Thursday, May 26, 2011

North American Point-to-Point Association Championships

On Sunday I went to the North American Point-to-Point Association Championships for the first time. I frequently photograph the junior field master chase races at various point-to-point meets but never this one and it was lots of fun. It was held at Great Meadow and used many of the same obstacles used during the Gold Cup field master chase and Steeplethon races. One lady, looking a bit stunned, noted that they don't see those types of obstacles in kids' races in Pennsylvania.

Snickersville provided the outriders and just before the first race, the hounds paraded on course as it began to pour. They gamely came through the water obstacle, although I suppose at that point they couldn't have gotten much wetter.

Snickersville Hounds

Perhaps my favorite event of the day was the lead line races, which were much more exciting than sedate lead line classes at hunter shows. The rules stated that if the pony cantered, the leader had to circle and stop for a few seconds before trotting on. This was the first division for five year olds and under; in their little racing silks they were simply too cute for words.

lead line races

They held a Foxhunter Steeplethon, a cross between the regular foxhunter races we commonly see at point-to-point meets and the Steeplethon run at Gold Cup and a few other National Steeplechase Association meets. It was 2 3/4 miles long and wound all over the race course, going through the water obstacle twice. The first time through the water, Global Genius dumped Natalie Wales in the drink but ran and jumped with the rest for the remaining 2 miles. He didn't stop until the very end when he saw the truck and trailer that was there for emergencies and decided he'd rather get a ride home.

steeplechase horse

Three fences from home, Tate Shaw and Ice Is Nice were running and jumping well in the lead but after the stone wall they turned left instead of straight and went off course. Seems to me this pair did something similar at Piedmont...

steeplechase horse

At that point there were only two horses left in the race and at the last jump Bart Poole and Jeb's Crowner parted ways. I told Bart as he got to his feet that in the old days he could have gotten back on and finished the race but he said no, thanks.

steeplechase fall

Meanwhile, Orlik ran out with Alex Bazdar at the last jump while Jeb's Crowner was coming to grief. Alex circled around, took the last jump and headed to the finish but she was disqualified by the stewards.

steeplechase horse

It was the first race I've seen where no one finished.

The last race of the day was a flat race for NAPPA alumni. Rosie Napravnik, who rode Pants on Fire in the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago, competed on Classic Storm, a horse trained by her steeplechase trainer sister, Jazz. No wonder Rosie rides on the flat because she's a little bit of a thing. Unfortunately, although Classic Storm is very handsome, he doesn't run as fast as Pants on Fire. :)

Rosie Napravnik

A great time was had by all and I encourage you to check out NAPPA's schedule for future events.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Virginia Gold Cup Jockeys

Instead of the usual jumping and running photos, I thought I'd post some of the jockeys who rode in the Virginia Gold Cup Races. For more Gold Cup photos, please visit Susan M. Carter Photography

Willie Dowling in a state of dishabille.

Willie Dowling, steeplechase jockey

Gus Dahl is practicing his male model look.

Gus Dahl, steeplechase jockey

Jeff Murphy's shades are definitely cool but I'm not so sure about the underwear.

Jeff Murphy, steeplechase jockey

I think this is Emily MacMahon but since she's not a regular on the Virginia racing circuit, I'm not 100% positive. If I'm wrong, someone please correct me.

Emily MacMahon

Paddy Young and Lake Placid were both smiling.

Paddy Young and Lake Placid, steeplechase racing

And here are all (or almost all) of the jockeys before the first race.

Virginia Gold Cup jockeys