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Unprecedented Year for International Para-Dressage Athlete Roxanne Trunnell and Dolton

Roxanne Trunnell and Dolton. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall for the USPEA.

Wellington, Florida – January 21, 2021 – Paralympian and Para-Dressage World Equestrian Games Athlete Roxanne Trunnell had a fantastic finish to the 2020 calendar year. United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation awarded Roxanne Trunnell the 2021 Whitney Stone Cup and US Equestrian Federation awarded Dolton, owned by Flintwoode Farms LLC and Karin Flint, the 2020 International Horse of Honor Award.

The duo of Roxanne Trunnell and Dolton started the 2020 year as the first para-dressage pair to break the 80th percentile in the team or individual test since Sophie Christansen (GBR) in the 2012 London Paralympics. Trunnell and Dolton accomplished this at the 2020 Adequan Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* with a Grade I team test score of 81.131%, an individual score of 81.964%, and a freestyle of 83.167%. The pair would go on to earn top scores in the following Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* and further national shows. With the duo’s outstanding scores in 2019 and 2020, Dolton and Trunnell helped lead Team USA to #1 in the world in Para-Dressage. Dolton was also individually ranked #1 in the World in all grades of Para-Dressage. This was the first time in history a U.S. athlete or Team held a world #1 position in Para-Dressage. The pair remained undefeated in 2020.

The 2012 Hanoverian Dolton (by Danone I x Lady, Londonderry) was purchased by international para-dressage athlete Kate Shoemaker as a two-year-old in Germany and later licensed as a Stallion by the German Oldenburg Verband. As a 3-year-old, Shoemaker elected to pursue his sport career, gelded him, and imported him to the United States. His first dressage show as a 4 year-old he won open high point with Shoemaker riding. By the end of his fourth year, he began being groomed as a Grade One Para-Dressage horse. At the beginning of his sixth year, Shoemaker brought him to Wellington to be evaluated by Michel Assouline, USEF Head of Coach Development & Para Dressage Technical Advisor. Roxanne Trunnell was invited to ride him the following day where the perfect combination was made. Flintwoode Farms LLC and Karin Flint then joined as a sponsor to give Roxanne and Dolton an opportunity towards the World Equestrian Games team. Two months later, in April, Roxanne and Dolton entered their first CPEDI3* and FEI World Equestrian Games test event where they finished with the overall high score. After scoring the high score at the final mandatory outing in July they secured an individual spot on the team for the 2018 FEI Longines World Equestrian Games (WEG) Tryon. At the WEG, after helping the team reach their highest placing in history, 5th, Dolton then brought home a medal for the USA in the Freestyle Test putting him among the first U.S. horses to medal in the Para-Dressage freestyle at a championship. He was the youngest para-dressage horse to win a medal at a major international championship. Following his medal win at the 2018 WEG, Flintwoode Farms LLC and Karin Flint purchased Dolton.

With very successful 2018, 2019, and 2020 years Trunnell and Dolton aimed at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. In March 2020, the IOC and the Tokyo Organizing Committee officially announced that the 2020 Summer Olympics and 2020 Summer Paralympics would be postponed to 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, marking the first time that the Paralympics has been postponed. The pair will have the next six months before the June 17-20, 2021 Tryon CPEDI and final Paralympic Observation Event which takes place before the Tokyo Paralympic Games August 24 – September 5, 2021.

Roxanne Trunnell was honored to receive the Whitney Stone Cup. “It was such a surprise to win the Whitney Stone Cup; I hadn’t even expected it. I am always cheering on my teammates because I know how hard all of this is especially as a para-dressage athlete. It is an honor to be recognized among so many great equestrians.”

Trunnell also was thankful for the 2020 International Horse of Honor Award. “I was very proud of Dolton. It takes a special horse to become an outstanding Para-Dressage horse and Dolton at only eight years old has proved to be a very special horse. I would like to thank my parents Sid and Josette Trunnell for moving from Washington to Texas (where Trunnell trained with former Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt) and finally to Florida for me to be able to pursue this horse adventure. Thank you to the owner of Dolton, Karin Flint, for trusting me to pilot her special boy to become a superstar in the Para-Dressage world. Thank you to Anna Forbes, Dolton’s groom, for taking the best care of him and my trainer Andrea Woodard for helping me and Dolton to become great partners. I also want to give a big thank you to the USDF, USEF, USET Foundation, and USPEA for working together to help get USA Para-Dressage into the spotlight. Let’s show the world what the USA Para Dressage Team is made of.”

Hope Hand added, “Both awards were quite an honor to a well deserving pair. We also want to thank US Equestrian President Murray Kessler and his wife Sarah Kessler for their continued support of Para Dressage. This support helped us secure Gold medal coach Michel Assouline and provide competition opportunities for elite riders. These factors made USA Para-Dressage successful at the 2018 World Equestrian Games.”

Hand continued, “I also want to thank Laureen Johnson USEF Director of Para Dressage and Vaulting for her efforts in nominating Roxanne Trunnell for this award.”

Trunnell is the first para dressage rider and only the eighth dressage rider to receive the Whitney Stone Cup in its 40-year history.

The Whitney Stone Cup is awarded annually by the USET Foundation Executive Committee to an active competitor whose consistent excellence in international competition and whose standard for sportsmanlike conduct and contributions as an ambassador for the sport and for the USET Foundation exemplify the Team’s highest ideals and traditions. Roxanne Trunnell joins a long list of outstanding competitors who were previously recognized with this honor.

The Whitney Stone Cup, which was presented to the Team by the Officers and Directors of the USET Foundation, is given in honor of the late Whitney Stone who served as President and Chairman of the Board of the USET, and who was instrumental in the creation of a civilian team when the Army retired from competitive horse sports after 1948.

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org.

Robb Report’s Horsepower Gala to Honor Champions of Equine Protection

Honoring Kevin Babington, Mayisha Akbar, Nacho Figueras, Peder Fredricson, Margie Goldstein Engle, Danny Robertshaw, and Ron Danta in a Virtual Award Show

Robb Report, the leading voice in global luxury, is hosting its second annual Horsepower Gala. Frank and Monica McCourt will co-host the virtual celebration on Thursday, February 18, along with Robb Report‘s editor in chief, Paul Croughton. The virtual attendees will participate in a live auction and award show featuring a special musical performance by Grammy Award-winning recording artist Gloria Gaynor. Auction proceeds will benefit the EQUUS Foundation, America’s foremost equine-welfare organization. The Horsepower Gala raises funds for, and increases awareness of, the issues of horse abuse, neglect, and slaughter.

Robb Report established the Horsepower Gala in 2019 to benefit the EQUUS Foundation, and we are delighted to continue that partnership in 2021. Despite the challenges of the last year, I’m looking forward to our new virtual format to highlight exceptional and inspiring figures within the equestrian community,” said Croughton.

For information about the 2021 event, or to attend, visit RR1.COM/HORSEPOWER-GALA. Press Contact: Brooke Jaffe at Bjaffe@pmc.com.

To learn more about the EQUUS Foundation and their mission, please visit www.equusfoundation.org.

Bertram Allen and Pacino Amiro Soar to Victory in $37k Adequan WEF Challenge Cup Round 2

Bertram Allen and Pacino Amiro. © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – It was a winning Friday afternoon for Ireland’s Bertram Allen who piloted the talented nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Pacino Amiro to a top finish on Thursday, January 21, in the $37,000 Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup Round 2 at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).

Dominic Gibbs and Cent 15 Earn a Victory in the Platinum Performance USEF Show Jumping Talent Search 2*

The Platinum Performance USEF Show Jumping Talent Search 2* took place on Friday morning in Ring 6 with 26 riders competing for the top honors. In the end, Dominic Gibbs and Mountain King Ranch LLC’s Cent 15 impressed the judges in both the over fences and flat phases of the class to take home the blue ribbon.

Gibbs, of Colorado Springs, CO, has become a popular name to watch for in the equitation classes with his partner Cent 15. The pair is going into their third WEF season together under the tutelage of Beacon Hill Show Stables.

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Alex Matz and Jillz Take $5,000 1.30 Rising Star at Turf Tour 2021

Alex Matz and Jillz.

Wellington, FL (January 22, 2021) – It’s hard to find a Spruce Meadows vibe in Florida, but Turf Tour week 3 comes gloriously close. With Black Watch Farm as the idyllic backdrop, Wednesday’s exhibitors were greeted by brilliant expanses of perfect grass fields dotted with the brightly colored jumps of The Ridge, as well as a wide selection of classes for all levels of horse and rider. With generous money classes and fantastic sponsors like Horseflight, the Turf Tour continues to deliver an amazing show experience and much needed platform for development. Week 3’s competition continues Friday at Black Watch with heights from .80m-1.40m and as much as $18,000 in total prize money.

Wednesday’s $5,000 1.30m Rising Star Classic class of 30 horse and rider combinations yielded 5 double clear efforts and an early, speedy jump-off time that could not be caught. Alex Matz and Jillz carved a path of athletic and time saving turns in their jump-off to stop the clock at 34.421, which would prove too quick to beat. Jillz’s sporty run was contested late in the day by Ryan Genn and VDL Gerinus T, who finished the jump-off in 35.892 for second. Kim Farlinger and Ibalius SMH galloped clear in the jump-off in 36.876 for third.

For full results, visit www.HorseShowing.com.

For more info, visit www.RidgeShowJumping.com.

A Winning Birthday for Sydney Shulman and Azilis Du Mesnil in $6k Douglas Elliman FEI 1.45m Jumpers

Sydney Shulman and Azilis Du Mesnil. © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – Sydney Shulman (ISR) turned 26 years old in style with a win aboard Azilis Du Mesnil on the Derby Field at Equestrian Village on Thursday, January 21, as CSI3* competition gets underway at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).

Scott Stewart and Love Note Receive Top Honors in the Green Hunter 3’9”

On Thursday, 12 horse-and-rider combinations competed for the tricolor ribbon in the Green Hunter 3’9”, sponsored by Equine Tack & Nutritionals. After two competitive days of showing, Scott Stewart and Richard Prant’s Love Note earned the championship title. The duo received a first, two seconds, third, and fourth place ribbons.

Stewart, of Wellington, FL, has had the ride on Love Note for three years. The pair has shown twice this season and has taken home a championship ribbon both times.

“I showed him as a first year horse pretty regularly, and last year we showed a couple times and he was very good,” Stewart explained. “He primarily does the Amateur-Owner Hunters with his owner, Nancy Hooker.”

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Minikus and Michan Open WEF 2 with Wins in $6k Bainbridge Companies 1.40m Jumpers

Todd Minikus and Napoleon of Picobello. © Sportfot.

January 20, 2021 – Wellington, FL – Todd Minikus (USA) and Alberto Michan (ISR) bested a field of 105 entries in the $6,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.40m Jumpers as the second week of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) got underway at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Kevin Mealiff and Cool Hand Luke Cruise to Victory at To-Kalon, Turf Tour Week 2

Kevin Mealiff and Cool Hand Luke (Photo by Romeo Ghete)

Wellington, FL (January 20, 2021) – Turf Tour week 2 at To-Kalon Farm wrapped up Friday with Kevin Mealiff dominating the field aboard the fast and scopey Cool Hand Luke, marking the second Turf Tour Grand Prix victor of 2021.

Mealiff’s early double clear effort set the standard for the rest of the class with a jump-off time of 43.599, and would prove to be the only double clear effort. Unfortunate rails plagued most of the rides throughout the day, with the fastest four fault jump-off round going to Hector Florentino and D’Artagnan for second place, while Riley Mackillop and Amigo took third. The Turf Tour’s Grand Prix courses are designed to provide a versatile stepping stone for progressing FEI horses and riders. Course designer Hector Loyola delivered a field with inviting turns, options to challenge technique, and a few questions including an oxer to double vertical triple combination.

For full results, visit www.HorseShowing.com.

For more info, visit www.RidgeShowJumping.com.

The 2021 Grand National

2011 Grand National. RacingKel.

0As a National Hunt horse race held annually at Aintree Racecourse, near Liverpool, England, The Grand National was first run in 1839. It is a handicap steeplechase over an official distance of about 4 miles and 2½ furlongs (4 miles 514 yards), with horses jumping 30 fences over two laps. The 2020 Grand National was cancelled for the first time since WW2 due to Covid-19.

The Grand National is the most valuable jump race in Europe. Get the best Grand National tips, take the best odds and ante post outlook for April 2021. With Grand National odds on offer all-year-round, the modern-day punter has the opportunity to try one’s luck on the world’s greatest steeplechase at all stages through the year.

Top Six Grand National 2021 Favourites are:

  1. Tiger Roll – Winner of the 2018 and 2019 Grand Nationals and became the first ‘back-to-back’ winner since Red Rum in the 1970s.
  2. Burrows Saint – Won the 2019 Irish Grand National so have a pedigree in these races. Still young so has time on his side.
  3. Any Second Now – Winner of the Kim Muir Chase at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival. A faller in the 2019 Irish National but was running well at the time.
  4. Presenting Percy – Joined trainer G. Elliott’s stable earlier this year, and soon after came back on top in style at Thurles in November 2020.
  5. Santini – A classy staying chaser that was a close runner-up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2020. Would probably have that race as a target again this season, but there has been some small talk of a National bid.
  6. Kimberlite Candy – Laid down some claims of Grand National success to come with a fine victory in the Classic Chase at Warwick. Ground conditions are likely going to be the dictating factor when deciding on an Aintree return.

Previously we have had Rule the World at huge odds of 50-1 in 2016, Pineau De Re at 33-1 in 2014, and Neptune Collonges at 40-1 in 2012.

Experience counts in the Grand National and 20 of the last 26 winners were aged either 9, 10, or 11. In that period there have also been four eight-year-old and two twelve-year-old winners.

The festival always starts with Grand Opening Day renamed to Liverpool’s NHS Day (renamed to honour the work of dedicated NHS staff) on Thursday, Aintree Ladies’ Day on Friday, then Saturday’s Grand National Day. The next Grand National three-day meeting will run between Thursday 8th April to Saturday 10th April 2021, with the Grand National always staged on the final day – in 2021 this will be on 10th April.

Liverpool’s NHS Day, formerly known as Grand Opening Day, traditionally features four Grade One contests, including the Betfred Bowl and Betway Aintree Hurdle.

One of the most glamorous days of the sporting calendar is Aintree Ladies’ Day which has become one of the most revered days of the season, not only for the action on the course but also for its finery and luxury.

Three Grade One races including the JLT Melling Chase and Mildmay Novices’ Chase are the highlight of the day, while the Topham Chase allows fans to see horses take on the Grand National fences over a shorter two-and-a-half miles.

Then comes Grand National Day on Saturday, which is the highlight of the festival.

Randox has agreed to a five-year extension to its current sponsorship of the Grand National meeting at Aintree. The new agreement will run from 2022-2026 and follow on from the initial five-year contract which runs until next year.

As well as being the headline sponsor of the festival, Randox will lend its name to the three races over the Grand National fences at the fixture – the Randox Foxhunters Chase, the Randox Topham Chase, and the big one itself, the Randox Grand National.

Cheltenham Festival Hurdle Horse Races 2021

Cheltenham racecourse in 2010. Carine06 from UK.

The Cheltenham Festival Jump Horse Racing Festival is from Tuesday 16 to Friday 19 March 2021, including Gold Cup Day. Cheltenham follows British government’s guidance to allow spectators when it is safe to attend. Until then, when you want a winner, we have the guide and schedule for your favourite horses.

Will there be people in attendance like there was last year when they just missed the Covid-19 quarantines? Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that restrictions would be lifted, if possible, in mid-February which could allow for crowds at Cheltenham.

Last year’s Cheltenham was one of the final major sporting events to go ahead as normal before the UK was sent into its first national lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. The 2021 Cheltenham meet is scheduled to get under way on Tuesday, March 16 with The Champion Hurdle being the headline race on Day One.

The Queen Mother Champion Chase and The Stayers’ Hurdle will follow on the next two days, ending with the Gold Cup on Friday, March 19.

The way they run the Cheltenham Festival is by splitting it in two sections, running four days in total. Days one and two will be run on the Old Course, days three and four on the New Course.

The Old Course was used for the Champion Hurdle and Queen Mother Champion Chase. The New Course, which hosts the longer Stayers’ Hurdle and Cheltenham Gold Cup, takes a toll on a horse’s stamina. The field can drastically change and morph as the horses gallop up the fabled Cheltenham hill.

There is also a cross-country course which is laid out inside the main racecourse and is used for cross-country steeplechases.

The first race is the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle which starts the Cheltenham Festival and sees runners sent off with the famous “Cheltenham roar”. The Supreme has an impressive roll of honor, including the likes of Vautour and Douvan, but one of the most notable winners in recent years was Altior.

The Arkle Challenge is the second race and is offered for top two-mile horses. The Arkle has been won in the past by Moscow Flyer, Azertyuiop, Sizing Europe, and Sprinter Sacre, to qualify to run r the Champion Chase. Willie Mullins has dominated the race in recent years, including victories for Un de Sceaux, Douvan, Footpad, and Duc des Genievres.

The third race is the Festival Handicap Chase which has seen one of the best rides in Cheltenham Festival history when Wichita Lineman was carried home by A. P. McCoy in 2009.

The National Hunt Chase is one of three races at the Cheltenham Festival restricted to amateur riders. It is the longest race of the meeting, run over three and three-quarter miles where Irish trainers have had plenty of success in recent times. Gordon Elliott has won two of the last three runnings, including with Ravenhill in 2020.

Then they have the Novices’ Handicap Chase first run in 2005. It often brings the most progressive novices together, and has a history of representing strong form.

The Cheltenham Festival is one of the “meetings” (British term for horse races, etc.) in the National Hunt racing calendar in the United Kingdom. Its race prize money is second only to the Grand National. It takes place annually in March at Cheltenham Racecourse in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. It usually coincides with Saint Patrick’s Day and is particularly popular with Irish visitors.

The meeting’s Grade I races include: the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase, and Stayers’ Hurdle. Large amounts of money are gambled, hundreds of millions over the course of the week.

Cheltenham is known for its atmosphere, including the “Cheltenham roar”, referring to the enormous amount of noise that the crowd generates as the starter raises the tape for the first race of the festival. It was initially titled the Grand National Hunt Meeting and took place at several locations.

After additions and major improvements made at Cheltenham, including a new stand (the fourth one), miles of drain to prevent unsuitable racing ground, tar paving in the enclosures, and the paddock extended to 35 saddling boxes, proved enough to make the National Hunt Committee decide that the 1911 meeting was to return at Prestbury Park, Cheltenham where it remained to the present.

Hilary McNerney and Singuletto Take Top Honors in the $30,000 Pilates Rocks Grand Prix

Hilary McNerney and Singuletto. © Sportfot.

January 17, 2021 – Wellington, FL – Hilary McNerney (USA) flew to the top of the podium aboard Singuletto in the $30,000 Pilates Rocks Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon, January 17, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) to close out 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) competition for the week.

Tessa Downey Pilots Symbolic to the Large Junior Hunter 3’6” 15 and Under Championship

Competition in the Rost Arena began on Sunday morning with the Large Junior Hunter 3’6” 15 and Under division. Tessa Downey aboard Symbolic earned the tricolor ribbon with first, second, and third-place ribbons.

Downey, of Houston, TX, recently began leasing Symbolic from owner Bella Kay. The new partnership, trained by PJP Farm, has only shown together twice, but they are already proving to be a pair to watch out for.

“He is actually owned by one of my mother’s closest friends and was with Beacon Hill Show Stables before,” commented Downey of the 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Carenzo. “I love his color. He is always so shiny, and he has such a great personality too!”

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.