Amateur Sarah Gavigan Snatches Victory From Pros in the $30,000 Golden Gate Grand Prix
RELEASE: July 8, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Marnye Langer
Patrick Seaton wanted to win the $30,000 Golden Gate Grand Prix so he could claim the Woodside Jumper Accumulator prize of $20,000. Peter Breakwell wanted to win because he was tired of finishing second to Seaton. Macella O’Neill wanted to win because she is a fierce competitor and has a string of solid jumping horses. But in the end, a former Zone 10 Young Rider jumped a little higher, turned a little faster, and dared to leave a stride out to claim her first Grand Prix victory.
Twenty-six horses started over Jamie Alder’s challenging course that incorporated both the water jump and the grob. However, it was the middle of the course, the vertical to the liverpool in a forward three strides, followed be a steady four strides out over a square oxer, one of the two largest on the course, that caused the most problems. One rider fell off, one withdrew, and quite a few had rails. “I think a lot of riders overdid the three strides,” said Alder. “It was only two feet long, but then they couldn’t get back for the tight four strides, and it was only two feet short.” However, those who had adjustable horses made the line look easy.
Early in the class, three horses in a row went clean and it looked like there would be lots of in the jump off. Sarah Gavigan piloted Edgewood’s Robin Hood to a clear round. This was only her third Grand Prix start and she was thrilled to find herself in the jump off.
Only five made it to the Alder designed jump off track that tested scope, the ability to turn, and the crowd favorite, a long run to a triple bar. The competitors did not disappoint.
Gavigan, who just graduated from U.C. Berkeley a few weeks ago, stood at the gate with her trainer, Nina Alario. “Nina told me the other riders had done ten to the triple bar,” said Gavigan. “I told her ‘I guess I’ll do nine’.” As she landed off the vertical for the gallop to the triple bar, she gave the crowd what they came to see and the big, bay gelding skimmed over the highest rail and clocked a winning time of 38.117.
Gavigan heads to Nigeria this fall for an internship, and then she hopes to return and resume riding. “After Young Riders (2004) where Zone 10 was the bronze team I took some time off because of school. I really just started back. I haven’t really shown at Woodside, and I think it is really great.”
Full results, schedules, and information are available on the LEG website at www.langershows.com