The 1977 Seven Corner point-to-point championship was decided at the 15th jump of the Old Dominion Hunt Cup today as Estremadura failed in its bid to overtake Cousin Wes at the fence and went tumbling into the soft Ben Venue turf.
A crowd of more than 60,00 saw Mike Dupont's bid to dethrone Randy Rouse as the owner-rider champion go down with Estremadura.
"He's a clever hores. He likes to stay on top," said Rouse, the 60-year-old Fairfax sportsman who was chalking up his ninth championship in the 17-year history of this challenge trophy. "We knew he was coming to us, so Wes just responded."
Cousin Wes, who won this race last year (which also gave Rouse the title over Dupont), finished in front of Don Rusham on Bottom Button with encanardo a distant third. It was the first start of the year for Bottom Button.
It was the third victory of the season for Cousin Wes, and coupled with Free Movement's two early victo-this series in which the best five of rise, gave Rouse a perfect score in nine races count.
On the other hand, the First Colony Life owner-rider series will go down to the wire at the final meeting of the spring next Sunday at Oatlands. High Peak, which ran third today in the Big Cobbler Hurdles behind Celtic Song III and Blue Nearco, picked up two points and now leads defending champion Kool Kake by an 18-16 margin. The latter ran fourth today.
The cofeatured Leeds Manor was won by Idol Fellow, the aged bay gelding carrying the colors of Helen Pellinger of Maryland. It was the second year in a row that Idol Fellow has won this 3 1/4-mile steeplechase.
Today he romped to a 10-lenght victory over Champerty, whose driving finish gave him a half-length margin over veteran Timber Topper.
The late scratches of 1976 Virginia Gold Cup winner Semington and the 1973 Gold Cup Winner Portobelol III reduced the field to six. The 14th fence claimed Breezy Buggy while English Encounter pulled up after the same fence.