Tailgating and great weather greet the Hunt Cup

Photo by Chris Barber Mr. Stewarts Cheshire foxhounds follow the mast between races at the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup on Sunday.
Photo by Chris Barber Kieren Norris, riding Foyle, hurdles the final gate at the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup to win the race.

By MARCELLA PEYRE-FERRY

For 21st Century Media

WEST MARLBOROUGH - A bright beautiful Chester County Sunday provided the perfect setting for the 79th running of the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. Spectators for the event saw four exciting races over timber fences, a flat race, pony races, and a parade of antique carriages.

Tailgating is a tradition for steeplechase fans and there was no shortage of food and drink at the races. Andrew and Teri Touchstone have been coming to the hunt cup since 1994, and this year had their tailgate spread under an orange pirate flag. In honor of the rum drinking that is going on here at the tail gate and the pirate Henry Avery, we are flying his skull and crossbones, Andrew Touchstone smiled. Its for a good cause and a great excuse to drink outside in a field and enjoy the company of friends.

The Touchstones are involved with the Radnor Hunt Races in the spring and are avid steeplechase fans. We follow this as a serious sport - always know the jockeys, the trainers, the owners, its the NASCAR of horse racing so how can you not enjoy it? he said.

Alongside the race course, dogs were the popular animal in all sizes and breeds. Three generations of thee Sewall family of Downingtown were at the races along with their Chocolate Lab/Pomeranian cross along for the day dressed with a miniature rider on his back. It seemed like a good idea Shaun Sewall said. We come every year but this is the first time hes dressed for the races.

Other dogs at the races were more practical, such as Krystal Grecos assistance dog who sat quietly by the rail at the Canine Partners for Life van. Its awesome. Ive been a horse fan since I was little but Ive never been to a steeplechase race, so this is cool to watch. Its a really good event, its a nice show of athleticism for the horses, Greco said.

Proceeds from the races go to the Chester County Food Bank. Its been a magnificent day. Weve been thrilled by the response and the interest that all the participants have had here at the Hunt Cup, Chester County Food Bank Program Manager Phoebe Kitson said. We appreciate the Pennsylvania Hunt Cups efforts to help feed Chester County.

In racing results for the day, the winner of the featured PA Hunt Cup was Foyle, owned by Merriefield Farm and ridden by Kieran Morris. There were several falls in the field of 11 horses that started the race, but Morris had Foyle near the front for the majority of the four mile race, safely out of the way of trouble.

Other race winners over fences were Snow Secret Gin, owned by Walden 4 Inc, and ridden by Vincent Chenet; Nat Grew, owned by Caves Farm and ridden by Jody Petty; and Worried Man, owned by Harold Via and ridden by Paddy Young.

Winning riders in the junior races were Elizabeth Scully on small pony Bailey; Taylor Leatherman on medium pony Splash; Erin Swope on large pony Jordan; Madeline Parisan on Thoroughbred horse Lord Snowdon; and Amanda Howe on non-Thoroughbred horse Something Special.

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