Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Mar­cella Peyre-Ferry

Horses and rid­ers clear an ob­sta­cle at the Arthur O. Choate Jr., Me­mo­rial Tim­ber race at the Penn­syl­va­nia Hunt Cup Races. The win­ner was Jeff Mur­phy on Canyon Road, No. 3 on the right above.

The steeplechas­ing sea­son for the re­gion wrapped up Sun­day with the 82nd run­ning of the Penn­syl­va­nia Hunt Cup races. A per­fect event for a sunny au­tumn Sun­day, race-go­ers were treated to a great view of top rac­ing ac­tion.

Steeplechas­ing and the PA Hunt Cup are Ch­ester County tra­di­tions that re­tain many of the trap­pings of a by­gone era. As a part of the fes­tiv­i­ties, there is a pa­rade of hounds from the Cheshire Hunt, and a car­riage pa­rade with antique ve­hi­cles dat­ing back to the 1800s.

Just as in the early days of the race, driv­ers and pas­sen­gers on the car­riages gath­ered in a prime van­tage point and watched the races from atop the ve­hi­cles.

“We love com­ing to the Hunt Cup ev­ery year and I love be­ing a guest of Jamie O’Rourke,” said Martha Bar­bone of Ox­ford who was a pas­sen­ger on the four-in­hand car­riage driven to the races by Jamie O’Rourke of Unionville. “It’s magic. It’s just won­der­ful. Th­ese horses are ter­rific and we have a won­der­ful time.”

Be­tween races, spec­ta­tors en­joyed tail­gat­ing like any other sports fans, with food, drink, and fes­tiv­i­ties among friends whether the cel­e­bra­tion was from the back of an antique car­riage or an SUV.

The purse for the PA Hunt Cup to­tals $35,000, mak­ing the four mile race a ma­jor fea­ture for lo­cal rac­ing.

This year’s win­ner was Ebanour, owned by Irvin S. Nay­lor, trained by Cyril Mur­phy and rid­den by Dar­ren Nagel. “He was very good he’s there when you need him. He was pick­ing up very well up the straight,” Nagel com­mented on his way to the tro­phy


This was Nagel’s first race on Ebanour. The horse won the Vir­ginia Gold Cup this spring with jockey Gus Dahl, but Dahl was in­jured in a fall from Ebanour dur­ing the Ge­nessee Hunt cup on Oct. 8.

The Hunt Cup was one of three sanc­tioned jump­ing races at the meet along with a flat race, pony races for ju­nior rid­ers and a new ad­di­tion this year, a sidesad­dle race.

Eight side-sad­dle rid­ers, (in­clud­ing one male) took part in the race that saw them gal­lop­ing cross-coun­try as ladies might have raced in the early 20th cen­tury. While it was not a tightly con­tested race, it was still a crowd fa­vorite, with cheers go­ing up for each of the rid­ers as they headed down the stretch.

Tak­ing home the tro­phy was Ex­ton rider Mary Musheno on Lucky to Have Him, owned by Lara Lam­parski. “It’s a good high af­ter­ward, but it’s ter­ri­fy­ing while you’re do­ing it,” Musheno said fol­low­ing the race.

Musheno was ac­tu­ally the sec­ond fin­isher, with Mered­ith John­son com­plet­ing the course first on Skit­tles, but she was dis­qual­i­fied for in­ter­fer­ence at a jump.

Pro­ceeds from the Hunt Cup ben­e­fit the Ch­ester County Food Bank, the Land Con­ser­vancy of South­ern Ch­ester County and S.A.V.E. (Safety, Agri­cul­ture, Vil­lage and En­vi­ron­ment).



Car­riage driv­ers and their pas­sen­gers parked for a good view of the Penn­syl­va­nia Hunt Cup Sun­day.

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