Stormin' Norman stormed down the muddy stretch to nip Frost Time at the wire today and win the second running of the Middletown Valley Hunt's Governor's Cup race by two lengths.
The only other Starter in the three mile timber steeplechase made more difficult by heavy going was Charles Owens's Sure Move, last year's winner. Sure Move bobbled the 16th jump and lost its rider.
Up to that point it had been two-horse race between Billy Myers on Frost Time and Sure Move with E.W. Gillette Jr. holding Stormin' Norman way off the pace.Frost Time and Sure Move had exchanged the lead a dozen times over the first two turns of the course.
With Sure Move out of it, Frost Time seemed certain to pick up its second victory in the 1977 Governor's Cup competition and take a commanding lead for the cup, emblematic of the Maryland point-to-point championship.
But Gillette had other ideas. He began to shorten the distance on the leader going up the long gruelling hill into the 19th fence. he took the outside on the turn and went over the final barrier neck and neck with Myers.
The horses bumped as they landed with Frost Time coming out of the exchange a slight leader. But the Jig-Time-gelding, carrying an extra five pounds, could not match Norman in the final surge to the finish.
Ironically, it was Myers on Frost Time which met disaster at the 16th fence last year with Owens going on to win aboard Sue Move.
In the co-featured Open Timber race, the 17th fence knocked out Tommy Voss on Bright Tune giving Peter Jay on Pap's Shadow an uncontrested victory. It was the second strong showing by Pap's Shadow in its first year of timber racing. It registered a strong second in the open timber race at Rappahannock two weeks ago.