November 4, 2011 - The jumper action continued this evening at the Alltech National Horse Show, 128th Edition, and speed was the name of the game as riders competed in the $60,000 Spy Coast Farm Open Jumper Speed Stake. The speedy veteran pair of Kent Farrington and Up Chiqui dominated the class with blazing time, beating second place finishers Nicholas Dello Joio and Notre Star De La Nutria by almost four seconds. Great Britain's Scott Brash and Bon Ami rounded out the top three with a quick and clear effort.
Richard Jeffery designed a technical course for tonight's event, which featured an option fence, multiple rollbacks, a vertical-vertical double combination, and an oxer-vertical double combination. "I thought it was a very fast track, meaning that all of us were going to be taking basically the same lines," eventual winner Kent Farrington remarked. "It came down to the faster mover, turning even shorter on the rollbacks, because there weren't to many places to play to your horse's strength."
Although he was fifth in the order, Farrington of Chicago, IL, and Up Chiqui, owned by Boone, Dobbs and Farrington, entered the ring ready to win during tonight's speed competition. The duo has always been known for their quick rounds, and tonight they lived up to the hype. They raced around the technical course with ease, never touching a rail. The pair broke the beam at an incredible 57.35 seconds, setting a pace that would not be caught and eventually leading the victory gallop.
"I think Up Chiqui has tremendous foot speed," Farrington said of his mount. "He spends very little time in the air, and you know you can just work out of a very fast gallop and make some very tight turns. With him I am able to make tighter turns than a normal horse. He is always looking for the next fence. I have had him for so long that I know him very well, I just think 'turn' and he's already doing it. I ride him the way that he is and try to stay out of his way. Every time you go in the ring, whether you win or lose, he's always going to put it all on the line."
Nicholas Dello Joio was next to tackle the track riding Notre Star De La Nutria, owned by Thelma Romero-Cloud of Wellington, FL. The pair made a good effort to better Farrington's time, but after tripping the timers at 61.25 seconds with all the fences intact they garnered the second place prize. "I was on deck after Kent, so I had to switch to Plan B after I watched him go. We had a good school this morning, so I was confident enough to go as fast as I could, the course was straightforward and Kent proved faster with his turns," Dello Joio said.
Great Britain's Scott Brash entered the ring just one round later and came very close to overtaking Dello Joio with Bon Ami, owned by Mrs. Liz McTaggart. The duo completed a clear round in 61.50 seconds, scoring the third place honors. Fellow British rider Nick Skelton had one of the night's fastest rounds with Unique, owned by Beverley Widdowson, but after they brought down the back rail of oxer four seconds was added to their time. They finished with a score of 62.03 seconds for the fourth place honors.
Young rider Jessica Springsteen of Colts Neck, NJ, was one of the last to compete aboard Vornado Van Den Hoenidrik, but she was also quick and clean as she stopped the clock at 62.06 seconds for fifth place. She bested last night's victors McLain Ward and Rothchild, owned by Sagamore Farm of Oyster Bay, NY, who rounded out the top six with a fault-free time of 62.52 seconds.
"I think the Kentucky Horse Park is a great venue, a beautiful arena, I think that they could host a World Cup here one day," Farrington described. "I think with it being the first year the Alltech National Horse is being hosted here they are putting a huge effort into making it a success. I love that all of the classes have big money; it makes everyone try. You're going to bring more top riders bringing their best horses, they're going to go out there and try to win."
Earlier in the evening the Chansonette Farm $15,000 Amateur-Owner Jumper Stake got underway. Last night's reserve champions, Meagan Nusz of The Woodlands, TX, and Banana D'ive Z, took the championship honors during today's Chansonette Farm $15,000 Amateur-Owner Jumper Stake. The duo was one of eight to successfully go clear during the first round, and with a blazing fast time of 34.478 seconds, Nusz rode to the top of the leaderboard during the jump-off. Kaitlin Campbell of Brooksville, MD, and Rocky W took the second place honors for their time of 35.075 seconds.
"I thought the course was difficult enough, but it was pretty straightforward," Nusz explained. "As long as you know your horse and where you are at, it allowed you to make up where you needed to, stay clean, and not become completely overwhelmed. It was a huge factor having Kaitlin go ahead of me during the jump-off, to have someone of that caliber execute the course, you know what you have to do going in and all I have to do is follow through with it."
Jay Land of Alpharetta, GA, and Nepal stopped the clock at 38.701 seconds, earning the third place prize. Charlie Jacobs of and Leap of Joy, owned by Deeridge Farm of Wellington, FL, earned the fourth place award in a time of 39.574 seconds as they executed the final double-clear effort during the jump-off.
Nusz currently trains with tonight's Open Jumper Speed Stake winner, Farrington. "She began riding with me about a year ago and I think that she is going to be one of the riders of the future," he described. "I think she has a lot of talent and some good horses underneath her. I think she's an up-and-coming rider for sure."
Later in the day during the Sleepy P Ranch $15,000 Junior Jumper Stake, 12 of 23 entries posted clean efforts and moved into the enticing short course. Charlotte Jacobs of East Aurora, NY, set the pace by posting a clear round as the first rider to challenge the short course with Karonda V. Schl'Hof CH, eventually earning the third place honors in a time of 35.873 seconds.
It was Lillie Keenan of New York, NY, and Vanhattan, for a second night, which emerged victorious in tonight's High Junior Jumper class with their double-clear effort. The duo picked up a speedy pace from the beginning and made all the inside turns necessary during the jump-off to stop the clock at 35.106 seconds. Chase Boggio and his mount Hennessey used a long stride and naturally fast pace to their advantage as the duo secured the second place honors with their second clear effort of the evening, ending with a time of 35.742 seconds.
"I have to credit my horse, he's extremely special, and oddly enough we were not even supposed to come here, but we got the wild card," Keenan described. "Vanhattan knows his job and he takes care of me out there. My horse has a small stride and is quick across the ground, so I just try to stay smooth because he knows when to go fast. He knows he needs to go fast and clean, it's just about letting him run when we need to."
The fourth place honors went to Katie Dinan and Belle Dame D, owned by Grant Road Partners LLC of New York, NY, for their clear rounds and final jump-off time of 37.843 seconds. Meg O'Mara of Rumson, NJ, and Sinatra IV took the fifth place honors after stopping the timers at 38.577 seconds.
"It was a good day today actually," Farrington expressed. "Vanhattan was my old horse as well, so we took all three classes today. Lillie is a fantastic rider and they got the horse from me this last winter. Her trainer, Andre Dignelli, used to train me in the equitation classes, so it's really cool to have everything come full-circle."
Tonight's events benefited the Kentucky Equine Humane Center, and the action will continue tomorrow with the $50,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Series Championship Grand Prix. The top horse and rider combinations will return to the Alltech Arena to vie for the winning honors in the highlight event of the evening, the FEI World Cup Qualifying Alltech $250,000 Grand Prix, while also supporting the United States Equestrian Team Foundation. For more information about the 2011 Alltech National Horse Show, 128th Edition, please visit www.nhs.org.
$60,000 Spy Coast Farm Open Jumper Speed Stake
Order Entry # Horse Name Rider Name JF1 TF1 AF1 Time 1
1 21 UP CHIQUI KENT FARRINGTON 0 0 0 57.350
2 23 NOTRE STAR DE LA NUTRIA NICHOLAS DELLO JOIO 0 0 0 61.250
3 79 BON AMI SCOTT BRASH 0 0 0 61.500
4 77 UNIQUE NICK SKELTON 0 0 0 62.030
5 18 VORNADO VAN DEN HOENIDRIK JESSICA SPRINGSTEEN 0 0 0 62.060
6 33 ROTHCHILD MCLAIN WARD 0 0 0 62.520
7 86 ALSVID RICHIE MOLONEY 0 0 0 62.600
8 10 BALLADE VAN HET INDIHOF BRIANNE GOUTAL 0 0 0 62.930
9 15 WOODSTOCK O LAURA KRAUT 0 0 0 64.030
10 6 PACHA DE NANTUEL REED KESSLER 0 0 0 64.320
11 85 SWEETHEART TODD MINIKUS 0 0 0 67.200
12 30 H H PALOUCHIN RODRIGO PESSOA 0 0 0 67.230