April 28, 2014

Tally Ho!

That’s actually more of a fox-hunting cry than a horse-racing cry, but I will use it anyway! Saturday was the big race in town… or the second biggest race. There’s another one next month sometime. This was the 118th running of the Maryland Hunt Cup, one of the most notoriously difficult timber races in the country. In fact, the winner of this race gets an automatic invitation to the English Grand National.

But before the race begins, there’s much tail-gating and socializing to be done. The centerpiece of our picnic was this gorgeous flower arrangement, in the silver Hunt Cup trophy that had been won by our friend’s father. Because spring is so late this year, the pickings were a bit slimmer than last year’s flowers, but it was gorgeous, none-the-less, and got many admiring comments.

Everyone in our group brings something, from fabulous deviled eggs, which are always snapped up in a hurry, to fried chicken, to asparagus, to desserts. My Pimento Cheese was a success and everyone who tried it raved about it… or they were being nice and saying so. Sadly, as I was unpacking after the picnic, I dropped the little tureen that I’d taken to the picnic, and it shattered into a million little pieces.


The fun thing about tailgating is the friends who stop by, spend a few minutes and then move on. It’s like a movable feast and it’s such fun to see old friends and new. Our friend, and Antiques Roadshow “personality”, Michael Flanigan explains the betting to our friend’s son.MF&GCG

And seriously, isn’t this just the cutest kid? GCGActually, he’s second cutest…

There was a bookie there to take bets, and the horse I was interested in, Foyle, was topping the list. Its jockey, Sam Waley-Cohen, is an English rider who is good friends with Princes William and Harry. He’s an amateur rider and won the prestigious Cheltenham Gold Cup a few years ago, against several dozen professional jump jockeys.

Our friend, Sam Robinson, was on hand to paint pictures of the scenes around him, and luckily, the weather was perfect and the clouds were artistic!

I’d say he got it just about right!

Finally, it was time for the call to the post and the riders were off.

The fences that the horses are jumping are timber fences, one of the reasons that this is such a difficult race.

Twenty-two fences, four miles  and nine minutes later,

it was a photo-finish, with the eventual winner being Guts to Garters. My horse? It fell at the 16th fence, and both rider and horse were fine when I saw them trotting back to the finish line.

And the cutest kid at the Hunt Cup? It was my nephew!JWF

My parents took us to the Hunt Cup when we were children and now my brother’s taking his children. Three generations of our family were at the race!


  1. It looks like a lot of fun was had. Glad your cheese was a hit :-)

  2. That is an amazing race and I loved to watch it when I lived in Maryland. Great day for it too!

    1. You should come back for it next year!

  3. Wasn't the weather just perfect this weekend? The thing about breakages is you get to buy more (thats what I tell myself). It always happens! We had friends over for brunch before the Georgetown Housetour on Saturday and Bob broke some of his grandmas china while getting it out. He was so upset!

  4. What a fun day you share with us, thank you! So happy to read the horse and rider who fell are fine, but not your tureen. I hope you can replace it soon. The picnic table looked very colorful and inviting. The flowers looked perfect to me!

  5. Fantastic Day. So much fun and tradition--love those cuties.
    xoxo Mary


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