Scenes From The April 6th Old Dominion Hounds Point-to-Point

Originally posted on on 4/8/24, written by Tod Marks

Photos courtesy of Douglas Lees

Three races, three different winning combinations score at Virginia Point to Point

With substantial purse money on the line, Saturday’s Old Dominion Hounds Point to Point in Washington, Va., attracted some budding maiden and veteran timber talent. And by day’s end trainers Doug Fout, Sean McDermott, and Parker Hendriks had their first winners of the young season while leading 2023 rider Graham Watters notched his initial score. McDermott and Hendriks, who also do double duty as jockeys, also had winners on the card. For McDermott it was his first of the year, while Hendriks earned his NSA-leading fourth.

Here’s a recap of the three-race, $80,000 card at Ben Venue Farm:

Late surge propels Hold Hard to open maiden hurdle victory

Rolling Tide’s Hold Hard came on with a burst in deep stretch to overtake Runnymoore Racing’s Clifton Down and land the $30,000 opener by a half length.

Hold Hard ridden by Parker Hendriks won the $30,000 Ben Venue Maiden Hurdle race at Old Dominion

With Parker Hendriks riding for trainer Doug Fout, Hold Hard sat in second in the field of 10 for most of the 2-mile race, never more than about four lengths behind Clifton Down and jockey Jamie Bargary. Clifton Down still maintained a comfortable advantage heading over the 11th and final fence, and that’s when Hendriks quickly swung to his inside, moved alongside Clifton Down and edged clear in the final strides.  Irv Naylor’s Travesuras, under Gerard Galligan, was well-placed throughout and snatched the show spot.

The Irish-bred five-year-old winner was making only his fifth career start and fourth over jumps since launching his career last August.

Love Saga out finishes Camcha to take filly & mare hurdle

Ivy Hill Stable’s Love Saga had the lead, relinquished it, and fought back to repel Greg Hawkins’ Camcha in the $30,000 filly & mare hurdle, also at 2 miles over 11 fences.

$30,000 Filly and Mare Maiden hurdle race winner Love Saga ridden bt Sean McDermott on the way to the winners circle

Trained and ridden by Sean McDermott, Love Saga, a Maryland-bred five-year-old, was making just her third start over jumps. As soon as the flag dropped, Camcha and jockey Gerard Galligan burst to the front, with Potter Group USA and Ashwell Stable’s Fox in the Park, and Love Saga in close pursuit.

There was little change in position until the beginning of the second circuit around the course when McDermott nudged his mount to the front. At about the same time, Camcha hooked the leader and as the two battled, Rolling Tide’s Easy Squeeze made her move. It was still anyone’s race at the second to last fence and as the field moved over the final jump, Easy Squeeze, with Parker Hendriks, made a bold bid for the lead on the outside, briefly taking charge until falling.  Love Saga, on the far inside, avoided traffic, as did Camcha and the two dueled to the wire with Love Saga scoring by a length. Michael Smith’s Split in Two (Jamie Bargary) was third. Both horse and rider were up after the spill.

Watters, Lap of the Gods takes timber allowance

Parker Hendriks, who captured the first of three NSA sanctioned contests at Ben Venue, then missed a golden chance when his mount fell on the lead at the last fence in the second race, lost the opportunity to make it two for three when he had to take off his Lap of the Gods, who put in a late run to take the $20,000 timber finale at 3 miles.

Lap Of Gods ridden by Graham Watters winner of the $20,000 Leeds Don Timber race

But Lap of the Gods, who Hendriks also trains for owner Stewart Strawbridge, was in good hands under two-time leading NSA rider Graham Watters.

Leeds Don winner #2 Lap of Gods ridden by Graham Watters, jumping over a fence

Sitting patiently in second (of four starters) behind Armata Stable’s Fashion Line (Conor Tierney) early in the event over 18 wooden fences, Watters and Lap of the Gods eased back to third behind Irv Naylor’s Family Tree (Harry Beswick) as the quartet began the second circuit of the course. Still running easily alongside Stooshie, a second Naylor runner, Lap of the Gods and the two others remained in striking distance of Fashion Line, a three-time winner in 2023, whose lead began to shrink the third time around the undulating course.

Lap Of Gods connections rider Graham Watters and trainer Parker Hendriks after race

The lead evaporated entirely when Fashion Line bobbled and lost his rider just past the 14th fence, giving Family Tree a one-length advantage over Lap of the Gods, who was looming ominously on the outside. Lap of the Gods had all the momentum heading to the final fence, when he accelerated and extended his advantage to 5 3/4 lengths at the wire. Stooshie was third.

The Leeds Don $20,000 Timber race winner is on the left #2 Lap of Gods ridden by Graham Watters jumping over a fence next to 2nd place finisher #3 Family Tree ridden by Harrison Beswick

The evening after the races, Tierney reported he was doing well and plans to ride next weekend. 

Sam Cockburn after winning Foxhunter part of combined race
Open hurdle winner Outperform ridden by Gerard Galligan
Restricted Young Adult flat winner Auction Kingdom with rider Connor Reddy in the winners circle
Novice Rider Flat race winner Artistic Choice ridden by Brian Barry
Virginia Bred, Sired, or Certified Flat race won by Graham Watters on Mission North
Maiden Hurdle 1st Division winner #3 Moonshine Time ridden by Mell Boucher
2nd Division Maiden Hurdle race at Old Dominion winner Auchincruive ridden by Andrew Burke leaping over a fence
1st division maiden hurdle race winner Moonshine Time ridden by Mell Boucher approaching the winners circle
2nd Division Maiden Hurdle race last fence left to right: #2–Auchincruize(Andrew Burke Ott, up)–1st; #10–Doesnt Sting(Graham Watter, up)–2nd; #5–Tiz A Giant(Whitney Schweizer, up)-2nd.
The Old Dominion Hunt Cup Amateur and Novice Rider and Foxhunters Timber winner Keys Discount ridden by Sam Cockburn
Left to right: #3–Post War(Zach Miller, up)–2nd; #1–Overdrawn(Virginia Korrell, up)–1st in the Amateur and Novice Rider Timber race