Daniel Coyle and Ridley (Photo courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography)
Wellington, Florida (March 30, 2016) – With the stunning equestrian estate of Tonkawa Farm as the stage, Week 12 of the Turf Tour welcomed some of Wellington’s top show jumping combinations as they battled it out on the turf in a number of divisions, from Young Horse classes and Schooling Jumpers to 1.30-1.35m classes and a challenging Grand Prix. Two days of nationally ranked show jumping were held March 23 and 25, 2016, as the second to last week of the 13-week circuit. With exceptional footing, gorgeous venues, a welcoming atmosphere, convenient scheduling, world-class amenities, and a range of competitors from amateurs to Olympians, the 2016 Turf Tour is setting new standards in show jumping competition.
Daniel Coyle, assistant to decorated Irish show jumper and Turf Tour regular Conor Swail, added a Grand Prix win to his 2016 resume aboard Ridley. One of only four other double clear rounds on the technical and competitive course, Coyle and the gelding owned by Susan & Ariel Grange of Lothlorien Farm blazed past the timers with all the rails in place in a jump off time of 40.963, almost three full seconds faster than the second place ride, Marie Hecart with Starlight. Leslie Howard and Up & Blue Chapelle finished third with a time of 43.666, while Brianne Goutal and Rebeca Ls rounded out the double clear rounds with a time of 45.827. The course, which featured a number of tricky distances, spectacular jumps, and near perfect grass footing, was host to quite a few top names over the course of the day including Olympic Gold Medalist Ben Maher, Candice King, Lauren Hough, and Paul O’Shea.
Swail, who has had a number of wins on the Turf Tour as well as major Grand Prix victories during this season’s Winter Equestrian Festival, also rode Friday’s course at Tonkawa for Lothlorien. “It’s a welcome change for the horses to get to jump on the good grass footing, and the field here at Tonkawa was the best yet,” said Swail. “They can struggle a bit always jumping on the hard footing all season, and our horses enjoy being on the Turf Tour. The atmosphere is very relaxed and they can get exceptional training without the added stress. It’s particularly great to bring along horses that are just getting back into work or younger horses that need the experience.”
Prior to Friday’s Grand Prix, Wednesday saw the 1.30-1.35m begin the week’s competition, with over 60 rounds over the two courses. Olympic Gold Medalist Peter Wylde and Royal Flush shut out nearly 40 other horse and rider combinations to reign supreme in the first and largest division of the show. Maria Gabriela Brugal and Vasco topped the second division, and both classes again played host to some of the sport’s most recognizable names, most notably veteran Olympian Joe Fargis. Ring 2, which also featured the same exceptional footing of Tonkawa Farms’ springy polo fields, accommodated Young Horse divisions, Low, Medium, and High Schooling Jumpers, Child/Adult divisions, and a Junior/Amateur Owner Classic over the two days of competition. Citing convenience as key, organizers Nona Garson, George d’Ambrosio, and Craig Bergman structured both arenas so that riders may show when they please, anytime between 8am and 4:30pm. In addition, complimentary refreshments are served throughout the day and the Meadowbrook horse shuttle makes door-to-door trips around Wellington and back to the Turf Tour’s venues. Thanks to a generous sponsorship by Bright’s Creek, Coyle and the winner of the Junior/Amateur Owner Classic, Ahmed Alali aboard Fenway, will receive a 3-day, 2-night stay at the luxury resort near Tryon, North Carolina.
As the grand finale and wrap-up of the 2016 Turf Tour, Week 13 will feature the $24,995 Finale Grand Prix, a special class highlighted by the increased prize money and an open entry, meaning any competitor is welcome without the need to qualify. Wednesday will host two 1.30-135M divisions as well as Low, Medium, and High Schooling Jumpers and 5-, 6-, and 7-Year-Old Young Horse divisions. The $24,995 Grand Prix Finale will begin on Friday, while the Schooling Jumpers, Child/Adult and Junior/Amateur Owner Classic will run concurrently. The Child/Adult and Junior/Amateur Owner Classic will be run as a sweepstakes during week 13, and The Turf Tour’s finale week will also include expanded complimentary breakfast, lunch, and refreshments, as well as its varied divisions and regular amenities. Set once again on the iconic fields of the International Polo Club, Week 13 promises to be a fitting finale to an exceptional season of show jumping on the Turf Tour.
Due to popular demand, The Ridge has added an additional schooling show to the season’s offerings, to be held April 2-3, 2016 at The Ridge at Wellington. Featuring the same prizelist and schedule as previous shows, the series will hosts hunters and equitation on Saturday and Jumpers on Sunday.
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