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Montpelier Hunt Races
Montpelier Hunt Races hosts seven horse races, plus the Jack Russell Terrier races and Stick Horse races for children ages 2-11. The first horse race post time is 12:30 p.m. and the last race usually begins around 4:30p.m. Two races are on the flat and five are over fences. The premier race is the sixth race, which is run over Montpelier’s signature live brush fences. Most races are over 2 miles and the horses make over two turns around the course. The Hunt Races are a time-honored social event, too, with a tailgate contest, a hat contest, a sidesaddle exhibition, Grooms’ Award for the best turned out horse, and race goers and visitors have the opportunity to tour the Mansion on race day. This year’s tailgate contest theme was “Hollywood Heydays of the 1930s,” chosen to honor Marion duPont Scott, founder of the races in 1934, who then married movie star Randolph Scott in 1936.
In 1901 William DuPont had purchased the Montpelier estate, located four miles west of Orange, Virginia. Mr. DuPont’s daughter, Marion duPont Scott, an accomplished horsewoman, inherited the property from her parents and resided at Montpelier until her death in 1983, at which time the duPont family transferred the property to the National Trust For Historic Preservation.
Those who attend the Iroquois Steeplechase in Nashville, Tenn. on the second Saturday in May will recognize some familiar jockeys and trainers who were successful at Montpelier. In the third race, the Battleship Hurdle, jockey Darren Nagle rode Attracting to victory for owner/trainer Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey Jack Doyle was the winner of the fourth race, the Constitution Hurdle, on Kristian Strangeway’s I Am Not Here for trainer Todd Wyatt. Jockey Ross Geraghty won the fifth race, the Marion DuPont Scott Memorial on Magalen O. Bryant’s Eve’s City for trainer Doug Fout. In the sixth race, the Montpelier Cup, Darren Nagle won on Sherry Fenwick’s Anticipating for trainer Jonathan Sheppard. And in the seventh race, the Noel Lang hurdle, Irvin S. Naylor’s Amschel was the winner with jockey Graham Watters for trainer Cyril Murphy.
Full results of the Montpelier Hunt Races can be found at http://www.nationalsteeplechase.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Montpelier-Hunt-Cup-results.pdf
Highlights of some of the races from the National Steeplechase Association:
“Irv Naylor’s Amstel, always racing comfortably under Graham Watters, jumped powerfully to the lead at the last fence of the Montpelier Hunt Races’ $40,000 Noel Laing Handicap, gave up some ground on the final turn, and repelled Stooshie to win by 3¼ lengths on Saturday,” wrote Don Clippinger. Trained by Cyril Murphy, Amschel, a five-year-old, had a three-race winning streak last year in Ireland.
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