Turf Tour Week 4’s Detour to Jim Brandon Showcases Diversity of Competition

The winner of Friday’s $15,000 Turf Tour Grand Prix, Gianni Gabrielli and HH Roachambeau. Photos courtesy of The Ridge at Wellington/Equinium Sports marketing.

Wellington, Florida (January 30, 2016) – Following a quick change of plans that allowed exhibitors to compete while other horse shows in the area were forced to cancel, The Ridge at Wellington Turf Tour relocated to Jim Brandon Equestrian Center in West Palm Beach for its fourth week of competition on January 27-29, 2016. The 13-week circuit wrapped up 3 days of showing and schooling that showcased everything from Olympic riders and High Jumper divisions to amateurs, young horses, and juniors. The diverse class offerings and world-class competition were accented by a relaxed, utopian show atmosphere and exceptional hospitality including an organized horse shuttle and complimentary breakfast and lunch.

The week’s headline class, the $15,000 1.40m Grand Prix, kicked off 31 rides on Friday with 2012 Olympic Team Gold Medalist Ben Maher and the 10-year-old Selle Français mare Sarena putting in a double clear round under the oversized covered at Jim Brandon. Maher was followed by a slew of international, World Cup, and Olympic competition, with Gianni Gabrielli aboard Emanuel Andrade’s HH Roachambeau topping the field with the smokingly fast jump-off time of 35.475 seconds. Kathy Kitterman, trainer of Gabrielli and HH Roachambeau, stated, “It was a very nice class; we’ve been at the Turf Tour the past three days, and plan to attend the series for the whole season. We’d like to thank Emmanuel Andrade for allowing Gianni to compete this week. HH Roachambeau is a very powerful horse, and has been learning how to keep a steady pace.” It would seem that the 8-year-old Dutchbred gelding by Quasimodo Z found his stride in the Turf Tour’s Grand Prix, as he and Gabrielli went early and held the lead through to the end.

With the footing in the outdoor rings drained from the deluge of rain on Wednesday and Thursday, the Low, Medium and Schooling jumpers ran throughout the day Friday in the sunny, crisp weather. The Low Schooling Jumper divisions were clinched by Claire Stevenson & Perugina and Amanda R. Cole & Jericho; Bertrand Legriffon’s Barok and Juan Pablo Betancourt & Dynastie Up Wis ruled in the Medium Schooling Jumpers, while Mary Kate Olsen topped the Children’s/Adult Jumpers and $2,000 Child/Adult Jumper Classic with Virginia and Hertog Van’t Merodehof. Wednesday’s two $2,400 1.30-1.35m Jumper divisions were both dominated by Miguel Ventura and his two mounts, Swagger and Quan. Thursday also hosted a day of unrecognized Low, Medium, and High Schooling Jumper divisions in Jim Brandon’s covered arena, with over 200 rounds being ridden throughout the day.

Designed by Nick Granat, the Turf Tour’s Grand Prix, 1.30-1.35m, and various courses are intended to act as a catalyst for the growth and development of horses and riders. The straightforward, 1.40m Grand Prix reflected the need for solid basics and resulted in a number of double clears, while the lower schooling classes and divisions gave the opportunity for horses and riders in a variety of levels to experience and compete in different venues and atmospheres. “Our goal is giving competitors the chance to experience everything, from riding on the turf polo fields at the International Polo Club to showing under the lights in an indoor arena,” said George D’Ambrosio, co-organizer of the Turf Tour with US Olympian Nona Garson and Craig Bergman.

Beth Underhill on course during Turf Tour Week 3
Beth Underhill on course during Turf Tour Week 3

Canadian Equestrian Team rider Beth Underhill is a familiar face on the Turf Tour, has been competing on the circuit for 3 years. She cites the convenience for her and the experience for her young horses as the reason she returns week after week, year after year. “I think what Nona and George are offering to the sport is fantastic,” Underhill said. “We have the ability to develop our young horses at a variety of fabulous venues, and it’s so convenient to walk the course when you want and have more latitude in your day to get things done. The jumps are lovely, the venues are fabulous, and it’s a change of pace for some of the more experienced horses. The excellent food, friendly treatment, and other perks don’t hurt either!”

The decision to move the Turf Tour’s fourth week, which was originally scheduled to take place at the International Polo Club, was made by show management after a forecast of heavy rain and wind threatened to force cancellation of the competition. For week 5, plans are in the works to confirm Jim Brandon Equestrian Center for Wednesday, when the weather is scheduled to deteriorate. The Jim Brandon Equestrian Center will also host The Ridge at Wellington’s Hunter Derby Days, an expansion of the Turf Tour series featuring two Fridays of competition showcasing the elegance and agility of the hunter ring. Set to be held February 5th and March 18th, Hunter Derby Days will each feature a $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby and $5,000 USHJA National Derby, totaling over $40,000 in prize money. As part of The Ridge at Wellington’s Turf Tour, the popular derby circuit is celebrating its third consecutive year in 2016, and has attracted a strong following of the top riders in the country who winter in Florida and compete at H.I.T.S. Ocala and The Winter Equestrian Festival. The fantastic covered arena at Jim Brandon will swap the brightly colored fences of show jumping for the natural obstacles and elaborate courses of top tier hunter competition.

The Ridge At Wellington also hosts a USEF Rated Equitation show each Tuesday during the winter show season, and its Palm Beach Series hunter/jumper show occurs the second weekend of each month at the farm. For more information on the Turf Tour, including a full prize list, please go to www.theridgefarm.com. For up-to-date information, please follow The Ridge at Wellington on Facebook.

Media Contact:
Holly Johnson
Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC
954 205 7992

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