Lucy Goelet’s Twill Do charged to the lead in the stretch of the $75,000 Maryland Hunt Cup and overtook a game Battle Op to score his second victory in the Maryland timber classic on Saturday, April 28. Northwoods Stable’s Battle Op finished seven lengths clear of Bon Caddo, the 2011 timber champion who came home third in the 116th edition of the Hunt Cup.
Watch the HCP Sports video of the Hunt Cup here.
Twill Do, who had been winless since winning the Hunt Cup by five lengths in 2010, was reserved toward the back of the field early by jockey James Stierhoff, who also had ridden him in the 2010 race and was reunited with the 12-year-old Yarrow Brae gelding for a fourth-place finish in the Grand National a week earlier.
As the field thinned out over the 22 tall post-and-rail fences in Glyndon, Twill Do advanced to the front and had clear lead heading toward the final fence. But Battle Op made a strong move under Connor Hankin and seized the lead over the final fence. But Twill Do refused to give up and fought back to take back the lead in the final sixteenth of a mile. The two leaders continued to battle to the finish line, with Battle Op closing the margin slightly in the final strides.
Merriefield Farm’s Bon Caddo, ridden by English jockey Sam Waley-Cohen, was followed to the finish line by Professor Maxwell, Fort Henry, and Prospectors Strike.
Trained by William Meister, Twill Do ran the Hunt Cup’s four miles in 8:46.60 on firm ground. Meister collected his fourth Hunt Cup victory as a trainer. Winner of three Hunt Cups as a jockey, Meister was aboard Grand National winner And the Eagle Flys, who fell at the 17th fence. Private Attack, the 2011 Hunt Cup winner, fell at the 13th fence.