Darragh Kenny and Ramiro Quintana Score Opening Day Wins as Silver Oak Jumper Tournament Kicks Off

Darragh Kenny and Picolo. Photos by Tony DeCosta.

Fifteen-year-old Maria Brugal takes opening class with Arann DV

Hampton Falls, NH – August 7, 2013 – Five days of exciting show jumping got underway on Wednesday as the inaugural Silver Oak Jumper Tournament lifted off under gorgeous partly sunny skies in what’s known as the Seacoast region of the Granite State. For those that have never made the trip to New Hampshire, we suggest you put it on your to do list right away. This is a beautiful part of the United States that stretches for miles along the Atlantic Ocean from New Hampshire’s border with Massachusetts to the Piscataqua River and New Hampshire’s border with Kittery, Maine.

Hampton Beach is a wonderful beach town, right on the ocean with classic old hotels with balconies overlooking the main drag, magnificent beach houses, the famous “Shell” and some of the best seafood (and fried dough) you’ll ever get a chance to eat.

Here are a few other things you might not know about New Hampshire.

Of the thirteen original colonies, New Hampshire was the first to declare its independence from Mother England, a full six months before the Declaration of Independence was signed. In 1833 the first free public library in the United States was established in Peterborough. New Hampshire adopted the first legal lottery in the twentieth century United States in 1963. The Pierce Manse in Concord is the home of the only New Hampshire citizen ever elected President, Franklin Pierce, and most importantly, the Bavarian-style hamlet of Merrimack is home to one of the famous eight-horse hitches and the Clydesdales maintained by the Anheuser-Busch Brewery.

Just a couple of miles down the road from the beach is the Silver Oak Equestrian Center, a horseman’s jewel in Hampton Falls, NH.

Show Chairman Jeff Papows has spent a year and a lot of money getting the property ready for this year’s event, including a complete makeover and change of location of Jumper Ring #2 and making sure the stunning grass grand prix field is in perfect condition. His hard work has been rewarded with nearly four hundred horses turning out for this inaugural offering. “We couldn’t be more excited,” said a delighted Papows. “The phone hasn’t stopped ringing this past week and all of us are delighted with the turnout for the show. We had to overcome a lot to get the show rolling this year. We had to deal with cautious exhibitors who were scared by the terrible press the previous event garnered and then the worst blow of all, the death of my dear friend David Birdsall,” he said.

Birdsall, who passed away unexpectedly earlier this year, was the owner of the Silver Oak Equestrian Center. There will be a special ceremony honoring his memory during Sunday’s Grand Prix festivities.

There’s a new Vendor Village location, with a number of fun shops located there and others situated across the grounds. And the food… the food is going to be great if last night’s opening staff meeting and get together is any indication. The White Apron, located in Dover, will be providing their delicious delicacies throughout the week. They have won numerous awards and it’s easy to see why.

Germany’s Olaf Petersen, Jr. is on hand to design the course for this year’s Silver Oak Tournament. Petersen, one of the world’s most popular and respected builders, has worked the world’s best shows, including the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships.

Maria Brugal and Arann DV
Maria Brugal and Arann DV

In the first event of the day, the 1.20m Open Jumpers, Time First Jump-Off class, it was junior rider Maria Brugal scoring the victory with her feisty gray horse Arann DV. The fifteen-year-old rider ripped through the short course in 45.357 seconds for the win, topping a starting field of forty-one in the opening affair.

Of the forty-one that went to the post, fifteen went on to the jump-off, fourteen of those going double clear.

Second through fourth places were tightly bunched within the 46 second range. Eight tenths a second behind in second place was Kevin McCarty and Ambitious who tripped the timers in 46.127 seconds. Third place went to Allyson Shryoc, piloting Cheval D’Espoirz to a final time of 46.227 seconds, just a tenth of a second off the pace for second place. Rounding out the top four was Maria Brugal’s second mount, Diabolo Van Cadzandhoeve, crossing the finish line in 46.780 seconds.

“This is my first time here,” smiled Brugal, who rides with “Titi” Mills. “Riding out on the big field was great fun. The grass is in wonderful shape, the footing is great and you could do a lot of galloping. It’s refreshing to come to a new place that’s so beautiful.”

Speaking of her equine partner, Brugal said, “He’s an eight-year-old. I just got him last year. We’ve been working with him a lot. He’s a little bit strong, but I think our hard work is beginning to pay off.”

The 1.30m Jumpers, also scored at Table II, Sec 2b Time First Jump-Off class was next with thirty-one going to the post.

The last proved to be the best as Ramiro Quintana stormed to victory on Bialda, a top seven-year-old Young Jumper owned by St. Bride’s Farm of Upperville, Virginia. Quintana blasted through the finish line in 34.719 seconds to steal the win from Darragh Kenny and Mantana, owned by Oakland Ventures. Kenny had held the lead since the thirteenth to go in order. Kenny’s second place time was 35.483 seconds. Kenny also secured third place with Quiz, second to last to go in the class. Quiz, also owned by Oakland Ventures, tripped the timers in 36.454 seconds.

“David and Barbara Roux bought the horse a year ago for me to bring along. She’s very scopey, she’s very brave and she’s really quite fast as you saw in today’s class,” Quintana said of Bialda. “She’s going to the Hampton Classic to compete in the Seven-Year-Old Young Jumper Finals and then I’ll bring her along through the program, advancing her to the Eight-Year-Olds next year.”

Ramiro Quintana and Bialda
Ramiro Quintana and Bialda

Quintana, who outdistanced Kenny by almost a full second, explained where he found the faster track. “I got a chance to watch Darragh go,” he said. “I left out a stride in the last line and did seven there where everyone else was doing eight and I was quite neat to one-two-three and back on the double combination.”

“Awesome. A great venue,” Quintana said of the Silver Oak facility. “This is the first time here for me and I couldn’t be happier that I came. I have a bunch of young horses here. I have six-year-olds, seven-year-olds, eight-year-olds and I wanted to give them the experience and mileage on grass because they are all headed to the Hamptons. It’s hard to find shows in America in the summer where there’s a grass field and this field is absolutely perfect,” he noted and added, “Plus, I was really pleased with Olaf; you’ve got a great course designer in Olaf Petersen, Jr. with good footing and beautiful jumps so the horses are jumping really, really well. I couldn’t be happier.”

Rounding out the top six were Lauren Tisbo and Tequesta Farms’ Sting Van de Withoeve, Peter Leone aboard Alias, owned by Kiva Iscol and Candice King with Bellissimo LLC’s VDL Maleklou. Tisbo clocked in at 37.133 seconds, Leone broke the beams in 37.548 seconds and King came home in 37.670 seconds.

Of the thirty-one that started, sixteen went clear the first time and fourteen went on to be double clear.

The final event on opening day was the 1.40m Open Jumpers, Table II Section 2b, Time First Jump-Off with twenty starters. This time around, Irish rider Darragh Kenny left no doubt, making sure he wouldn’t get bumped out of the top spot. In fact, he finished first and second to wrap up a very successful afternoon.

Riding Oakland Venture’s Picolo, Kenny secured the victory without really trying. “I didn’t think I was that fast on my last horse. At that point, I knew I had the class won and I was only really schooling for the Welcome class tomorrow,” Kenny explained. “But, he’s naturally so fast; it’s so easy to gallop with him. In the jump-off I didn’t think I was faster, but he’s so quick across the ground and he’s so careful, you don’t have to worry about anything at the jumps. It’s so rare that a horse does both.”

Kenny, who had been leading with Quiz, another Oakland Ventures entry in 34.732 seconds, managed to slice a tenth of a second off of that time with Picolo to finish in 34.633 seconds for the victory.

“I bought him during the off week at Spruce Meadows,” Kenny noted. “He came from France two weeks ago and went straight to HITS Saugerties where he placed in all four grand prix over the two weeks in Saugerties. He was second last Friday and second in the $100,000 grand prix up there. I brought him here and wasn’t really intending on showing him today, but I’ve only had him two weeks and had never ridden him on grass, so I thought I’d get him out and see how it goes,” he said.

Kenny, who ventured out on his own after a long stint with top trainer Missy Clark, has developed a nice group of young horses and couldn’t be happier at this point of his life. “Really good,” he smiled. “I’ve got a great string of horses – very careful, very competitive and easy to ride. I think it’s going to be a little bit of fun for me now. I have some great clients and some wonderful horses underneath me, so I couldn’t be happier.”

As far as the Silver Oak facility, Kenny said, “I think the facility and the horse show is absolutely fantastic. I think it’s a brilliant show. The show is run well, the field is beautiful, the footing is super, so it’s really enjoyable to be here. The people are so nice. I can’t say enough good things about this horse show. And the course designer did a lovely job today.”

With a lot of clean rounds through the three classes today, Kenny expects that to change as the week progresses. “Nobody had anything bad happen. I think he was just trying to be fair today. Just get everybody in the ring, get everybody jumping around and get everybody happy. I think he will be a little tougher tomorrow and then I think he’ll be quite tough by the time we get to Sunday,” Kenny stated. “I think he has a good feel for the good riders that are competing here.”

Molly Ashe-Cawley finished third in today’s 1.40m class with Lincourt Gino, owned by Monica Carrera. Crossing the finish line in 34.883 seconds, Ashe-Cawley missed the mark by just 2/10ths of a second. Fourth place went to another Darragh Kenny mount, Cequila, owned by Oakland Ventures, who broke the beams in 35.248 seconds.

Fifth place went to Ziedento and Ramiro Quintana for the St. Bride’s Farm and sixth went to Wiesielottie from the Winley Farm.

The $20,000 Welcome Stake highlights tomorrow’s show schedule, along with a variety of Open and Junior-A/O Jumper classes.

The $75,000 Equestrian Estate Planning Group Grand Prix dominates the Sunday schedule in Hampton Falls as an elite group of top riders will vie for big prize money in the class and the $25,000 Boston Strong Bonus. The $25,000 cash prize will go to any horse and rider combination that win both the $75,000 Equestrian Estates Planning Group Grand Prix at Silver Oak and the Grand Prix at Fieldstone next week. Sunday’s Grand Prix is preceded by the $15,000 Agero Speed Classic.

Saturday’s session features a number of exciting show jumping competitions, including the Show Jumping Hall of Fame Classics for top Junior and Amateur Owner Jumpers and the $15,000 DG Ventures Speed Derby, a challenging test over 18-20 obstacles in a race for the title.

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