Lexington, KY – November 2, 2012 – Great Britain’s Tim Gredley proved to be one of the world’s bravest riders this evening when he galloped up to a 7’6″ wall aboard his talented mount Unex Valente. The pair was already champions of the $50,000 Puissance at Alltech National Horse Show, 129th edition after being the only horse and rider combination to clear the 7″ wall. Although they were unsuccessful during their final attempt, the crowd was on their feet to cheer on the brave rider at the Alltech Arena in Lexington, KY.
Eight entries gathered for tonight’s class to jump the wall built by Richard Jeffery of Bournemouth, England, the first time this show had hosted the event in 11 years. For the first round the jump was set at 5’9″, but as the height rose the number of riders left continued to dwindle. First it went up to 6’3″, then 6’6″ and finally for a brave final three, 7′.
Having successfully completed all three of the first heights, Gredley was the first to make the daunting gallop towards the in-gate with Unex Valente, owned by Unex Competition Yard. The pair made it look easy, clearing the wall with all the pieces intact.
Jessica Springsteen was next with Temmie, owned by Stone Hill Farm. They had been perfect up until 7′, but then the luck was not on their side and the blocks came tumbling down. The experienced Aaron Vale followed Springsteen aboard Wodka L, owned by Thinks Like A Horse. Unfortunately, they did find a great distance in and they also lowered the height of the wall, creating a tie for second place.
By being the only rider to clear the wall at 7′, Gredley already had the victory in hand, but Gredley did not want to stop there. They reset the wall to a daunting height of 7’6″. Gredley made a good approach and Unex Valente cleared it with his front legs, but didn’t have quiet enough jump to finish the effort and brought down a block. They were still the victors though, and the crowd went wild.
“I have had the horse since he was four, so I know him inside and out,” explained Gredley. “I didn’t do it in Washington, and was annoyed that I didn’t do it. This was his first puissance. He’s a bit of an all-purpose horse, he’s been doing speed classes, and I did the six bar on him. When you know a horse that long, you know what he is capable of.”
This was only Springsteen’s second attempt at Puissance, but she was thrilled with her horse’s performance. “It was fun, but I definitely get a little nervous,” she laughed. “You are supposed to go slow and collected, but I want to gallop up to it, and I think that’s where I get it down. Temmie is so brave. I am definitely learning how to ride it better. It is not my favorite class but I will probably keep doing it.”
Vale has shown in a number of Puissance classes over the years, and developed his own style, which often results in landing with one hand in the air. “My style where I drop the rein is not planned, just naturally happens. It is a long ways down and the last thing you want to do is be ahead of them. When they get to the top of the wall, have to have balance on the way down.”
Earlier this evening, Lauren Hough used her style to score her second victory in row this week during the Chartis Insurance Company $50,000 International Open Jumper Speed. She piloted her own Ohlala to the fastest clear effort over Richard Jeffery’s faults converted track, which included a fan jump, a stone wall, a Swedish oxer, a vertical-vertical double combination, and an oxer-vertical double combination.
Belgium’s Olivier Philippaerts set the time to beat as the first to traverse the course with Fanny Machiels’ Vadetta Van Het Mettenhof. They clocked in at a clear 60.53 seconds, adding no faults to their time for an eventual sixth place ribbon. Beezie Madden managed to best him as the next in the ring with Amadora, owned by Abigail Wexner, tripping the timers at 59.60 seconds, which would hold the lead for a nine rounds, but eventually fall to third.
Andrew Welles and Boo Van Het Kastanjehof, owned by Peter Welles, came close to catching Madden, but their time of 60.13 seconds would only be good enough for fourth. The fifth place award went to Christine McCrea and Zerly, owned by Candy Tribble, going late in the class and completing the course in 60.33 seconds.
Shane Sweetnam was the first to top Madden riding Spy Coast Farm’s Cyklon 1083. They sped across the course leaving a huge stride out to the Swedish oxer. The pair’s effort was almost good enough, breaking the beam at 59.04 seconds, for an eventual second place finish.
Lauren Hough chose to do the same inside turn to the first double combination that Sweetnam did, and despite some glitches through the ring, it proved to be the fastest track. She and Ohlala were quick and clear as they dashed through the finish in 58.76 seconds, good enough for the win. Only Nicola Philippaerts had a faster time with Diebrich De Kalvarie, owned by Stal De Kalvarie, but an unfortunate rail coming into the last combination added four seconds for a final time of 60.94 in eighth place.
“It wasn’t one of my smoothest rounds, but it all worked out,” admitted Hough. “She was amazing; I don’t know how she did it. I had looked at the inside turn when I walked the course, but I watched probably five go and thought to myself that it wasn’t possible. Christine McCrea told me Shane did it, and my distance to fence two set me up nicely. It wasn’t the smoothest, but I think it was quicker.”
Hough and Ohlala were the winners of a speed class last week at the Washington International Horse Show, and the eight-year-old mare also participated in her first World Cup Qualifier. “I got her at the end of last year, and she campaigned at Florida up to the 1.45m classes. This summer in Europe she won the Young Horse Finals in Aachen and the Young Horse Final in Hamburg. She has just been a winner. She is on the brink of stepping up into the bigger classes; she is very, very competitive. A horse at eight years old to win as much as she has, you don’t see that happen very often. She can go as fast as she did today and then turn around and jump a big class tomorrow and not be fazed by it. It makes my job easy.”
Top Awards Presented in Junior and Amateur-Owner Jumpers
The first jumper events in the Alltech Arena today were the $15,000 Chansonette Farm Amateur-Owner Jumpers and the $15,000 Deeridge Farm Junior Jumpers. Each group of riders competed over a course designed by Richard Jeffery that featured a triple bar, a vertical-vertical double combination, and an oxer-vertical-oxer triple combination. The competitors that found the key advanced to the jump-off where mastering tight turns and long gallops led to the victory.
Alise Oken and Kaid Du Ry, owned by High Hopes Farm, had all the answers in the $15,000 Chansonette Farm Amateur-Owner Jumpers. They made a very tight turn during the short course to the final combination, shaving valuable seconds off their time of 35.610 seconds. With all the rails intact they were good enough for the win and eventually led the victory gallop.
“It’s so nice to be able to win here at the National Horse Show; it is a great event,” smiled Oken. “Today I just wanted to go fast during the jump-off. That inside turn ended up working out really well for me. My horse loves this ring and he is a naturally fast horse. I have to make sure that he doesn’t fall in cause he loves to just go to the jumps. I have had him for a year now. I took him over to Europe to do the Young Riders tour and he was just awesome; he has taught me a lot about getting better.”
Rachel Udelson was the first to challenge the jump-off, and she set a tough bar to beat with VDL Wardorette. The pair crossed the finish line in a clear 36.039 seconds, which would eventually place second. Lauren Ward was just a second behind the aboard Oscar 72, clocking in at 37.486 for third place. Danielle Torano had the last double clear effort with Capitano, owned by Sir Ruly, Inc, but they broke the beam at a conservative 38.754 seconds which would earn fourth.
The $15,000 Deeridge Farm Junior Jumpers were up next, and with an opportunity to watch the course during the Amateur-Owner competition 10 managed to best the track and advance to the tiebreaker. Six of those riders were perfect over the short course and had a double clear round. Lydia Ulrich was the fastest of the day. She piloted Santos Utopia, owned by Up the Creek Farm, through the timers in 35. 559 seconds for the blue ribbon prize.
“This class was very difficult, you had to go fast to win this one,” stated Ulrich. “The plan was to go clear, and I went a little faster. I have been going slow this week, so I had to make sure I had enough pace from one and everything else fell in place from there.”
Ulrich continued, “Santos Utopia is unbelievable. I have had him for just a little over a year now. He has been nothing but perfect. He’s a hot horse, needs a strong ride, but he is so scopey that if I do my job he’ll be there for me.”
Yesterday’s winner was Abigail McArdle with Cosma 20, and they fought for another blue ribbon. With all the fences in place they stopped the clock at 35.572, just 2/100ths behind Ulrich, slipping into the second place position. Kilian McGrath rounded out the top three aboard Salerno, owned by Rolling Oaks Ranch, after she finished the short course in a clear 37.840 seconds.
Through the SSG Riding Gloves ‘Go Clean for the Green’ promotion, a number of this week’s riders have taken home even bigger checks for their wins. Lauren Hough won a $6,000 bonus last night, and then took another $3,000 today. McArdle’s win with Cosma 20 yesterday captured $1,000 yesterday, and Oken took home $2,000 in today’s Amateur-Owner Jumper class for wearing SSG ‘Digital’ Gloves.
The jumper events will conclude tomorrow with the $250,000 World Cup Qualifying Grand Prix in the evening. Earlier in the day, the $50,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Championship will be held in the Alltech Arena. The show will wrap up on Sunday with the historic ASPCA Alfred B. Maclay National Championships. For more information about the 2012 Alltech National Horse Show, 129th Edition, please visit www.nhs.org.
Rebecca Walton for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
Media Contact: Mason Phelps
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386