Neilson repeats in Hunt Cup Rides Ivory Poacher past Revelstoke

April 25, 1993|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,rd Staff Writer

Sanna Neilson might be the only jockey with a flawless riding record in the Maryland Hunt Cup.

Yesterday, the 24-year-old horsewoman won the race for the second time in two tries when she guided Landslide Farm's Ivory Poacher to a five-length victory over previously unbeaten Revelstoke.

Sea Speed finished third, Snow Maker was fourth and pre-race favorite, Pleasant Sea, showing a dislike for the heavy going, never fired and placed a well-beaten fifth.

Three years ago, in her Hunt Cup debut, Neilson won the race in her first try with the old veteran, Tom Bob.

But yesterday she had to use all of her skills to keep the inexperienced Ivory Poacher on his feet in his first trip around the huge course at Worthington Farm in Glyndon. The horse had a couple of close calls at the third and 13th jumps, among the biggest of the 22 fences.

"Sanna did a brilliant job," said trainer Ann Fenwick, who was saddling her first Hunt Cup winner. "She saved everything the horse had [for the stretch]. It takes a lot of gall to be that patient in a race and the horse was definitely green [inexperienced] over his fences."

It was also Fenwick's turn to show her proficiency as a horsewoman. Her husband, Charles Fenwick, Jr., has won the Hunt Cup five times as a rider and her son, Charlie Fenwick III, is the teen-age jockey who won nearly 300 races at Pimlico/Laurel before he recently announced his intention to quit and continue his education.

L But yesterday was Ann Fenwick's turn to be in the spotlight.

Ivory Poacher is the only horse she trains and the victory in the four-mile race that carries a $30,000 purse is her biggest.

Ten horses in the original 12-horse lineup started in the 97th running of the race. Oval Office and Uncle Merlin were scratched.

Jack Fisher on Revelstoke went immediately to the lead and did a heady job of slowing down the pace. Johnny Bosley on Bold Seven pressed him most of the way until he fell at the 17th fence. Neilson was content to let Ivory Poacher remain behind the leaders for about the first three miles.

The race began in earnest when Billy Meister on Sea Speed set sail after Fisher going into the 18th fence. But Meister might have timed his move too soon.

Sea Speed caught Revelstoke between the 19th and 20th obstacles and took command going into the next-to-last fence.

But Fisher called on his horse again and resumed the lead until Neilson began her rally on the inside and out-jumped Revelstoke at the final fence.

In the style of a classic four-miler, the enormous Ivory Poacher lengthened his stride in the stretch and had plenty of stamina left. He seemed to be drawing off at the end.

His time over the heavy going was 9 minutes, 13 1/5 seconds, well off the course record of 8:33 3/5 set in 1978 by Ben Nevis II.

Eight of the 10 horses finished the race. Behind the top five finishers came Florida Law, Body Music and Nick The Plumber. The latter, ridden by 54-year-old John McKenna Jr., fell at the fourth fence. But McKenna remounted and finished the course, receiving a thunderous ovation as he trailed in last.

In addition to Bold Seven's fall at the 17th fence, Ballybranogue refused at the water jump (21st fence) after initially ducking out.

Ivory Poacher is owned by three partners. They are Redmond Finney, his brother Jervis Finney and Lou Rawlings of Philadelphia. Rawlings is a former classmate of Redmond Finney at Princeton University.

Redmond Finney served as headmaster at Gilman School in Baltimore for 24 years and coached football and wrestling there until he retired to raise thoroughbreds at his Landslide Farm in Upperco.

The farm is named after the 1904 Maryland Hunt Cup winner, who was owned by Finney's grandfather, Redmond Stewart. Ivory Poacher's trainer, Ann Fenwick, is also Stewart's granddaughter and winning jockey Sanna Neilson is Stewart's great granddaughter and Anne Fenwick's niece.

L Even the winning horse has his share of Hunt Cup bloodlines.

Ivory Poacher is sired by Buckfinder, who was bred by the late Stuart Janney, Jr., who rode four Maryland Hunt Cup winners.

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