Great Britain's Tim Gredley is proving he is perfect in the Puissance. He began his reign of the specialty class during last year's Alltech National Horse Show with Unex Valente, and just last week he won the event during the Washington International Horse Show. He kept his winning streak alive tonight, going two-for-two during this year's Lifeforce Elite $50,000 Puissance. Gredley and Unex Valente soared over a wall set at 7-feet to capture the winning prize.
"This was the first puissance I ever did on him last year, so it's nice to come back and win again, since it was our first ever win," said Gredley. "He is such a pleasure to ride and go with to the shows. When you come here, the footing is great, and the atmosphere is good. It is a pleasure to ride in here."
The night kicked-off with five entries and wall set at 5-feet, 9-inches, but as the wall got higher the entries got lower. Although Charlie Jayne of Elgin, IL was able to clear the wall with Fly Away, he had a rail at the second fence that knocked him out during the first round. In the second round, when the wall's height increased to 6-fee, 3-inches, Hillary Simpson of Southern Pines, NC, had a rail at the triple bar as well as a block of the wall with Cantus D, owned by Quiet Hill Farm. Although Catherine Pasmore of Wellington, FL, was faultless in the second round aboard Zaragosa, she opted not to return, leaving two riders to battle it out.
Aaron Vale of Morriston, FL and Smartie were finalists during the Puissance at the Washington International Horse. They made it through the third round set at 6-feet, 9-inches, but as the wall rose to the height of 7-feet, the challenge became too great. The blocks came to the ground, and for the second week in a row and the second year in a row it was Gredley who came out on top with Unex Valente.
"He's a small horse," explained Vale. "Last week he went really well until the final round, and then he kind of hesitated off the ground and kind of jumped right through it. I was trying to make sure that I got him off the ground in a positive manner. I think I got a little too much energy and a little too close to it, so he couldn't elevate quick enough. He gave me a great effort."
Although Gredley might try to break the record one year with Unex Valente, he felt tonight was not the night. "He has jumped so well," commented Gredley. "To be honest, last week he felt a bit better. He felt a little tighter today-maybe that's just from doing two weeks on the truck. For him, it's just kind of second nature to him now. All I have to do is find a nice stride with a little bit of pace, and he does all the work really. I felt it was better to leave it for the welfare of the horse tonight though. He's just done two weeks on the truck. He's a nice horse; I don't want to ruin him."
Dr. Pearse Lyons, Founder and President of Alltech concluded, "The Puissance for horses, last year someone said, 'Around here, it's basketball. It's the only thing that matters. When you do the Puissance, that's as close to Kentucky basketball as you get!'"
Source: Press release from Rebecca Walton for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International.
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