(C) ESI Photography. Gavin Moylan and Pernod.
Culpeper, VA (October 4, 2016): The curtain closed on the 2016 HITS Culpeper season on Sunday with the $30,000 HITS Grand Prix. Riders and horses laid it all on the line to pursue the last big victory in the Grand Prix Ring at HITS Commonwealth Park.
The team to reign supreme was Gavin Moylan of Middleburg, Virginia aboard Pernod, owned by Alpha Omega Farm. The battle for the blue came down to a race against the clock, with the top three separated by only tenths of a second. This victory marked Moylan and Pernod’s second Grand Prix win of the season at HITS Culpeper, in addition to impressively claiming a number of ribbons in other Culpeper Grand Prix classes.
“I am thrilled with Pernod’s performance; every time I’ve taken him in the ring, I feel like I had a chance to win,” said Moylan. “I’d like to say thank you to Bart and Abby Frye, who I co-own this horse with.”
Five advanced to the jump-off set by course designer Florencio Hernandez of Mexico City. The first to contend the shortened course was Tracy Fenney of Flower Mound, Texas and MTM Reve Du Paradis.
Fenney and Reve Du Paradis, owned by MTM Farm, won the $25,000 Brook Ledge Grand Prix on Friday, and they had their eyes on another prize. They put down a quick, clear round in 36.129 to set the tone for the remaining field. They would take home the second place prize when the class was finished.
The victors, Moylan and Pernod, immediately followed Fenney, knowing their round would need to be solid to edge her out and also stay strong with three more trips left. They crossed the timers in a lightning-fast 36.098, overcoming Fenney by just fractions of a second.
“The course was definitely challenging and it was a very fast class,” said Moylan. “Tracy, Dorothy and I were all separated by just a tenth of a second give or take, so to be able to compete against those guys, who are so competitive, and come out on top was great.”
Dorothy Douglas, also of Flower Mound, Texas, was next to challenge the shortened course, piloting S&L Elite, owned by MTM Farm. They powered through the course, stopping the clock at 36.202, to ultimately take home third place.
Only two remained in the jump-off. Fenney returned with her second ride for another shot at topping the leaderboard. She rode MTM Como No, owned by MTM Farm, through the course, but a rail at a mid-course fence before the combination thwarted their chance of the win – ultimately settling them in fourth place with a 39.470-second round.
Last to contend the jump-off round was Matthias Hollberg riding out of Middleburg, Virginia aboard Czechmate, owned by Courtney Ramsay. They would turn in eight faults as they crossed the finish in 37.711, rounding out the top five in fifth.
$15,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper High Classic – 1.45m
The winner of the High Jr/A-O Classic at HITS Culpeper was Myrto Iliadis of Waterford, Virginia riding Voila He, owned by Daphne Iliadis. The equestrian and her mount bested a field of their peers as the only clear round of the three-horse jump-off.
Second place went to Tamara Morse and Ravenna, co-owned with Stuart Morse. Third went home with Felicia Russell and her own Habsurg 2.
$10,000 Pyranha Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Low Classic – 1.35m
Nikki Prokopchak of Barnesville, Maryland took home the blue in the Low Jr/A-O Classic on Sunday. Prokopchak piloted Agropoint Cassius to the victory in a two horse jump-off.
Califon, New Jersey equestrian Darby Toben was second place aboard D’Artagnan, owned by Doreen Toben. They earned one time fault in the jump-off with Prokopchak for the placing.
Third in the ribbons was Jocelyn Albaugh of McLean, Virginia and Axei Springs, owned by Lyle Albaugh. The pair claimed their spot in the top three with the fastest four-fault trip in the first round.