Last year, it was Pennsylvanians. Yesterday, it was Virginians who spoiled the Marylanders' day by winning the My Lady's Manor and John Rush Streett Memorial steeplechase races at Monkton.
In the first of the three-mile timber events, the $10,000 My Lady's Manor, George Ohrstrom's Appolinax, under the skillful guidance of trainer-rider John Coles, went to the front of the seven-horse field at the 12th jump, landing ahead of early leader and last year's Maryland Hunt Cup winner, Bewley's Hill, with W.B.D. Stroud Jr. aboard.
Bewley's Hill made two gallant efforts to regain the lead at the 15th and 16th fences, but Appolinax managed to hold on. English-bred Cancottage, a three-time Hunt Cup winner with Joy Carrier up, had designs on the finish line, but the hard-charging Appolinax resisted to win by a nose. The 14-year-old grey gelding set a course record of 6:06 for the three miles.
"It was closer than a nose," said Coles about the margin of victory. "He (Cancottage) was pretty close. Any time they're that close you think you're gonna have trouble. You like to win by a little more."
Bewley's Hill was third. John Bosley IV rode last year's winner, Our Steeplejack, to finish fourth.
After four horses in the field of 10 unseated their riders, Clydetta Poe managed to hang on to Ohrstrom's French-bred Tobiano to win the $5,000 John Rush Streett Memorial in 6:07. The 7-year-old bay gelding took the lead at the 10th of 16 fences when Onamystic dumped rider Billy Meister.
At the next jump, Quod Libet took the lead and kept it into the stretch. Poe urged Tobiano, also trained by Coles, into a hard drive through the stretch, passing Quod Libet to win by half a neck.