On Saturday evening, the International Arena at PBIEC saw 43 horse and rider combinations in the $25,000 A-T Benefit Grand Prix. Competing under the lights, exhibitors jumped a course set by Anthony D'Ambrosio of Red Hook, NY. Seven entries were able to clear the course to advance to the jump-off and three completed double clear rounds to earn top honors.
Great Britain's Amanda Derbyshire was the first competitor to jump-off aboard Becky and David Gochman's Attack II and set the pace with a clear round in 40.763 seconds to eventually finish third. Canada's Ian Millar and Dixson, owned by Ariel and Susan Grange, were next to clear the course and stopped the timers in 40.506 seconds to take over the lead, but they would eventually finish second. Next on course, USA's Aaron Vale and Zippo II, owned by 2VR Show Jumpers, blazed through the track a full two seconds faster in 38.304 seconds to take the win.
The remaining jump-off competitors all had four faults. Ireland's Ronan McGuigan and Capall Zidane had the fastest four-fault round in 38.383 seconds to place fourth. Catherine Pasmore (USA) and Freddy Star finished in 39.111 seconds to earned fifth place honors. Peter Wylde (USA) and Edouard de Rothschild's Lewin 5 stopped the clock in 41.141 seconds to finish sixth. Georgina Bloomberg and Stephex Stables' Perfect de Coquerie were seventh in 42.802 seconds.
Class winner, Zippo II, is a nine-year-old KWPN gelding by Lupicor x Voltaire. Aaron Vale just started riding the horse this week after bringing him over from England.
"His potential looks good," Vale smiled after the class. "He arrived in my barn a week ago, so this is a hell of a start I have to say. He went wonderful all week. He is straightforward, he is scopey, he seems like he is really careful. It looks like we have a real nice horse here."
"He jumped around real nice," Vale added. "He was fourth in the 1.40m yesterday. He wasn't turning super, but he was just so comfortable with the jumps and all, so I figured he would handle the lights and everything at night. I thought it was worth a try and it was. He was a little bit wiggly, but he steadied and waited for the jumps when he needed to and he just feels like a beautifully produced horse. I am lucky we got him."
Vale saw a video of Zippo II and went to London to try him. He described what he knows about the horse's previous years.
"I bought him out of England and he mostly had just jumped up to 1.40m so far, but I think he had a real good background," Vale stated. "They brought him up slow and put a real good foundation under him. I think he was in Scott Brash's system. I don't think he showed the horse himself that much, but it had been in his program and they did a beautiful job. He is lovely."
Vale described his plan in the jump-off, noting, "It was mostly a galloping course. The main thing was not to let the galloping trick you into going too fast and having one down in the combination. For a big horse he is really pretty light and quick across the ground it seems. He was quite quick. I held up to the vertical in the center because I wanted to get his mind waiting a little bit because he is still green. I could have easily left a stride out there, but I wanted to make him wait before the combination so that he was thinking about slowing down and jumping up. I took a pretty big chance at the last fence. I don't think he knew what I was asking. I asked him to go that fast and I don't think he realized there was another jump, but he made a good effort when we got there. I was hoping the time would hold up and it did."
Final Results: $25,000 A-T Benefit Grand Prix
Horse - rider - owner:
1. ZIPPO II AARON VALE 2VR SHOW JUMPERS: 0/0/38.304
2. DIXSON IAN MILLAR ARIEL AND SUSAN GRANGE: 0/0/40.506
3. ATTACK II AMANDA DERBYSHIRE BECKY AND DAVID GOCHMAN: 0/0/40.763
4. CAPALL ZIDANE RONAN MC GUIGAN RONAN MC GUIGAN: 0/4/38.383
5. FREDDY STAR CATHERINE PASMORE PASMORE STABLES, LLC: 0/4/39.111
6. LEWIN 5 PETER WYLDE EDOUARD DE ROTHSCHILD: 0/4/41.141
7. PERFECT DE COQUERIE GEORGINA BLOOMBERG STEPHEX STABLES: 0/4/42.802
8. ROCKY W KAITLIN CAMPBELL KAITLIN CAMPBELL: 1/86.735
9. EVERYTHING KELSEY THATCHER PONY LANE FARM: 4/79.261
10. WINCHESTER THEO GENN BRIDLEBOURNE STABLES LLC: 4/82.170
11. CADENCE MEGAN EDRICK WEXLER PROCEDURES, INC: 4/82.247
12. WEC QUIDAM-QUIDAM SARAH SCHEIRING WILLIAM UPTON: 4/84.600
Source: Press release by Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
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