Set amidst lush pastures, voluminous trees and a cloudless sky, The Ridge at Wellington Turf Tour ended the third of its 12-week series. Today, McLain Ward and Best Buy would ride to the top of the leader board, tripping the timers in an untouchable 37.911 seconds, a second and a half faster than second place finisher Beth Underhill with Viggo.
Riders were faced with 15 efforts in a challenging course designed by Nick Granat and Eric Hasbrouk. Granat has been a staple of The Ridge Farm for years, assisting course designers at the facility's shows in New Jersey, as well as in Wellington. He has trained alongside such names as Conrad Homfeld, Alan Wade, Hasbrouk and studied at the Aachen School of Course Design where he worked with Arno-Gego.
"It is really nice because each week we are in a different venue. I think it is a good place to bring young horses along. There is a lot of exposure to different venues, environments and factors they may not see in the everyday ring," Granat said if The Ridge at Wellington Turf Tour. "George [D'Ambrosio] and Nona [Garson] have given me an opportunity to be part of their show. I assisted the designers last year and they let me step in this year and do a little more of my own work. I try to keep it simple, ask questions, but present the course in as friendly of a way as possible. I thought it went pretty well today, it was just hard enough to make the class fun, but for sure it wasn't boring."
McLain Ward had similar thoughts on the course, riding to one of only five double-clear rounds of the day. He tackled the track with Ansgar Holtger's Best Buy, a young horse that he has been developing since she was a 5-year-old.
"She is exciting, but very careful, so we do these events to get her feet wet at a bigger height," Ward explained. "The course was very good, it was nicely presented, and the jumps were beautiful. It is really nice for the horses; it is a great experience for them."
Ward continued, "I think it is nice to have options. This series is great for producing a young horse or rider, it proves very beneficial."
Kevin Crosby was the only rider to catch Ward's pace, riding towards the end of the day to an extremely quick jump-off time of 37.476 seconds. He had a heartbreaking rail at the final fence, unfortunately plummeting him to the sixth place position.
Beth Underhill and Viggo rode to the second place in 39.455 seconds; while Miranda Scott and Quick Latinus rounded out the top three with their double clear posted in 40.754 seconds. Randy Johnson and Allegretta finished fourth, and Katelyn Hess completed the day in fifth with Watson.
The fourth week of The Ridge at Wellington Turf Tour will be hosted by the International Polo Club Palm Beach. Both Wednesday and Friday's events promise to be exciting, with the 1.30m-1.35m classes and the $15,000 1.40m Grand Prix running from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. The turf will see low and medium schooling jumpers with two classes running concurrently offered at each height on both days. The schooling jumper classes will continue to be offered on Friday throughout the remainder of the Turf Tour.
Place Entry Horse Owner Rider Money
1st 694 Best Buy 5303254 Ansgar Holtgers FEI10032893 McClain Ward
2nd 543 Viggo 102ZW46 Beth Underhill EC33509 Beth Underhill
3rd 671 Quick Latinus 4716033 Miranda Scott 127122 Miranda Scott
4th 697 Allegretta 5170262 Greener Pastures 7268 Randy Johnson
5th 679 Watson 5231772 Kevin Babington 175409 Katelyn Hess
6th 712 Nolde FEI103TN76 Jack H. Towell 248210 Kevin Crosby
7th 523 Matana 5290971 Mavis Spencer 307316 KI J. MINORS
Source: Press release from Phelps Media Group, Inc.
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