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A spellbinding win for Manuel Alvarez and Spirit in Del Mar

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Manuel Alvarez and Spirit Magic. Photo by under a cloudless sky on an idyllic Saturday afternoon, the $40,000 Grand Prix of Showpark, presented by EquiFit, inc., entertained a host of spectators and riders alike. Thirty-two entries tackled Linda Allen's impressive course in an attempt to be the best in show today.

With sixteen efforts and a time allowed of 82 seconds, the course covered the expanse of the Grand Prix field while set at national standard height, requiring notable scope from the field of experienced horses. Several challenging elements included a one-stride double combination in a forward five to a liverpool, as well as a triple combination before a rollback to the final wide oxer.

Allen elaborated on her course design and adhering to the specifications of the class. "This course requires a more experienced horse, or a greener horse with a more seasoned rider who can give it a little more help. I did change some things because of the sun, so most of the technical lines are going away from the sun," the veteran designer explained. "It's my intention to have this be a nice preparation for the FEI classes next week."

Twenty-five percent of the thirty-two entries returned for the jump-off. Consisting of seven efforts in 48 seconds, the track posed several tests, including the latter two elements of the triple combination as well as bending lines that allowed for daring speed.

First to return, Luis Alejandro Plasencia on his own Zandor had a single rail, but a quick time of 29.18 seconds. Three rides later, seasoned partners Josephina Nor Lantzman and Chello Z (Josephina Nor Stables, LLC, owner) were the first double clear, stopping the clock in a tidy 33.00 seconds.

Lantzman held her lead until Manuel Alvarez and his own Spirit Magic produced the second clear, flying to the finish in 31.33, taking over the top spot. Last to return, Hanna Mauritzson and Swede Equine, LLC's Landlyst's Leroy snuck into second place with a clear round in a time of 32.28. Nor Lantzman and Chello Z finished third, while Plasencia and Zandor rounded out the top four.

"I think it was a very nice course, big enough and technical with a short time. In the jump-off, I did one less stride than the leading rider and I think that's where I made up the time," Alvarez said. "Spirit Magic is a 14-year-old gelding I've been with for three years now. He's very nice and reliable-he's big and doesn't look that fast, but if you push him like I did in the jump-off, he can cover a lot of ground and be fast enough to win a class like this."


$40,000 Grand Prix of Showpark, presented by EquiFit, inc.

Place - Number - Horse - Rider - Owner - Faults/Time

1. 833 - Spirit Magic - Manuel Alvarez - Manuel Alvarez - 0/0/31.339

2. 777 - Landlyst's Leroy - Hanna Mauritzson - Swede Equine, LLC - 0/0/32.286

3. 454 - Chello Z - Josephina Nor Lantzman - J Nor Stables, LLC - 0/0/33.006

4. 835 - Zandor - Luis Alejandro Plasencia - Luis Alejandro Plasencia - 0/4/29.181

5. 663 - Matador - Jaime Azcarraga - Jaime Azcarraga - 0/4/29.496

6. 130 - Lasse - Jamie Barge - Kylieco - 0/4/31.482

7. 127 - Zamiro - Susan Artes - Alix Fargo - 0/4/32.332

8. 662 - Anton - Jaime Azcarraga - Jaime Azcarraga - 0/8/31.821

9. 730 - Zidane - Jill Humphrey - Jill Humphrey - 1/82.113

10. 214 - Casco Junior - John French - Danielle Walker - 3/84.668

11. 269 - Jonkheer Z - Karl Cook - Signe Ostby - 4/77.127

12. 832 - Manolito Fortuna - Manuel Alvarez - Manuel Alvarez - 4/78.431

Source: Press release from Blenheim EquiSports.

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