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Best Steeplechase Experience - for spectators

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  • Best Steeplechase Experience - for spectators

    I grew up going to Aiken spring steeplechase, and the Tryon Hounds and Blockhouse. I still go to Blockhouse, Colonial Cup, and Carolina Cup every year.

    Last year I went to Foxfield spring, and I'm toying with the idea of trying to attend one new meet every year.

    What are the best places to go? Atlanta, Queens Cup, Stoneybrook, and Iroquois are all closest to me and seem like good options, but I'm interested in heading up toward VA/MD for a bigger roadtrip too.

    If you could only pick one to attend, which one would it be and why??

  • #2
    I've only been to a fairly limited number of 'chases, but as a venue I think Montpelier is awesome. It is just a beautiful, beautiful place, and a very special one for anyone with an interest in either history or horses. It was once the home of both James Madison and Marion duPont Scott (Google her if you aren't familiar with her, she passed away in the 1980s and was a very big name in the 'chasing and flat racing and breeding worlds).

    You can also visit Battleship's (first American horse to win the English Grand National) grave there.

    http://www.montpelierraces.org/

    http://www.montpelier.org/
    Your future is created by what you do today, not tomorrow.

    Comment


    • #3
      There's always the Hunt Cup in Maryland.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Marion DuPont Scott founded Springdale in Camden- I will definitely look into Montpelier! Sounds fascintating. Thank you!

        Comment


        • #5
          IF you can head to the Iroquois it's not to be missed, but if you can also make it further north I'd go for the MD Hunt Cup or VA Gold Cup for the BIG experience. Any of the "big 4" in April in MD are a blast. Check nationalsteeplechase.com and marylandsteeplechasing.com for more info.

          A spring day's racing is never misspent.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            What makes the Hunt Cup something I would pick over somewhere else on the list of meets?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by evans36 View Post
              What makes the Hunt Cup something I would pick over somewhere else on the list of meets?
              It's larger than life. Biggest timber course of them all (nearly 5' solid timber), vibrant social atmosphere/tailgating, good viewing of the paddock and course. Just an incredible experience. These articles will give you an idea:
              http://voices.yahoo.com/the-maryland...570.html?cat=8
              http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...53/2/index.htm

              I've been to almost all the big US steeplechase races, and a few in Ireland, but the Hunt Cup reigns supreme in my heart. It takes a major act of God for me to miss it.

              Comment


              • #8
                I avoid VA GC like the plague. It is a really crappy viewing course, the old one was so much better. It is now a big drunkfest for 60,000 of your closest city friends. The people watching is second to none, but there are only a couple spots to really see the course. Montpelier and Middleburg would be my choices in VA
                Originally posted by The Saddle
                Perhaps I need my flocking adjusted.

                Comment


                • #9
                  If you're coming all the way from South Carolina, you should probably be aware that the Hunt Cup is the only race of the day, I believe--is that right?

                  That isn't at all to knock it as an event--it is legendary!--but I would want to know that going in, especially coming from so far away.
                  Your future is created by what you do today, not tomorrow.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Windsor1 beat me to it but Montpelier hands down is my favorite race; for many years I never missed it! It's because the setting is so so so lovely.

                    VA Gold Cup = zoo. Make that an overcrowded zoo. That said, it was a treat to see several of Saluter's wonderful consecutive wins over the years at Great Meadows, but it's not my favorite atmosphere.

                    MD Hunt Cup = epic race.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Some photos from last years Hunt cup to give you a sense of it.

                      http://www.vtablog.org/2011/05/dougl...-hunt-cup.html

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Anything at Glenwood Park in Middleburg.
                        Iroquois at Nashville.
                        * www.huntersrest.net -- Virginia hunt country's best Bed-and-Breakfast-and-Barn.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The Maryland Hunt Cup is the third jewel in the unofficial "Maryland Hunt Triple," which includes My Lady's Manor (3 miles over timber fences) and the Maryland Grand National (4 miles over timber fences.) The races are run on the last three Saturdays in April.

                          Two horses have won all three races in the same year: Wincanton in 1942 & '46 and Jay Trump in '64.
                          **********
                          Starts with an 'S,' ends with a 'T.' You figure it out.

                          **********
                          "Houston, Tranquility Base here, picking up where we left off ..."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I love going to Middleburg (Glenwood), MD Hunt Cup, and VGC/IGC. I've never had a problem seeing at VGC/IGC but I've always been up in the tower or behind the tower which has a great vantage point. I also find the day very interesting because you get to see different type of 'chasing, including hurdles, steeplethon, and big timber.

                            Middleburg just has a great atmosphere and a beautiful course that you can see everything from almost everywhere. Like VGC/IGC you also get a variety of racing in one day. Not to mention the locale to all the great Middleburg shopping!

                            As for Hunt Cup, it's just a legendary race. Epic to watch, and even more exciting when you walk the course. I'm actually about to launch a blog on the "Road to the Hunt Cup," as I currently take care of last year's winner and ride out two hunt cup contenders at another farm. Even if it's just a one race day, it's still an all day affair. If you decide to attend, let me know, I will definitely be there running a horse (if I'm not sent down to Foxfield to run horses).

                            As for Montpelier, if you want to go to watch racing, then it's not the place to go. I don't find that the course is that spectacular for race viewing. Not a fan of the course at all. While the history is there, the racing (other than the Noel Laing) is not very spectator friendly, IMO.

                            My hope is to make it up to Far Hills and Saratoga this Summer and Fall. I hear that both are amazing venues. Same with Iroquois.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Another vote for the Middleburg Spring Races. Glenwood park offers great views from almost any angle, though the Reserved Enclosure is the way to go. Six races, fun vendors and a great crowd.

                              Middleburg itself is a charming town with lots of galleries, boutique shops, tack stores and restaurants. And the surrounding area is rich in horse history and gorgeous farms. You can even stop in to the COTH offices! Lots of B&B and Inn options. Quick trip up from SC.

                              www.middleburgspringraces.com
                              Patience pays.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by SteeleRdr View Post
                                As for Montpelier, if you want to go to watch racing, then it's not the place to go. I don't find that the course is that spectacular for race viewing. Not a fan of the course at all. While the history is there, the racing (other than the Noel Laing) is not very spectator friendly, IMO.
                                Ditto. I've been twice; it needs large flatscreens if anyone hopes to follow the racing.


                                Originally posted by SteeleRdr View Post
                                My hope is to make it up to Far Hills and Saratoga this Summer and Fall. I hear that both are amazing venues. Same with Iroquois.
                                No one in their right mind can recommend Saratoga enough. The day I win the lottery is the day I buy a summer home there.
                                **********
                                Starts with an 'S,' ends with a 'T.' You figure it out.

                                **********
                                "Houston, Tranquility Base here, picking up where we left off ..."

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by WhiteCamry View Post
                                  The Maryland Hunt Cup is the third jewel in the unofficial "Maryland Hunt Triple," which includes My Lady's Manor (3 miles over timber fences) and the Maryland Grand National (4 miles over timber fences.) The races are run on the last three Saturdays in April.

                                  Two horses have won all three races in the same year: Wincanton in 1942 & '46 and Jay Trump in '64.
                                  The Maryland Grand National is 3 1/4

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Being from Maryland and having grown up going to the Hunt Cup it would be blasphemy to suggest any other race meet. Even if it is only one 1 race it is easy to make a fun day of it. Just hope the weather is good. This is Timber racing at it best. And Timber is America’s steeplechase. History and Tradition rules. No disrespect to the sissy jumpers, hurdlers intended.

                                    But you are making a long trip so I would recommend as others Middleburg also. If you go in the fall you get 2 days.
                                    I also really enjoy Gold Cup. But I suppose if you have a problem with people have a good time and drinking is involved, well, there are church socials closer.
                                    Radnor in PA is a great meet. Heck they are all great! P-Ps also

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      High Hope Steeplechase races at KHP in May are a hoot - not real serious racing, but a ton of fun and you can tailgate right on the rail.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Likely easiest to ask this here:

                                        With the Thorton Hill Point to Point (March 3rd) in Sperryville VA is there a fee per person or is it just per car? The website is a bit simplistic and I'm left to guess the real deal I'll be in the area visiting and thought it will be a good way to spend a Saturday as any.

                                        9 Races on the card - if the site is updated.

                                        Comment

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