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Teddy Davies Opens Up About His Record-Setting Maryland Hunt Cup Victory

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- The Maryland Hunt Cup is one of the most challenging horse races in the world. Riders go 30 miles per hour around a four mile course, jumping over 22 fences.

WJZ spoke with this year's winner about what makes his victory special. Teddy Davies has been around horses his whole life.

"Two years old, I think, was the first time I ever sat on a horse or pony," Davies recalled. "And I just fell in love with it."

At Dunmore Farm in Monkton, Davies' family trains steeplechase horses. Davies started racing when he was 8, and he began racing against professionals when he was 16.

"It's just a huge adrenaline rush," he said. "Any nerves you may feel before just turn into adrenaline, and it's just incomparable to anything else."

During his senior year at The Boys' Latin School of Maryland, while juggling academics and varsity wrestling, Daviest felt ready for his biggest racing challenge yet. He decided to compete in the 125th running of the Maryland Hunt Cup.

"Luckily, my parents are great trainers," he said.

That's because his parents are both Hunt Cup champions. His mother, Blythe, spent years as "the leading professional steeplechase jockey in the country," and his father, Joe, is a three-time Hunt Cup champion.

"Super demanding course," Joe Davies said. "Half the runners that usually start don't finish. You have to really be precise. You're going 30 miles an hour over 4- to 5-foot solid timber fences. And after three miles, a lot of horses get tired."

Davies' parents took a calculated risk having their son ride last year's winner, "Vintage Vinnie." Some people told them the horse was "too dangerous." 

"He runs off and he's almost uncontrollable," Joe Davies said. "But Teddy developed a rapport with him all spring."

As Teddy Davies put it, Vinnie likes to take off and doesn't enjoy listening.

"So, you just have to let him do whatever he wants to do," he said.

The Maryland Hunt Cup took place April 30.

At 18 years old, Davies was one of the youngest riders. According to the race chart, Vintage Vinnie set the pace, has a wide margin by the sixth fence, jumps consistently well and only increases his lead by the 16th fence.

In other words, Vinnie and his rider left the competition in the dust.

"When I won, honestly it didn't even feel real at the time," Teddy Davies said. "It took a few days to register that I had actually won, because it was such a surreal feeling."

It was a hard-fought victory.

"He just connected with this horse," Davies' father said. "He listened to the horse. And he sat up and just rode. It was amazing."

The 18-year-old even set a course record at 8 minutes 15 seconds.

"He did it faster than anyone has ever done it since 1894," his father said.

It's the first father-mother-son combination to win the Maryland Hunt Cup, continuing a proud family tradition.

"It's an honor to be able to share that legacy with them," Davies said.

The 18-year-old will continue riding this summer. In the fall, he plans to study business at the University of Delaware.

But come next spring, Davies hopes to defend his title at next year's Hunt Cup, perhaps riding the same horse.

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