James Chawke and Flemis Bouncer. Erin Gilmore Photography.
Wellington, FL (February 15, 2018) – James Chawke was feeling the love during 2018’s Valentine’s Day Turf Tour, where he and the Irish bred Flemis Bouncer bounded over the 1.30m course to rule the week’s $5,000 Rising Star Classic. The spectacular day of show jumping was highlighted by Chawke’s win, along with bald eagle sightings, a busy 1.20m class on the grass in the morning, and .80m-1.10m jump-offs and power & speed rounds running all day in Ring 2. Hosted by The Ridge at Wellington and at their home farm during Valentine’s week, Friday’s continuation of the Turf Tour promises more splendid show jumping including the $15,000 1.40m Turf Tour Grand Prix and wine tasting provided by The Vineyard House.
A relatively new mount for Chawke, of Leinster, Ireland, Flemis Bouncer recently topped an early February 1.20m class during this year’s Turf Tour and shows no signs of slowing the momentum. The game gray gelding galloped to a winning jump-off time of 33.155 seconds, and Chawke says the next steps are to continue to elevate both the jumps and their technique for the Grand Prix. The luck of the Irish held out for Chawke’s countryman Willie Tynan, whose 33.266 second jump-off with the elegant mare Dominique narrowly cut him out of first place in the class with just over a tenth of a second to spare. Samantha Bairs and Italian Gold van de Kruishoeve jumped to third on a time of 35.972 seconds.
“The Turf Tour’s Rising Star Classic is designed to serve as a foundation for advancing riders or new horse and rider pairings, giving them the atmosphere, jumps, and competition to seamlessly transition to the Grand Prix or achieve their own personal goals,” said US Olympian and co-founder of The Ridge and Turf Tour, Nona Garson. “The 1.30m level is such an important time for both horses and riders to develop the skills needed for a successful Grand Prix career. It is at this height that riders must evaluate their own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of their mount, and learn to apply strategic riding and a focused, competitive mind. Providing a variety of venues, excellent natural footing, and surmountable challenges on course is our way of nurturing these horses and riders and ultimately was the inspiration for the Turf Tour.”
For a full schedule of events hosted by The Ridge at Wellington, visit www.TheRidgeFarm.com.