(C) ESI Photography. Manuel Torres and Christofolini H.
Culpeper, VA (August 23, 2016): Riders and horses descended on the Grand Prix Ring at HITS Commonwealth Park for the main event of the Winston National, the $30,000 Purina Animal Nutrition Grand Prix.
Only one horse and rider could go home with the win, but in this case, one deserving equestrian took home both the first and second prize. There was no slowing down Manuel Torres during the fourth week of competition at HITS Culpeper. Riding out of Waterford, Virginia, Torres garnered the blue and red ribbon in Sunday’s $30,000 Purina Animal Nutrition Grand Prix after also snagging the victory in Friday’s $25,000 Brook Ledge Grand Prix.
Sunday’s first-place payday came aboard Christofolini H, owned by Andrea Torres Guerreiro, and second came with Cruising Altitude, owned by Santa Catalina Farm.
Faults were spread evenly throughout the first-round course, with two trips earning one time fault each. Three went clear to advance to the second round jump-off course set by Oscar Soberon of Mexico.
Torres had two to contest the shortened course, entering first with winning mount Christofolini H. They powered through the course, laying down a 45.530 roundtrip that would hold up the victory with a colossal five-second lead.
Debbie McCarthy-Connor of Patterson, New York followed with Zim, owned by Connor and Ebetino Jumpers, LLC. McCarthy-Connor and Zim took home third place in Friday’s $25,000 Brook Ledge Grand Prix and were hunting for the lead over Torres. They clocked in at 53.918 to ultimately secure the yellow ribbon for the weekend once again.
The blue ribbon was already set for Torres, but the winning horse had yet to be determined. He put in a solid, careful round with second-place horse Cruising Altitude, stopping the clock in at 50.557 for the second place prize.
Both fourth and fifth place went back-to-back in the first round, and left all of the rails up to only suffer one penalty on the clock. Kama Godek of Fairfax Station, Virginia brought home fourth place piloting Air Force One. Godek moved up the ranks from a twelfth-place ride on Friday, to yield a spot in the top five on Sunday to close out the week.
Rounding out the top five was Alexa Lowe-Wiseman of Upperville Virginia, and Synapse de Blondel, owned by Paillot Equine Consulting, LLC. The equestrian and her mount earned seventh place in Friday’s Grand Prix and also moved up the placings to secure fifth on Sunday.
Elite show jumping competition continues at HITS Culpeper this week with the Constitution Classic, August 24-28, featuring the USHJA Child & Adult Amateur Jumper Championship, the $25,000 Brook Ledge Grand Prix and Sunday’s $30,000 HITS Grand Prix.
Cindy McGrath Takes Home the Blue in the $10,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper High Classic
Riders gathered to compete for the top prize in the $10,000 Jr/A-O Jumper High Classic during the fourth week of competition, the Winston National, at HITS Culpeper.
Several put their best foot forward in hopes of bringing home the blue, but the team to beat was Cindy McGrath of Hummelstown, Pennsylvania and Caruso, owned by Wynnwood Farm. McGrath would also garner the final spot in the top five with Quinaro, owned by Mapledale Associates.
Five advanced to the jump-off with two going clear over in contingency for the win. First to re-enter the ring to challenge the shortened course was Sandra Zimmerli of Fairfax Station, Virginia and Calido’s Treasure, owned by Zimmerli Show Jumping, LLC. They clocked in at 44.410, but an unfortunate rail at the third fence of the course would ultimately earn them fourth place.
Next to contend was Toano, Virginia equestrian Malachi Hinton piloting F15. They followed Zimmerli’s round with a valiant effort, leaving all of the rails up, but the unforgiving clock earned them one time fault as they crossed the finish. They would make it out with the third place spot when the class was done.
McGrath and Quinaro followed suit. They galloped through the course, conquering the first two fences, but a rail at the third fence on course, as well as the penultimate fence, earned them eight faults as they passed the timers in 43.340.
Only two remained in the jump-off before the final placings would be set, and the battle would be won by only mere fractions of a second.
Myrto Iliadis of Brooklyn, New York entered next with her own Voila HE. They took each fence by storm, stopping the clock in a cool, clear 43.850 to take the temporary lead.
McGrath entered with her second mount of the jump-off, Caruso, with the final chance at stealing the top spot on the leaderboard. Saving the best for last, McGrath and her mount flew through the course, turning and burning at every chance they had to shave precious time of the clock. They crossed the finish in 43.500, less than three-tenths of a second quicker than Iliadis for the win.