(C) ESI Photography. Andrew Kocher and Ora de te di La San Giorgio.
Saugerties, NY (August 31, 2015): It’s back to New York’s majestic Hudson Valley for HITS Horse Shows and competition kicked off in Andrew Kocher’s favor who jumped his way to a victory in the $10,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome aboard Ora de te di La Giorgio, owned by Ora del te LLC. The Tuscaloosa, Alabama native bested a field of 37 and sped his way through two rounds for a $2,800 payoff.
Round one was smooth sailing for 13 riders, including Kocher. The jump-off began and the top spot switched hands three times before Kocher entered the ring eighth in the order. Kocher zoomed through the abbreviated course to a clean finish with a time of 37.878, the lead, and five remaining challengers hungry to steal it away.
Kocher was in the clear through the next four competitors, all of whom had a minimum of four faults, which meant the only thing standing in his way of the blue ribbon was Laura Chapot and Umberto, owned by Mary Chapot. Chapot, who has collected a number of victories this summer at HITS Saugerties, impressed as usual and breezed clean through the course, but her time of 39.004 was not enough to take the lead.
Third place was Heather Caristo-Williams riding Cosmopolitan 30, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Caristo, while Pablo Mejia followed in fourth place aboard Andres Muller’s Regilsse and the fifth place ribbon went to Chapot and her second entry, Thornhill Kate, co-owned with Mary Chapot.
$25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix
Andrew Kocher’s lucky streak at HITS Saugerties Week VII continued Friday in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix when he and Prof De L Roque, owned by Postage Stamp Farm LLC, beat 41 others to take home first place and their piece of the prize purse. The first round course, designed by Manuel Esparza of Mexico City, Mexico, tested riders over 12 obstacles and proved to be a challenge for the majority, with only the top nine moving on to the jump off.
It wasn’t until the fourth entry of the second round that onlookers saw a clean round. Bull Run’s Holy Smokes, owned by Bull Run Jumpers, Inc., piloted by Kristen VanderVeen, crossed the timers in a careful 44.547 to turn up the heat in the competition. Next in the order, Kocher and his mount gave the valiant performance, complete with picturesque form and electric energy, to finish clean in a time of 41.091 for the lead.
Jonathon Millar and Sly, owned by Lauren Patava and Bonaventure, were next to challenge the course and although clear in a time of 45.404, Millar wasn’t quick enough to steal the spotlight from Kocher. The next entry was Tracy Fenney riding MTM Farm’s MTM Reve Du Paradis and in true Fenney fashion, she chased Kocher for the win. With an undisturbed course behind her and crossing the timers in 42.521, Fenney was just one second behind Kocher, securing herself second place.
Of the remaining two riders, David Raposa and his own Waultraut were the last to go clean. With a time of 43.392, they would end the day with third place honors, bumping VanderVeen to fourth and Millar to fifth.