two timber races, but despite the small field it turned out to be a very tight race to the finish.
Rosbrian Farm's Class Brahms, trained by Tara Elmore, won by a neck over DeChera, owned and trained by Fenwick and ridden by Nagle.
Secret Soul, owned and trained by Jeff Murphy and ridden by Moorcroft, fell while leading the second time around.
"Class Brahms won at Middleburg last spring, so now he's won twice this year," said Beecher.
McCrady's, owned and trained by Lauren Schock and ridden by Julie Nafe, won the Mrs. Ford B. Draper Invitational Side Saddle race in the stretch, pulling away from second placed King of Hearts, owned by Cherry Blossom Far, trained by George Kuk and ridden b Devon Zebrovious.
Skylar McKenna rode Armata Stables' Embarrassed, trained by her Mother Katherine Neilson. to win the Junior Horse Field Master's Chase, and Parker Hendriks rode Ted, trained by Sanna Neilson, to win the Halfbred section, as he was the only halfbred in the race.
Anna Farber rode Chewy, owned and trained by Lauren Schock, to win the Small Pony field Master's Chase, Teddy Davies rode EHM Stables' Count Chocula, trained by Betty McCue, to win the Medium Pony Field Master's Chase and Theo Sushko rode Bailey, also owned by EHM Stables and trained by McCue, to win the Large Pony Field Master's Chase.