For Immediate Release – May 25, 2023 – S. Bryce Wing Award

The Maryland Hunt Cup Association announces the presentation of the S. Bryce Wing trophy to Kathy and Sanna Neilson.

Given to recognize an outstanding contribution to Maryland timber racing, this award honors the memory of S. Bryce Wing, who was a member of the Maryland Hunt Cup Association from 1939 until his death at age 85 in 1975.  Mr. Wing was Secretary of the Maryland Hunt Cup from 1956 to 1966 and also president of the National Steeplechase and Hunt Association (now the National Steeplechase Association) from 1948 to 1964. He was also a member of The Jockey Club and a Master of Foxhounds at Elkridge-Harford.

This year, we have two recipients who have both given a lifetime’s worth of positive contributions to the sport, as well as achieving outstanding successes in this year’s Maryland Hunt Cup finishing first and second. Kathy and Sanna have had a combined total of 270 Maryland Timber starts as trainer. Between them they have had 30 Maryland Hunt Cup Entries and 6 winners, including Sanna as a rider as well as a trainer.

Photo ©Anne Litz Photography

The Neilson and Stewart legacy in the long history of the Maryland Hunt Cup is profound; as is their generational championing of equestrian pursuits as a whole. Sanna and Kathy’s Great Grandfather Redmond C. Stewart founded the Green Spring Valley Hounds and their Great Uncle Plunket Stewart founded Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds. Kathy and Sanna’s grandfather Redmond Stewart rode in the Maryland Hunt Cup as a jockey and went on to win it as an owner. Their other grandfather, Louis Neilson Jr. was Master of Foxhounds at the Elkridge Harford Hunt, and their mother Nina Stewart was a master at Cheshire Foxhounds. Their father, the famed late Paddy Neilson rode in the Maryland Hunt Cup 21 times, winning three times as a rider and once as a trainer! Sanna and Kathy didn’t disappoint such a legacy and followed in their family’s footsteps triumphantly.

Sanna rode winners in the Hunt Cup two times; once in 1991 aboard Tom Bob, and again on Ivory Poacher in 1993. As a trainer she has had eight starts beginning with Floating Interest who was third in 2001, followed by The Bruce who was the winner in 2007 (with her brother Stewart in the irons), then Guts for Garters who was third in 2013, the winner in 2014, and runner up in 2015 and in 2016. Most recently Sanna trained Royal Ruse who was fourth in 2021 and second in this year’s Hunt Cup.

wing trophy 2023
Photo ©Anne Litz Photography

Kathy has certainly left her mark on the Maryland Hunt Cup as well. Her first outing as a trainer set the bar high as she saw Young Dubliner to the winner’s circle in 2002, which set the course record at the time! Since then she has entered seven more horses in a total of 19 Hunt Cup entries, running almost consistently trying to replicate that lightning in a bottle. After many years of hard fought battles she triumphed and this year trained the 2023 Maryland Hunt Cup winner Withoutmoreado. Ridden by Connor Tierney and owned by Irv Naylor (a former Bryce Wing award recipient), this year’s victory took Kathy’s successes to new heights.

Both Sanna and Kathy have written themselves into hallowed history of the Maryland Hunt Cup and have left an indelible mark on the sport as a whole. The Maryland Hunt Cup Committee is honored to award the 2023 S. Bryce Wing Award to Sanna and Kathy Neilson, congratulations.

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bryce wing trophy
Photo ©Anne Litz Photography