John French and Crown Affair Win the $10,000 Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby
RELEASE: May 20, 2010
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By EquestriSol
Photo by CapturedMomentPhoto.com (John French and Crown Affair.)
The beautiful grass grand prix field at Showpark set the stage for two main events this week at the Ranch & Coast Tournament horse show. On Friday afternoon, the hunters were the stars as they competed in the $10,000 Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby and on Saturday afternoon, the jumpers took the spotlight in the $50,000 Grand Prix of California presented by Mary’s Tack & Feed.
Thirty-eight horses hunted around the Derby course designed by Scott Starnes, which included three 4’ options and a diagonal line across the field with two verticals and two oxers. The early part of the line rode easy in five strides then continued to flow in four strides and finished with three strides. As always, the course took its toll on a few, a spooky cut-out wall leading into the combination at fence eight stopped a handful in their tracks and others had hard rubs or a rail in the diagonal line. But for the top twelve of the day, the scores were in the eighties and even nineties. Watching those rounds flow around the course was hunter poetry in motion.
The top scores in round one went to Yellow Dog Farm’s stallion Crown Affair with John French in the irons. Literally earning points for their style, the pair earned a 93 plus 5 bonus points and a 91 plus 3 bonus points for a total of 192. Young amateur Melissa Doddridge, who’s been a star in a number of Derbies this year, was awarded a total of 185 for her round, the next highest score to the leader.
The handy round required a hand gallop to an oxer, an uphill ride to a trot jump and a downhill gallop to the last line. Sitting fifth after the first round, Keri Kampsen and On Top (Laurel Ridge Sport Horses LLC, owner) mastered the handy course, earning five bonus points from each judge, and moving up to second. Although second in scores for the handy round, Crown Affair couldn’t be beat and led the victory gallop gallantly as he did in Thermal for the same event.
“It was a great to be able to show on the grand prix field at Showpark, the footing is so good. It was a hard class to win, a lot of horses jumped well. The interest and enthusiasm from the crowd made it even a more special win,” remarked winning rider John French. With the qualifying period for the 2010 Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA Hunter Derby Finals coming to a close after The Devon Horse Show (June 1, 2010), horses, riders and owners are making their plans to head to Kentucky in August.
“Crown Affair is another horse like Rumba who knows when it’s a special event and rises to the occasion,” French notes. “I’m really looking forward to going to Kentucky twice this year, for the Derby Finals in August and for the hunter demonstration on Crown at the World Equestrian Games in October. It is such an honor to have been chosen to ride a demonstration at the WEG.”
Blenheim June Classic I and Showpark Racing Festival in July both offer $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derbies that will qualify horses for the 2011/2012 Derby season.
Blenheim EquiSports, an equestrian event management company based in San Juan Capistrano, CA, produces over thirty events per year in three locations: San Juan Capistrano, Del Mar and Las Vegas. The events include 18 USEF “A” or “AA” rated hunter-jumper shows featuring several World Cup Qualifying Grand Prix, USHJA International Hunter Derbies, Pony Finals, Medal Finals and more. Visit showpark.com for more details.