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Coyle and Kocher Top Developing Jumper Classics at the Winter Equestrian Festival

Daniel Coyle and Farona. Photos © Sportfot.

Jennifer Bliss and Taylor St. Jacques Claim Wins in $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Wellington, FL – March 31, 2017 – The young horses of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) got their opportunity to compete on the main stage on Friday, as the Five-Year-Old, Six-Year-Old and Seven-Year-Old Developing Jumper Classics were featured in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.

Daniel Coyle (IRL) and Farona won the $20,000 Spy Coast Farm Seven-Year-Old Developing Jumper Classic, Andrew Kocher (USA) and G Star were victorious in the $15,000 Spy Coast Farm Six-Year-Old Developing Jumper Classic. Coyle also rode Khaleesi to top honors in the $10,000 Gut Einhaus Five-Year-Old Developing Jumper Classic.

Olaf Petersen, Jr. (GER) set the courses for the Developing Jumper Classics. In the $20,000 Spy Coast Farm Seven-Year-Old Developing Jumper Classic, Petersen saw 58 entries and 19 clear rounds to jump-off. Nine entries also jumped clear over the short course. It was Daniel Coyle’s time of 38.46 seconds that took the win riding Farona for Ariel and Susan Grange. Mario Deslauriers (USA) and Lisa Deslauriers’ Cooper Royal finished a very close second in 38.47 seconds. Ramiro Quintana (ARG) and Auer Sport Horses’ Ceitasi placed third in 38.98 seconds.

“Farona is a star!” Coyle said of the winning Dutch Warmblood mare (by Baltic VDL) bred by NHG Broeders. “We bought her at the [WEF Sport Horse] VDL Auction here last year, and ever since the day we bought her, she has been amazing. She went to Spruce Meadows last summer and won I don’t even know how many classes. She won the six-year-olds at Angelstone, then came down here and did a few 1.40m classes. She won a couple of seven-year-old classes here this winter. She has done so much.

“We were aiming her to win this class,” Coyle continued. “She is that type. You can really go to win. She has a lot of blood. She can be a little frustrating sometimes because she has so much blood, but she jumps so great you have to forget about it. I am so happy that [owner] Sue [Grange] found her. Sue is wonderful at finding young horses.”

Speaking of his jump-off, Coyle stated, “She is naturally very fast. Mario was very close to beating me, but thankfully he did not. If you ride her right, she is not going to knock a jump down. She is very special. I think she will turn out to be one of the best horses we have. She is one of those horses, whenever you are just hoping it all goes right, she is the one that you can always count on.”

Kocher Wins Six-Year-Old Classic

The $15,000 Spy Coast Farm Six-Year-Old Developing Jumper Classic saw a win for Andrew Kocher (USA) riding his own G Star. Fifty-two entries contested the Six-Year-Old Classic, with 14 clear rounds, and four double clear over Petersen’s short course. Kocher and G Star clocked the winning time of 39.10 seconds.

Tiffany Foster (CAN) and Artisan Farm’s Vienna placed second in 39.97 seconds. Lauren Tisbo (USA) guided Tequestrian Farms’ Graffiti Boy to third place in 41.51 seconds, and Gustavo Prato (ARG) jumped Nelson Pessoa’s Carioca ZE to fourth place in 43.13 seconds.

G Star is a Dutch Warmblood mare (Carambole x Karshmire van Schuttershof) bred by I. Huijbregts. Kocher co-owns the mare with Willem Greve, who purchased her as a yearling and brought her along.

“I bought my part of her around Christmas,” Kocher stated. “I was looking through tapes, and I liked the way she looked. She is really good. We have only shown her maybe three times. This was awesome. It was a really fun class, and it is nice to jump for a little prize money with the young ones. I was really happy with her.”

Young Irish rider Jordan Coyle showed G Star early in the circuit before Kocher took over the ride just this week. With Kocher, she jumped clear in all three classes this week.

“She can have a little attitude, but she is easy to ride, and easy to manage.” Kocher detailed. “She is fast. She goes like a Thoroughbred; she is very light. She was great in the jump-off. I had a lucky day, so I was happy.”

Coyle Tops Five-Year-Olds

Daniel Coyle also guided Ariel and Susan Grange’s Khaleesi to victory in the $10,000 Gut Einhaus Five-Year-Old Developing Jumper Classic earlier in the day. The Dutch Warmblood mare (Gaillard de la Pomme x Sir Corland) was bred by W.A.M. Tilbeke and purchased as a four-year-old by Brady Hayes.

Eighteen entries showed in the class and five qualified for the jump-off. Coyle and Khaleesi jumped the faster of two double clear rounds. Their time of 41.78 seconds took top prize. Yannick Patron (FRA) rode Valhalla Equestrian Centre’s Inshalla V.A. to second place in 42.69 seconds. William Hickey (USA) and Pony Lane Farm’s Karlton placed third with four faults in the jump-off in 44.21 seconds.

“Brady Hayes works with us at Lothlorien, and he had this horse that he wanted to sell,” Coyle detailed. “She was really nice, a good jumper, so Sue decided to buy her. The mare jumps brilliant. She is only five, so she is still a little green, but she felt really good today.”

Coyle continued, “We have prepared her for this class, and she jumped phenomenal today. That is the first time I have actually asked her to jump a clear round and be a bit competitive. I am sure Sue is happy and so am I. Thanks to Brady for finding her for us.”

Khaleesi showed at the start of the circuit with Keri Sutherland before Grange made the purchase and Coyle took over the reins.

“I showed her seven or eight times and she has just gotten better and better,” Coyle stated. “She will get a bit of a break now and show this summer in Toronto.”

Breeder and Rider Awards

Several special awards were also presented on Friday to recognize the riders and breeders of the circuit’s top young horses. Brendan Williams (riding Hercules) was presented the award for Best American Rider 25 and Under in the five-year-old division based on cumulative clear rounds in each section of WEF 1-12, excluding the classic. Theodore Boris (riding Flip de Hus Z) earned the award in the six-year-old division. Sarah Hubbard riding Farrero was the winner in the seven-year-olds. The under 25 rider awards were sponsored by DiAnn Langer.

The Best Rider 26 & Over was also awarded in each division, sponsored by Spy Coast Farm and Lisa Lourie. In the five-year-old division, Yannick Patron earned the award riding Inshalla V.A.

The six-year-old division awarded Vasco Flores, the rider of Manhattan. The best rider award in the seven-year-old category went to Armando Hassey, rider of Lomax.

Special U.S. Breeders Awards were also presented in the Six and Seven-Year-Old divisions, sponsored by Spy Coast Farm, based on individual horse money won from WEF 1-12, excluding the classic. Gotham Enterprizes’ Manhattan earned the six-year-old award, home bred by owner Georgina Bloomberg, and sired by her winning mount Metropolitan (x Lancer III). The gelding showed throughout the winter with Puerto Rico’s Vasco Flores.

The seven-year-old U.S. Breeder Award was presented to Spy Coast Farm and Lisa Lourie for Kimmel SCF, a Belgian Warmblood stallion ridden by Shane Sweetnam and sired by his famous former mount Amaretto d’Arco (x Lester).

Also competing in the International Arena on Friday, the Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix Series hosted a 1.40m speed class, with a win for Rogelio Pellerano (DOM) riding Temporelle de Fritot.

Jennifer Bliss and Taylor St. Jacques Claim Wins in $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Jennifer Bliss, riding Sugarman, and Taylor St. Jacques, riding Di Samorano, impressed on the derby field at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s (PBIEC) Equestrian Village to win their respective sections of the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby on Saturday.

Ken Krome of Westminster, MD set the courses for the USHJA National Hunter Derby, which was awarded in two sections, a junior/amateur section and an open section. Competition consisted of a first round and handy trip where the top 12 riders from each section returned to determine the final placings.

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Jennifer Bliss and Sugarman

Bliss, of Wellington, FL, and Sugarman, owned by Harris Hill Farm, LLC, posted the top scores in both rounds of the open section with a 91 in the first round combining with a 93 in the second round for a total of 184. Maria Rasmussen of Oak Creek, WI finished in second riding Subject to Change, owned by Corporate Way, LLC, after scores of 86 and 92 for a combined total of 178. Rachel Kennedy of Brookeville, MD rounded out the top three ribbons riding Dubai for owner Casey Millis after scores of 88.5 and 88 combined for a total of 176.5.

Sugarman, a ten-year-old gelding, joined Bliss’s string four years ago before embarking on successful Pre-Green and First Year campaigns. In 2015, the pair competed in their first-ever international derby competition together at WEF.

“He was tenth in his very first international derby, so we had high hopes for him,” said Bliss. “Unfortunately, he was injured at the end of that season and we had to step back and give him a lot of time. We tried to go slow and do it right because we love him and believe in him. Hopefully, now we are on the right track and we can get him back to the international derbies.”

The USHJA National Hunter Derby during WEF 12 marks Sugarman’s third horse show back in the competition ring, as well as the horse’s fourth derby class ever.

“This class has been our goal for the circuit because he is typically great in this kind of venue,” said Bliss. “I absolutely love riding him because he has the most laid-back attitude, is absolutely fearless to the jumps, and so scopey. He is a blast to ride in these venues with a little more atmosphere.”

Speaking further about riding on the derby field at PBIEC, Bliss noted, “It is such a treat at the end of WEF to have a change of scenery, and you can really gallop and show off your horse’s style. We always look forward to showing out here at the end of the season.”

In the junior/amateur ranks, 17-year-old St. Jacques of Glen Allen, VA piloted her own Di Samorano to the first-place ribbon on scores of 88 and 83 for a combined total of 171. Samantha Schaefer of Westminster, MD earned the second-place ribbon riding her own Stallone on scores of 85 and 83.5 for a combined score of 168.5. Rounding out the top three, Hannah Doherty of Westwood, MA piloted her own Vondel DH Z to the yellow ribbon with scores of 83 and 84 combining for a 167 total.

Di Samorano, an eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Samorano, also serves as a top equitation mount for St. Jacques and was previously owned by Heritage Farm, where St. Jacques trains with Patricia Griffith and Andre Dignelli.

“Andre imported him to sell as a young equitation horse,” said St. Jacques. “He was a very good boy, so they put me on him and it was a great match. He has been absolutely perfect ever since.”

St. Jacques, who is well-known for catch riding in the hunter, jumper, and equitation rings, was pleased to win a derby on her own horse, noting, “It is a special feeling. I love winning on my own horses because I also do a lot of the work myself, so it is really rewarding. I love being out on the big field, and I think it is really fun to compete against the professionals”

“I have really been focusing on the equitation with Di Samorano this season, so I thought it would be fun to do a little derby with him during the last week,” concluded St. Jacques.

Competition continues on Saturday at PBIEC featuring the $216,000 The Wanderer’s Club Grand Prix CSI 4* during Saturday Night Lights, round one of the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby on the Derby Field at the Equestrian Village (AGDF show grounds), and champion presentations in the Junior Hunter divisions. For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

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