Hampton Classic Wrap-Up
RELEASE: August 31, 2009
Jeffery Welles Claims $7,500 Prudential Douglas Elliman 1.45m Open Jumper Win
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Classic Communications
Jeffery Welles did it again, winning his second major class this week at the Hampton Classic Horse Show. Welles, of Wellington, FL, piloted Tango to top honors in the $7,500 Prudential Douglas Elliman 1.45m Open Jumper class. On Tuesday, he won the $7,500 1.40m Open Jumper Class aboard his veteran mount, Armani.
The 34th Hampton Classic, one of the nation's premiere show jumping competitions hosted 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.
Welles' winning 37.680 seconds bested the other eight riders who posted clear first-round efforts to advance to the timed jump-off. Shane Sweetnam placed second with Amaretto d'Acro (38.671). Georgina Bloomberg finished third with Metropolitan (39.422) and fifth on Radio City (40.300). Brianne Goutal on Bravo van de Kwakkelhoek placed fourth (39.638).
Welles has been paired with Tango, a powerful nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, for a year-and-a-half. "He's always strong, but today he was very aggressive," said Welles. "I was a little out of breath when I came off the course," he added with a laugh.
To tackle the course, he said, "You needed a real careful jumper who can curl up around the verticals," a description that fits Tango to a "T." Welles found the course particularly challenging because it had a lot of square oxers, plus a double combination and a vertical by the in-gate that he said "rode very short."
Welles said he is fortunate to have so many superb competition mounts, which are owned by Abigail Wexner. She also owns Authentic and a number of "nice young horses coming along," he said. "She is very supportive and never puts pressure on a rider to push a horse or jump him higher than we should. Without owners like her, our sport would not have so many developing young riders and horses." Brianne Goutal and Mon Gamin Take Colorful Victory in $15,000 Arcadia Aviation 1.40m Speed Derby
Brianne Goutal of New York City and Mon Gamin—Cloverleaf Farm's famed "painted pony"—showed their winning colors in the $15,000 Arcadia Aviation 1.40m Speed Derby at the Hampton Classic Horse Show. The pair breezed through the course in a time of 75.850 seconds, with Ireland's Darragh Kenney and Indy Star II on their heels for a second-place finish with 75.940.
Mon Gamin, a pinto Selle Francais gelding, flew over the fences, his brown-and-white coat with tinges of black painting an unusual blaze of color on the grand prix field, which is traditionally dominated by grays, solid browns and bays. Always a crowd-pleaser, Mon Gamin is a celebrity in his own right, being the inspiration for a Breyer horse model carrying his name.
Goutal could not have been more proud of the 14-year-old horse, which she has ridden since he was purchased as a six-year-old stallion. "I'm so happy with him. He is so brave and always super-careful. He is a competitive horse every time and never lets me down," she said.
This is the pair's sixth year at the Hampton Classic. Said Goutal, who is a 20-year-old sophomore at Brown College, "We came prepared and stuck to our plan. It's always great when your plan works out."
A proper plan was essential to successfully negotiate the challenging course, which foiled a number of veteran horse-and-rider combinations. Particular challenges came from a water-and-bridge complex with faux seagulls atop moorings and a bank that has traditionally separated the field at the Classic.
Goutal did not find the number of refusals at those obstacles surprising. "This field is notorious for unnatural jumps," she said, noting that the darkness of the water and the bobbing "geese" in it tend to unnerve a horse. Because the bank is directly beside the VIP tent, horses that shy atop it see the tent seem to suddenly veer toward them, giving them claustrophobia. "Some veteran horses that have jumped the bank in Aachen [Germany] with no problem won't do it here," said Goutal.
While Mon Gamin didn't even blink at either the bank or the water, several horses refused one or both, some spinning atop the bank and scrambling to get away. Kenney's first ride in the class, Castletto, tried that, but with strong urging from Kenney, the horse zipped up, over and down the bank on the second try. Indy Star II, also piloted by Kenney, found the bank a cakewalk, as did Bazooka de Muze, on which Kenney finished tenth. After the competition, a jovial Kenney quipped that his strategy had been the same on every ride—"try to get over the fences without knocking them down."
Callen Solem placed third with Warsaw (77.310), followed by Olympian Norman dello Joio, who was fourth aboard Maarten (78.540). McLain Ward and Sapphire Have Golden Touch in $50,000 Spy Coast Grand Prix Qualifier
McLain Ward and Sapphire, Team Gold medalists in the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympic Games, showed the field of 50 how it's done, handily winning the $50,000 Spy Coast Grand Prix qualifier at the Hampton Classic Horse Show.
One of 11 clear rides in the first round, Ward, of Brewster, NY, claimed what seems to be his perpetual pot of gold, turning in a winning time of 43.440 seconds with no faults in the jump-off round. Close on his heels was Canadian rider Mario Deslauriers, who had two swift rides in the jump-off. Deslauriers went clear with Paradigm to place second (43.660) and also finished fourth with Ardeche van de Zelm, (four faults in 45.280). Candace King had the only other clear round in the jump-off and placed third with Toronto (51.170).
Brianne Goutal placed fifth with Ralvesther (45.450). The sophomore at Brown University has had an amazing week, racking up numerous wins, including one earlier on Friday aboard Mon Gamin in the $15,000 Arcadia Aviation 1.40m Speed Derby.
Ward has won the Grand Prix at the Hampton Classic three times and has twice placed second. How does he feel being in the cat bird's seat leading into Sunday's main event? "Pleased," he said. "Pleased to be here and pleased to be in Sapphire's life."
He described Sapphire as "an old, experienced girl who knows the game," and said, "I just try not to get in her way." Although the mare hadn't competed since July, Ward said he was not concerned about that, given her record of consistency over the past nine years.
"This was a good day," said Ward after his win, noting how well the footing held up despite a light but steady rain. He called the Hampton Classic "a huge event and the most prestigious show in North America." Underscoring the quality and generosity of the Classic's sponsors, he added, "Everyone truly loves coming here. I just hope we don't have a hurricane," referring to a storm brewing off the coast.
All horse-and-rider combinations who completed the course qualified for Sunday's $250,000 FTI Grand Prix and FEI World Cup™ Qualifier, the horse show's feature attraction. Schaefer Raposa Jumps Through the Rain to Win the $10,000 Wölffer Estate Equitation Championship
Schaefer Raposa, 15, of Clinton, NY, braved the rain to win the $10,000 Wölffer Estate Equitation Championship riding Y2K, owned by renowned show jumping veteran Hap Hansen.
Raposa and Y2K finished with a score of 88.500 points. Reed Kessler and Flight were second with 87.000. Third went to Christina Gellos riding Rhythm & Blues scoring 83.500. First round leader Victoria Birdsall fell to fourth for a final score of 83.000 riding Sierra.
"It was alot of fun," said Raposa. "This was my first time competing in this class and in the Grand Prix ring. Last year I was riding in the pony divisions."
Competitors in the Wölffer Estate Equitation Championship rode the same horse in both rounds and were judged on such factors as their use of the aids, position, analysis of the course, and eye for assessing jumping distances in negotiating the varied fences. The goal was to effectively control the horse and produce a competitive yet stylish jumper performance. Major emphasis was placed on clear rounds, as well as the rider's ability to cope with natural obstacles and to complete the course within tight time restrictions.
Ten were scheduled to compete in the Final Round, but the rain fell hard enough to discourage four riders, leaving only six to take part on Saturday. Riding in reverse order of merit from the first round, Raposa was scheduled to go fourth, giving her time to watch the other riders take the course.
"I watched the first two go and they made it look easy," Said Raposa. "I was happy that I was in third place coming into the final round. I would have been more nervous if I was the leader. I was nervous when I came into the arena, but after the first jump, it all went away and I just focused."
Raposa's score put her at the top, but she had to wait for two more riders to see if she would stay there. "I knew Victoria still had to go and she is such an awesome rider, but it ended up working out."
It did not work out for Birdsall, however. Sierra, owned by her trainer Andre Dignelli, seemed to have trouble with the footing and knocked down three rails.
"She was trying really hard," said Birdsall of Sierra. "In the schooling ring she felt like she wanted to win, but when she got into the Grand Prix ring, she had a tough time with the footing."
"I was just hoping to do well and put in a solid round," said Raposa. "It felt good to win. It was really fun."
Andre Dignelli, received the $10,000 Trainer's Award as the trainer of the winner. He also coached the top four riders and six out of the top ten. McLain Ward and Goldika Had It in the Bag Winning the $30,000 FENDI Cup
McLain Ward had a good week at the Hampton Classic Horse Show winning back to back jumper events. Riding Goldika, owned by Ward and Blue Chip Bloodstock, the Team Gold medalist in the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympic Games, topped the field of 20 to win the $30,000 FENDI Cup on Saturday.
Ward and Goldika, were the fastest of the three double clears winning in a time of 36.568 seconds. Darragh Kenny and Gael Force were second with 37.539. Third went to 16-year-old Katie Dinan on Couletteo K James with 41.696.
Due to the inclement weather, the Fendi Cup was relocated to Jumper Ring II. Out of the 53 that were entered, only 20 decided to show and 18 managed to negotiate the first round. Ward was one of only three that were clear in the first round and was the second to go in the jump-off.
First to go was Darragh Kenny riding Gael Force, owned by Missy Clark and North Run. Kenny went clear, but he knew things were far from over with two left to compete. Ward was next and obviously gunning for a win, but it looked like it was all over for Goldika when she stumbled over a fence, giving everyone a scare. Amazingly the 19-year-old Holsteiner mare picked herself up and the pair became the new leaders. Dinan and her Couletto K James, were the last to go, but they were not a threat, going clear but over five seconds behind the leaders.
"She stumbled over the vertical and I lost my reins, but she recovered okay and did very well," said Ward of Goldika. "I was very happy with the way she went. It was a bit splashy, but the footing held up remarkably well. It was unfortunate that the weather was bad, but it was a good competition and I hope FENDI decides to come back next year."
Kenny was disappointed at finishing second for the second time this week. The 21-year-old is getting tired of seconditis, but still happy with the performance of Gael Force.
"It was a bit sticky out there, but I was very, very happy with the way my horse went," said Kenny. "McLain is McLain, he is just really hard to beat." Kappler, Thornton, and Bourns are Among Saturday's Winners
Rain did not keep the top show jumping horses and riders from competing at the Hampton Classic Horse Show on Saturday.
Chris Kappler and VDL Dundee, owned by Sand Castle Farm, won the $30,000 Split Rock Farm Young Jumper Championship for six-year-olds. Kappler was the only one to score a double clear in the class. Alexa Lowe made the jump-off, but had a rail with Windsor Farm Sales' Westham to take the runner-up spot. Shane Sweetnam and Tangelo Z, owned by Spy Coast Farm, LLC, were third.
In the $20,000 SHF Enterprises Young Jumper Championship for five-year-olds, three made it to the jump-off with clear rounds. Andrew Bourns and S&L Waikiki, owned by S & L Farm, negotiated the fastest clear in the jump-off to win in a time of 39.071 seconds. Kate Gerhart and Zen Rose, owned by Christine McDade, just missed also going clear, but in a time of 39.105. Ramiro Quintana and Forever Z, owned by Tiffany Ann Avon, had a rail for third place.
Four made it to the jump-off in the $15,000 WGHR Farm Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper and the winner was Alexandra Thornton riding Silvana, owned by Dunwalke, LLC, managing the only clear round in a time of 44.468 seconds. Tracey Weinberg had the fastest of the two four-fault rounds with 41.366 on Larone, owned by Weinberg Brokerage Group, and Marshall Shear stood third on Quipraquo du Lodge, owned by Central PA Equine Center with 43.099. McLain Ward Makes History Winning the $250,000 FTI Grand Prix
McLain Ward of Brewster, NY, made history at the Hampton Classic Horse Show by winning the $250,000 FTI Grand Prix and FEI World Cup Qualifier for a record fourth time on his two-time Olympic Team Gold medal horse, Sapphire, owned by Ward and Blue Chip Bloodstock. Previously, Ward was tied with Margie Engle and Rodney Jenkins with three victories each.
Unlike Saturday, the weather for the FTI Grand Prix was beautiful. Expectations were high, but the first clean round did not come until the 13th rider, Judy Garofalo Torres of Dover Plains, NY, riding Higher Ground Farm's Oliver. Torres had to wait a long time to see if anyone in the field of 33 could challenge her fault-free performance. One by one the best riders and horses in the country were beaten by the Conrad Homfeld designed course as rails continued to fall.
"I was kind of surprised," said Torres of the lack of clean rounds. "My horse did so well. I did think there would be a few more clears. I was getting pretty excited at the end."
The possibility of no jump-off was finally erased by the day's last rider, McLain Ward, and his 14-year-old, Belgian Warmblood mare. The audience collectively held its breath as Sapphire negotiated the fences without fault creating a battle of the sexes for the jump-off; Ward on his mare and Torres on her 19-year-old stallion.
Torres went first in the tiebreaker and rode conservatively leaving all the rails up, but in a beatable time of 56.88 seconds. Ward made it look easy rolling around the Grand Prix turf flawlessly posting a winning time of 50.81. Third place went to Darragh Kenny of Ireland and Obelix, owned by Trade Winds Farm, the fastest of the nine four-fault rounds.
"The course was quite difficult," said Ward. "Over the last few years the standard of this horse show has gone up again. Shannette (Cohen) has taken the show to another level. On course, the water line was spooky and caused a lot of trouble and the last line was a little mushy, which might be why a lot of rails went down, but the footing held up great."
Since Ward was the last to go in the first round and there were only two in the jump-off, there was not too much time in between rounds, making it a little tough for Ward and Sapphire. "She was running out of gas at the end of the jump-off and so was I, but she knows the game and was able to get it done," said Ward. "Either she keeps getting better or I have stopped getting in the way. Hopefully she stays healthy."
This is the seventh win for Sapphire in 2009 (and the 118th career win for Ward), an amazing statistic for any horse, but especially for a 14-year-old mare. "This year we picked the FTI events, they have been very good to us," joked Ward referring to his FTI victory in the $400,000 Grand Prix in Wellington in March.
Ward's win, coming in the heels of his triumph in Friday's $50,000 Spy Coast Farm Grand Prix Qualifier, made him just the third rider, following Joe Fargis in 2005 and Hillary Dobbs in 2008, to sweep the Hampton Classic's two lead events. For good measure, Ward also won the $30,000 Fendi Cup on Goldika on the day in between, giving him Grand Prix wins on three consecutive days.
Even though Torres did not make it to the winner's circle, she was not too disappointed. "I have had him for 10 years," said Torres referring to her 19-year-old. "I wanted this class to be the class of the year, the main event for him. Coming in second to McLain is very, very exciting. I'll take it."
Full results and further information on the Hampton Classic are available at www.hamptonclassic.com