Greg Bodah's Chatex mastered 19 of Glenwood Park's big new timber fences today to win the 65th running of the Middleburg Hunt Cup by 25 lengths over Bush Ruler.
David Benson fell off cofavorite Redgate at the final fence but remounted and finished second. The other cofavorite in the 3 1/4-mile timber steeplechase, Double Sparkle, fell at the first fence.
Liz McKnight's Red Invader, who was running away with the race for nine fences, came up short at the 10th and went down. None of the riders or horses was injured.
Gerry Newman, an Irishman who was making his first start in a timber race, handled the winner flawlessly. He stayed easily in third place for most of the early hectic pace, then moved Chatex up to second behind Bush Ruler at the 11th fence.
"He takes a while to warm up," said Newman, who waited until the 17th fence to make his move. "But when he does, he really goes."
"I never saw him before Thursday when I schooled him," added Newman, who was asked to replace injured Hilary Thompson, Chatex's regular rider, by trainer Tommy Lee Jones.
"He's a good horse. He really looks out for himself . . . He had to today, those were big fences," said Newman. "But not as big as Liverpool." Newman finished third on Drum Roan there in the 1978 Grand National at Aintree.
A crowd of nearly 10,000 earlier had seen Augustin Stables' Hawaiki come from behind to catch Reaffirm, a son of Affirmed, in the stretch and win the Riggs National Bank Bowl going away by 5 1/2 lengths.