Inns of Court, a rank outsider in the top-flight field of eight, won the Middleburg Hunt Cup today by a head over Appolinax. Knight Spot was third, another length behind.
Juggernaut II, the favorite, and Double Antix rounded out the finishers of the 3 1/4-mile, 16-jump race. Sandi's Prissey fell at the 10th jump while Mod Man and Traveling Son pulled up.
Charles (Chick) Owens, bounced off Commissioner Jim earlier in the afternoon, came back to guide Inns of Court to his first sanctioned victory and the winner's share of the $8,000 purse, richest for a timber chase in the country this year.
"I guess it pays to fall off," said Owens, the young amateur rider from Baltimore who has won his share of races on the point-to-point circuit this spring. "Once you're dumped . . . you feel . . . what the hell."
The feature of the most successful Middleburg Spring Race Meeting in history -- a crowd of almost 15,000 showed up -- started off as predicted with front-runner, Traveling Son taking the lead and the big four of Juggernaut II, Mod Man, Knight Spot and Sandi's Prissey running easily off the pace.
Joy Slater took Double Antix to the top at the fifth jump and led until the field moved into the 10th in front of the stands. Sandi's Prissey, who had begun to move going into the fence, hit it hard and went down. Young Lisa Coffren was uninjured but the horse was cut and reinjured a leg.
Inns of Court "wanted to be out in front," said Owens, who took the lead between the 11th and 12th fences. "I didn't want it so soon but there we were."
"You've got to give the credit to Vivian (Rall, trainer). She said the horse was ready for the race, and so it was."
Inns of Court, with a first and two seconds on the point-to-point circuit this year, had not been raced last year because of an injury.
John Fisher, owner, trainer and rider of Juggernaut II, said as he walked to the stables, "I guess the 17 pounds difference in this heat helped. But he just didn't pick them up and put them down like he usually does. He just wasn't jumping good."
The cofeatured James E. Wiley Memorial was won by Running Coment, who took the lead at the eighth of 11 fences and finished eight lengths ahead of Mystan in the two-mile $5,000 hurdles event.