The Cheltenham Gold Cup produced more drama to end a week in which only 3 clear favourites won, producing a succession of unexpected results. Crowds reached an all time high but Britain’s bookies were last night celebrating their 45-million-pound windfall after the odds-on favourite, Kauto Star and his stable companion rival, Denman, failed to win this coveted prize.
Kauto Star was bidding for a third Gold Cup victory and a second in a row but the Paul Nicholls trained 10-year-old had a crashing fall four fences from home after making a blunder early on. Denman, who won in 2008, took up the running and a battle ensued but even with champion jockey Tony McCoy on board, they couldn’t hold off an impressive challenge by younger rival, Imperial Commander (7/1). Locally trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, this handsome son of Flemensfirth (USA) surged clear to win by seven lengths, giving trainer and jockey Paddy Brennan their first Gold Cup victories. Mon Mome who won the 2009 Grand National finished third.
A cheer of relief erupted from the crowd as Kauto Star returned unscathed. He will now have a well earned rest until next season. Mon Mome will now head to Aintree to attempt to become the first dual Grand national winner since Red Rum and Denman will likely have the Grand National as his principal target next season.
Despite his disappointment on Kauto Star, Ruby Walsh was leading jockey at the festival for the fifth time. Nicky Henderson won the top trainer award.
Wellington, FL – March 19, 2010 – Seven top equestrians will go head to head in the exciting $25,000 Puissance class scheduled for the Stadium at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center on Friday night.
With the huge throng expected to attend the Akon concert that follows the Puissance, organizers feel that this could be one of the largest crowds to ever witness this exciting show jumping event.
The stage is already constructed at the Stadium in what is promised to be a gorgeous setting for the top show jumping action and the fabulous music scheduled for tomorrow night as part of this dynamic dual performance event.
Wellington, FL (March 18, 2010) – Each week at the Top Shelf Dressage under the Stars competition at the Player’s Club & Restaurant the dressage community is treated to world-class riders, judges and entertainment, including a recent demonstration by the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society. Esmeralda and Kuchi, two Gypsy Vanners owned by Bill and Wendy Ricci of WR Ranch in Oxford, Florida, wowed the crowd with their beauty, color and grace.
Esmeralda, who was born in England, was one of the first Gypsy Vanners imported to the United States. Esmeralda has a long list of accomplishments to her name, including being named the Number One Tandem Driving team in 2001 with her partner Jasmine. Esmeralda and Jasmine continued their winning ways last month, winning the Pair Championship at the Florida Carriage Festival.
Esmeralda, the current centerfold in the March 2010 issue of Horse Illustrated, was driven at Dressage under the Stars by owner Bill Ricci, the current President of the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society. Heather Caudill, of Olympus Sport Horse, rode Kuchi, the first Gypsy Vanner born in America. Kuchi’s sire, The Gypsy King, was immortalized as the first Gypsy Vanner Horse Breyer model. Last year Kuchi, who currently competes at second level in dressage, followed in her sire’s hoof steps to become Breyer’s second Gypsy Vanner Horse model.
Wellington, FL (March 18, 2010) – World-renowned trainer and clinician Monty Roberts is returning to West Palm Beach, Florida to host a clinic March 26th at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center. Monty Roberts is known the “Man Who Listens to Horses,” an award-winning trainer of championship horses, best-selling author, and creator of the revolutionary equine training technique, Join-Up.
Roberts has won countless awards and received worldwide press coverage. He is the author of three books on the New York Times best-seller list. He trained horses for Queen Elizabeth’s equestrian team and been awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Zurich.
Wellington Classic Dressage, Inc., which hosts horse shows and events for the equestrian community, organized the Monty Roberts clinic after the famed clinician was featured at the USET Holiday Fund Raiser last December held in conjunction with the Wellington Classic Dressage Holiday Horse Show. “It is definitely a case of back by popular demand,” said Wellington Classic Dressage Sponsorship and Events Director, John Flanagan. “When Monty was here in December, people just kept coming up and asking us when we could have him back.” So Flanagan went to work to schedule the March Monty Roberts event. “He has universal appeal across the disciplines,” Flanagan stated. “Monty’s proven training methods have helped show horses, race horses, and riding horses of all disciplines.”
Mild sunny weather welcomed the return of enthusiastic crowds to Prestbury Park with the promise of 4 days of top quality National Hunt racing and the pinnacle of the racing year – the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday.
The first day of the Cheltenham festival hit punters pockets hard with surprise results when 5 favourites failed to win. Champion jockey Tony McCoy’s joy was evident when winning the feature race, the Champion Hurdle, on Binocular. Up until last week it was unclear if the Nicky Henderson trained gelding would run because of recent injury. This French bred six year old, who finished 3rd in 2009, was always travelling sweetly and took command between the last two hurdles to win comfortably giving his popular Irish owner, J. P. McManus, his 22nd festival success.
But much of the festival focus remains on Friday’s eagerly anticipated Gold Cup which will see a clash for the 3rd time of super equine heroes, Kauto Star and Denman. The Paul Nicholls trained duo have captured the hearts of the nation and Kauto Star’s bid to win this three and a quarter mile chase would secure a place in the history books with former champions Arkle, Best Mate, Golden Miller and Cottage Rake.
Aiken, SC – March 15, 2010 – Held at Phillip and Evie Dutton’s True Prospect Farm winter training facility in Aiken, SC, March 11, 2010, the Aiken Olympic Gala was enjoyed by all who gathered in attendance for the benefit of United States High Performance Eventing riders and the United States Equestrian Team Foundation.
Evie Dutton reflected on the evening, saying, “The event was a great success and we had fabulous attendance. There were approximately 250 people there, and everyone had a good time. This was our third year putting on the Gala, and it has grown more and more each time. We look forward to it every year; we get such incredible support from the community and it goes to a great cause as it benefits riders, drivers, and the USET Foundation.”
Guests enjoyed cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvres as they bid on silent auction items and listened to guest speakers Phillip Dutton (United States Leading Event Rider for the past ten years), Boyd Martin (2009 Eventing Rider of the Year), and Mark Phillips (Chef d’Equipe of the U.S. Eventing Team).
“America’s Horse” to be remembered at Kentucky Horse Park
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 12, 2010). One year after the death of Kentucky Derby Winner Alysheba, the Kentucky Horse Park will unveil a memorial statue at his grave.
The famous son of Alydar had resided at the park for only five months when he was euthanized as a result of an accidental fall in March 2009. The 25-year-old stallion was buried at the Hall of Champions.
The public is invited to the Alysheba Memorial Statue Unveiling, Friday, April 16, 2:00 pm.
West Palm Beach, FL (March 11, 2010) – Tina Konyot proved just how special her Danish Warmblood stallion Calecto V was during the 2010 Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI, riding away the winner of the Grand Prix Special. Konyot’s class was sponsored by Classic Equine Equipment, a nationally recognized leader in quality horse stall systems and stable accessories, and their South Florida distributors, Idlewild Furnishing.
“Tina and Calecto turned in a beautiful ride,” said Adam Busse, owner of Classic Equine, who along with John Grimes, owner of Idlewild Furnishing, presented Tina with a teak braiding stool for her win. “It is always great to see a friend win. I could not be happier for Tina and her successful ride. The Palm Beach Dressage Derby is a fantastic show, and Tina and Calecto certainly raised the performance bar.” Grimes added.
It was Calecto’s third time to compete in the Grand Prix Special, and the stallion, by Comeback II, earned a score of 71.958%. The winning score was the highest non-freestyle score to date for the 12-year-old stallion.
Konyot suffered a back injury prior to the Derby, but followed the old adage that the “show must go on” and competed, although in pain. Despite her bad back, Konyot was pleased with her stallion and gave much of the credit for the pair’s advancing success to trainer Lars Petersen.
Cowboy, clinician and horseman Bryan Neubert shares his insight into starting ranch colts.
By Bryan Neubert with Jim Bret Campbell in The American Quarter Horse Journal
Once the horse has softened and accepted the lessons from Part 1, he’s ready for me to prepare him to carry a rider. Remember to stay soft and quiet as you get on. I’ll slowly introduce my weight in the stirrup and just let him get used to the feel before I proceed. (See the photo gallery.) I’m also ready to step back down, draw his head toward me and move his hindquarters away from me to prevent him from pulling away or kicking me. After he accepts my weight in one stirrup, I lean over and rub him on the shoulder and hip on the right side. I might also move the fender of the offside stirrup a little to get him used to the movement. When he’s handling this well, I step into the saddle, remembering to stay soft and quiet.
Once I’m there, I don’t worry about trying to guide him much. I’ll let him adjust to the extra weight. I have a Cheyenne roll on the back of my saddle, and I’ll hold on to that in case he bucks. They almost never do if they are prepared up to this point.
Tampa, FL – March 1, 2010 – Stadium Jumping, Inc., announced today the FEI, the governing body for world equestrian sports has designated this year’s $200,000 Gene Mische American Invitational as a qualifying event for the World Equestrian Games 2010 and for the European Championships in 2011.
The city of Tampa, Florida, will once again play host to this event, the world’s premiere show jumping event, often dubbed the “Super Bowl of Show Jumping.” The $200,000 Gene Mische American Invitational returns to Raymond James Stadium on Saturday, April 10, 2010 at 8 p.m.
The $200,000 Gene Mische American Invitational is the grand finale to the Tampa Equestrian Festival which takes place at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center from March 24th through April 10th, 2010.