Air Maggy, owned by Small Giant Farm of West Grove, Pa., ridden by Kelly Wooster and trained by Keri Brion, won the Fox Hunters Timber race at the Blue Ridge Point-to-Point on April 23 to win the Virginia Point-to-Point Series Championship in that division.
The Fox Hunters Timber and the Amateur/Novice Timber Rider races were combined at Blue Ridge.
Rutledge Classic, owned and trained by Eva Smithwick and ridden by McLane Hendriks of Unionville Pa.,, and Awesome Pearl, also trained by Smithwick and ridden by Janie Motion, vied for the lead most of the race with Air Maggy within striking distance.
When Awesome Pearl tired in the final quarter mile, Air Maggy made his move and was very narrowly best over Rutledge Classic.
Hendriks’ win in the Amateur/Novice Rider race gave him the win in that division, and he was also tied for the Leading Novice rider over Fences with Trevor Ryan,.
“I got Air Maggy four years ago,” said Brion, who is Jonathan Sheppard’s assistant trainer. “He broke his sesamoid at Tampa Bay Downs. Jonathan trained him. He wasn’t always the nicest horse, so he was a difficult horse to place with a new career.”
He was owned by Mrs. Magalan Bryant, and Brion said Bryant’s racing manager gave her Air Maggy.
“I didn’t have a place to keep him, but Jonathan kindly let me keep him here in his barn,” said Brion. “He’s good to turn out with young colts that need some direction.”
“Kelly had been hunting him all winter, so we thought it would be fun to let her ride him in some point-to-points. He was third at Piedmont and then won at Old Dominion.”
“I think he enjoys being ridden by Kelly,” said Brion. “He’s quirky. He likes to think he’s in charge.”
ERIN SWOPE of Westminster, Md., rode her Sweet Talking Guy to win the Lady Timber Rider Timber race at Blue Ridge, and she won the Virginia Point-to-Point Lady Rider Timber Series Championship and the Leading Lady Rider title, while Sweet Talking Guy won the Timber Horse Challenge.
Jimmy Day saddled Bruce Smart’s Fall Colors, ridden by Amber Hodyka, to win the Amateur/Novice Rider Hurdle race, making Day Virginia’s Leading Trainer and Fall Colors the series champion in that division.
Rosbrian Farm’s Wantan (Arg), trained by Tara Elmore and ridden by Paddy Young, won the Novice Timber at Blue Ridge, making him second in the series to Lana Wright’s Georgetown Burning and Mrs. George Ohrstrom’s Class Cherokee, who tied for the championship.
At the Middleburg Hunt Point-to-Point Races on April 30, Irvin Naylor’s Top Man Michael, trained by Cyril Murphy and ridden by Gustav Dahl, won the Open Timber and Naylor’s El Jete Grande, trained by Murphy and ridden by Jack Doyle, won the Maiden Hurdle.
Hinterland, owned by Harold Via, ridden by Quinn Scala and trained by Jack Fisher, won the Amateur/Novice Rider Hurdle, with Byant’s Only Charity, trained by Richard Valentine and ridden by Shane Crimin winning the Maiden Timber and Shinobe (Ger), owned by Naylor, trained by Kathy Neilson and ridden by Gerard Gilligan, winning the Restricted Maiden Hurdle. MARK BEECHER was the Leading Timber Rider, Leading Amateur Rider and Overall Leading Rider of the Maryland Governor’s Cup Series. Joe Davies was the Leading Trainer, and he saddled Senior Senator throughout the Maryland races to win the Open Timber Championship.
Two of the girls who work for trainer Jonathan Sheppard won awards in Maryland.
Assistant trainer Brion topped the Amateur Flat Race Series, sharing that honor with Dick Crane, and exercise rider Annie Yeager won the Betsy Firey Memorial Trophy for Leading Lady Rider.
Yeager also rode Mystic Strike to share top honors with Justin Batoff on Class Indian in the Amateur Apprentice Timber Horse and Rider Championship Thistledown Farm’s Spirit of Shankly was the Novice Timber Champion, and two of Upland Partners’ horses, Golden Slammer and Mystic Strike, shared top honors with Sycamore Run and Move Up Stables’ All of the Above in the Heavyweight Timber Championship.
Tommy Fenwick was the Overall Leading Pony rider.