Cabral and Blythe Miller are now two-for-two at the Manor.
The 10-year-old Chilean-bred gelding and the 22-year-old college student started their campaign toward the Maryland Hunt Cup yesterday by winning the My Lady's Manor Point-to-Point in Monkton by a length over Pacific Parley.
The pair had combined for a win in the Streett Memorial, the secondary feature, at the Manor two years ago. But recurring lameness problems -- the horse runs with two bowed front tendons -- kept Cabral out of action last year.
But he returned with a flourish yesterday, although the trip around the 3-mile, 16-fence course had its hectic moments.
First, Miller lost her stirrup after the first jump and by the time she regained it at the third, Liz McKnight on Cotuit had gone to the front. Cotuit and Cabral continued to set the pace, stalked by Joe Gillet on Pacific Parley.
By the sixth fence, Miller was back in the lead, pressed by McKnight, until Cotuit made a bad jump at the eleventh fence.
By the time the field had reached the straightaway, Miller gave her horse a breather. Gillet, now joined by Mike Elmore on The Snowflaker, raced as a team to the front.
"I let them go by, because we had hoped this would be an easy race for Cabral and I wanted to have something left for the finish," Miller said. But when she started to go after the top pair, Cabral ran into a course-marker barrel on the turn.
"We actually hit it, and I almost came off," Miller said. "That's when I got mad at him, and really got in to him over the last two fences."
By the finish, Miller and Cabral were a length in front of Pacific Parley. The Snowflaker finished third, followed by Cotuit. Quisitor was far back in fifth place.
Only five of the nine-horse field finished. Masher Stage Door fell at the eighth fence, Dynamite at the eleventh and Grape at the twelfth. The only other starter, Primal Bee, was pulled up after NTC the sixth fence when her saddle slipped.
Cabral ran the race in 6 minutes, 7 seconds, three seconds slower than the course record set last year by Von Csadek.
Miller gave credit to her father, trainer F. Bruce Miller, who, she said, "did such a great job getting this horse fit after such a long time off." Cabral is scheduled to race again next weekend in the Grand National Point-to-Point at Butler.
In the Streett Memorial, the mare, Magical, ridden by Bruce Fenwick, stalked pacesetter The Wool Merchant, with Anne Moran aboard. About four fences from home, Magical went to the lead and led to the wire, although Mike Elmore on Tingles Image rallied rapidly to just miss by about a length. The Wool Merchant finished third, followed by Gesticulte (Ned Halle), Roman Tent (Nicholas Schweizer), Manor Maid (Joe Gillet), Crab Apple (Brooks Durkee) and Essayer (Peter DeMichele). Only one horse failed to complete the course. Billy Meister on Sea Speed fell at the thirteenth fence.
The race was run in 6:15.