Million Dollar Man André Thieme from Germany and his Contanga 3 won the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix at HITS Ocala on Thursday, hitting top form while continuing his quest for a repeat win in the Ocala Great American $1 Million Grand Prix. As winner of last year’s Great American Million and the 2011 Saugerties $1 Million Grand Prix, Thieme has made Ocala his mid-winter destination with that goal in mind.
“I competed last week in FEI week as an individual riding for Germany, and was third with my horse Conthendrix in Sunday’s $150,000 Grand Prix. I rode a slow easy trip on Contanga for sixth in the Thursday Prix. I will use the next three weeks here at HITS to get my horses in shape for the really big classes, then fly to California for the AIG Million (at HITS Desert Horse Park, March 15),” said Thieme at a celebration dinner with friend and trainer Emil Spadone, and fourth place winner Adrienne Iverson, whom Spadone also trains.
It appears that Contanga 3 is already in shape as the 11-year-old mare topped the 31 horses competing in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix at the Ocala Masters. The Ocala Horse Properties Stadium was set with a course of 16 efforts at 1.5 meters which included three combinations by Course Designer Jack Robson, of Coronado, California. The quality of the horses showing was evident, with 15 horses jumping clear first rounds.
Every rider took a shot to win in the jump-off, speeding through the course, resulting in rails falling throughout, and only four jumping double-clear. The first rider to clear all nine efforts in the jump-off was Iverson from Califon, New Jersey, riding Redfield Farm’s Donar R, stopping the clock at 43.628. Iverson’s trainer Spadone commended her saying, “In a sport that has become so specialized, Adrienne is one of the few riders that can be successful in both the hunter and jumper rings. This week she was champion in the Pre-Green Hunter 2 Division on my new stallion Fandago HX and reserve in the High Performance Hunter Division with Chapman ET – and today she was fourth in the Grand Prix.”
Amanda Flint from Long Valley, New Jersey, riding the Coverboy Group’s Superbad, bested Iverson’s time and finished in 43.032. Flint said, “Thinking ahead for Sunday I really didn't’t go that fast since we went early and there were so many in it.”
The next rider to jump double-clear was eventual winner Thieme, who stopped the clock at 39.812. He described the jump-off, saying, “There were two or three risky turns and an option to leave out to the last jump, which my friend Emil told me to do. I think a lot of other people tried to do the same and had the last jump down.”
One other person who was able to successfully leave out the stride to the last fence but did not quite catch Thieme’s time was David Tromp, of Saugerties, New York. “With 15 in the jump-off, conservative was not really an option,” said Tromp, who finished second on Koyo Investment Group’s horse Bill Clinton, after winning the Brook Ledge Welcome on Wednesday. Tromp continued, “Wednesday’s quick round really helped prepare my horse for Thursday’s jump-off. I opened up his stride and he stayed with me every step of the way.” Tromp’s time of 40.701 earned second place in the class.
Source: Press release from HITS, Inc.
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