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Friday, September 22, 2023

Withoutmoreado won the Maryland Hunt Cup as the Neilson sisters run first and second

GLYNDON, Md.--Withoutmoreado (Ire) won the Maryland Hunt Cup by 10 3/4 lengths over Royal Ruse, the only two finishers from a starting field of eight.

Withoutmoreado 3rd Douglas LeesWithoutmoreado at the third fence (Photo by Douglas Lees)Sisters Kathy and Sanna Neilson trained Withoutmoreado and Royal Ruse respectively.

Owned by Irv Naylor and ridden by Conor Tierney, Withoutmoreado ran second to Vintage Vinnie until after the 18th fence, when he passed Vinnie, who was then pulled up.

Charlie Fenwick's Royal Ruse, ridden by Elizabeth Scully, ran third until after the 18th fence, and then chased Withoutmoreado but was never able to close the gap to more than a few lengths and was slightly eased in the stretch when it was clear he was beaten.

"Ado squealed in the morning when he was turned out, and I thought then he'd have a good day," said Kathy. "He had just shed out the week before the Hunt Cup. I knew he was in good shape, but I would have been happy if he'd just jumped around okay."

Tierney, who's 19, had only come over from Ireland in March, and had only ridden in eight sanctioned races over timber," said Kathy. "I said to him the Wednesday before the race, after he'd walked the course, `If you don't want to ride in the Hunt Cup, now is the time to tell me.' But he said he was fine. The day of the race, I told him `Don't let your Mother see any of the fences, or she'll take you straight to the airport.'"

"I made Conor walk the course six times," she said. "Conor rode very bravely and boldly."


"I HAVE the utmost respect for Vinnie, but I told Conor,, `When Vinnie goes, you go with him. Don't worry, just drop his head and let him go,'" said Kathy. "Darren Nagel told him that if he got over the third fence, he'd be fine."

Kathy sanna Neilson Douglas LeesKathy and Sanna Neilson (Photo by Douglas Lees)Kathy trained one previous winner, The Young Dubliner, in 2002.

"That was the first time I'd run a horse in the Hunt Cup," she said. "I've learned a lot in the years after that. I used 20 years of accumulated knowledge to plan out the Hunt Cup."

"Before the race, i asked Skylar (her daughter who gallops horses for her) ii she thought Ado was good enough to run in the Hunt Cup, and she said, absolutely, he's a Hunt Cup horse."

"Being first and second with Sanna meant everything," said Kathy. "I'm so grateful we shared that race together. We talk about how we're training our horses every day. It's wonderful to have your best friend and sister do that. I shipped our horses down to the Hunt Cup together."

"The first time I walked the course, I got a bit of a shock," said Tierney. "It was quite scary. But by the sixth time I walked it, it wasn't scary."

"Kathy instructed me to stay up close to the pace," said Tierney. "After I'd jumped the third, I was quite happy. I made my move before the fourth to last fence. I had plenty of horse. He jumped great. He made a bit of a mistake at the third, but he learned to respect the fences after that."

"I'm going back to Ireland at the end of the month, but I'll be back for the fall races," said Tierney.

"Ado will be turned out every day with his pony,"  said Kathy. "He may or may not go to the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. Hopefully, he'll come back for the Hunt Cup next year."

"I was delighted with Royal Ruse," said Sanna. "Before the race, I thought we had a good chance. My horse is a good jumper, and Elizabeth gets along well with him. Elizabeth did a great job. She did exactly what I'd asked her to do."

"It was really special doing this with Kathy," said Sanna. "I'm very competitive, and I hate to lose, but I was really happy to lose to my sister. I'm happy for her and for the Naylors. They've been in this for a long time."

"Obviously, my horse will have along vacation," said Sanna."He's earned it. I'd like to take a crack at the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup again, but I haven't talked to Charlie about it yet. Obviously, we'll try to get back here nnext year."

"Vinnie didn't like the soft ground," said Joe Davies, who trains Vintage Vinnie (Ire). "He missed Teddy and the hard ground. He's fine, his legs are great. I'm please he came back sound and happy."

"That's why it so hard to win the Hunt Cup three years in a row," he said.

"He ran under the course record at the Manor, so he's shown us he still has run," said Davies. "He'll tell us if he wants to run in the Hunt Cup again. We won't run him on soft ground again."

Teddy Davies was scheduled to ride Vinnie again in the Hunt Cup after winning it on him last year, but he broke his collarbone in a fall at the Grand National, so Dan Nevin, who rode Vinnie in his first win in 2021, rode him.

"They put a plate and screws in Teddy's collarbone," said Davies. "They'll take those out in six weeks, and he'll be as good as new."

Goodoldimes (Ire) lost his rider, Colin Smith, at the 11th fence, and Rocket Star Red fell at the13th with Brett Owings.

Hill Tie was never up close, tired and was pulled up by Virginia Korrell after the 15th, and Blackhall (Ire) fell at the 16th with Theresa Dimpfel.

Shootist ran close up in fourth under Freddy Tett but tired after the 18th and was pulled up.

All the horse returned to the barn after the race, sound and  in good shape.

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