Perfect Cast and Durock carried 165 pounds over three miles and 16 stout timber fences, and at the end of yesterday's 68th running of My Lady's Manor less than a neck separated the two horses.

The winner was Perfect Cast. Audrey Ricker's durable mare carried Turney McKnight to his fourth victory in the prestigious opener of Maryland's "big three" timber races.

Former U.S. Sen. Daniel Brewster finished third aboard Jay's Trouble, six lengths behind Durock. It was the first time the Marylander had ridden in the race since he won it in 1948 with Curwick Tim.

The only other starter, Aruhappy, "stood too far back and then packed it," according to rider Tommy Voss, who was unseated at the fifth jump.

Manor was raced over a new course, development having forced a change to the Elkridge-Harford Hunt Club after 67 years at the St. James Corner layout.

"It rode wonderful," said McKnight. "Nice big fences and the water was a challenge . . . it had more of a drop than I expected."

Perfect Cast, the 11-year-old mare which was out of training two years ago having a foal, led over the first eight fences. But at the ninth Buzz Hannum put Durock on top with a strong jump and held him there over the 10th and 11th before McKnight again seized the lead.

From the 13th to the 16th jumps Durock challenged but could not regain the lead. Then Perfect Cast withstood another furious effort to hang on for her neck victory.