Hampton Classic Gets Under Way with Wins from Top Riders
RELEASE: August 26, 2009
Hillary Dobbs Claims Repeat Win in $20,000 Nicolock Time Challenge to Open 34th Annual Hampton Classic Horse Show
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Classic Communications
Hillary Dobbs of Sussex, NJ, and Marengo returned to reclaim their title, winning a second consecutive $20,000 Nicolock Time Challenge, the feature jumping competition on the Opening Day at the 34th Hampton Classic Horse Show.
One of the nation's premiere show jumping competitions, the Hampton Classic continues through Sunday, August 30. The Classic hosts hunter/jumper competition for riders ranging from the youngest competitors in Leadline and Short Stirrup classes all the way up to Olympic veterans in the $250,000 FTI Grand Prix. Entered in the show are all four members of the United States' 2004 Gold-medal Olympic team—Beezie Madden, McLain Ward, Peter Wylde and Chris Kappler.
Dobbs, 21, a senior at Harvard University, won the $20,000 Nicolock Time Challenge with a time of 55.85 seconds. Second was Kirk Webby of New Zealand with Cosmopolite S (59.44), followed by Ramiro Quintana of Wellington, FL, on Q's Charm, who placed third (59.92).
Dobbs was jubilant Sunday about the performance of her horses, who are owned by The Dobbs Group. She described Marengo, a Dutch warmblood gelding, as "an especially fast horse" whose forte is speed classes.
"If I ride Marengo correctly, we always have a shot [at winning]," she said. "I took some risks out there, but I know this horse. We think similarly—we both like to go fast."
Dobbs thanked her trainers, Missy Clark and John Brennan, for consistently finding her "wonderful horses that match me." She is particularly proud of another horse she rode in the $20,000 Nicolock Time Challenge: Udento VDL, a stunning grey Dutch warmblood stallion. The eight-year-old also looked to be in the ribbons in Sunday's Nicolock until late in the course, when he lightly rubbed a rail, which came down. Dobbs attributed it to rider error.
She is fresh off a sweep of major victories two weeks ago at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset with Marengo. Aboard Marengo, Dobbs won both the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix and the Open Welcome Stake. In the latter class, she also placed fifth and sixth aboard Marlo and Corlett, respectively.
Dobbs, who has competed in Europe for the United States Equestrian Federation, called the Hampton Classic "our [country's] version of the elite shows in Europe." She said course designer Conrad Homfeld's Nicolock course provided lots of options for riders and provided her with "a great start off to the week."
In addition to the $20,000 Nicolock Time Challenge, Opening Day at the Hampton Classic included the third annual WLIU 88.3 FM National Anthem Singing Contest, which was emceed by the radio station's popular host, Bonnie Grice. High school senior Olivia Ashley Reed, 17, won the contest, which was broadcast live on WLIU. The resident of Sag Harbor and Freeport won in a live "sing-off" for the right to perform the national anthem in the grand prix ring prior to the $20,000 Nicolock Time Challenge. Breitling Takes Stephanie Riggio to Grand Championship on Opening Day
Stephanie Riggio of New York City clinched the Local Hunter Grand Championship on Opening Day at the Hampton Classic Horse Show with her horse Breitling. The pair amassed enough points in the Local Hunter Non Pro division to claim the Championship in the division and the overall Grand Championship.
Riggio continued her winning streak on another horse she owns, Fiddler's Bridge, who took her to the top in the Local Amateur Owner Hunter Championship.
The Toppings of Sagaponack, NY, swept the Local Hunter Pro Championship, with Gretchen Topping winning section A on Royal Palm (owned by Riggio) and Jagger Topping taking section B on Sun Phoenix (owned by Barbara Borg).
Local Junior Hunter Champion was Molly Sullivan of Natai