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Margie Engle claims the Champion title in the Saugerties $500,000 Grand Prix FEI CSI5*

Monday, 09 September 2019
CSI5* Saugerties 2019

Photo © HITS Engle and ROYCE soar to a first place finish in the Saugerties $500,000 Grand Prix FEI CSI5* at the HITS Championship in Saugerties, New York. Photo © HITS.


Press release from HITS Horse Shows



It was a beautiful day in the Heart of the Hudson Valley where international riders were welcomed into the Wilmington Trust Grand Prix Stadium for the annual Saugerties $500,000 Grand Prix FEI CSI5*. The HITS Championship features the richest weekend in show jumping competition with FEI CSI5* competition drawing top riders from across the country and around the world to compete for great prize money. The show grounds were bustling under the clear blue sky as 39 of the sport's top riders challenged a course designed by Marina Azevedo of Campinas, Brazil.

Riders were in the hunt for the lion's share of prize money in this unprecedented class, one of the few FEI CSI5* events in America. It seemed like Deja vu at the end of the first round with only two riders clean, including Margie Engle who placed second in the Saugerties $500,000 Grand Prix last year as just one of two in the jump-off. Amanda Derbyshire would be her competition in this year's jump-off  as the two went head-to-head against the clock for the title.

Course designer Marina Azevedo built the course in both 2018 and 2019 and was pleased with the results. "The horses have been jumping amazing and there were about ten 4-Fault scores from the first round today. I was expecting four or five clear rounds, but at the end I think it was a nice course and I am happy with it," Azevedo said.

Derbyshire and Engle were set to return in the original posted order with Derbyshire leading the way with a double clear round aboard Cornwall BH in a time of 44.50 resulting in her second place finish. "I knew I had to play it a little smart and I knew Margie [Engle] would be faster than me, so I just went for a medium clear," commented Derbyshire. "I am delighted to have jumped-off with her [Engle] in five star competition.

It was a last minute decision for Derbyshire to make the trip to Saugerties for the FEI CSI5* competition, but an opportunity she couldn't resist. "He [Cornwall BH] jumped so well last week, but I was unlucky in the Grand Prix. While he was going so well I thought I would come and give it another shot and I am grateful that I did," Derbyshire said.

Next to return for the jump-off and taking home the victory was Engle and her long-time partner Royce. It was a sweet victory as they produced a clear round in 39.91. "I was having flashbacks of what I did last year when I over did it and tried to go too fast," Margie laughed. "I got very lucky in the first round where I overdid the six," Engle continued recounting her ride to the last fence in the first round where a hard rubbed bounced a rail out of the cups, but it landed right back in place. "I watched everyone have the last jump down and I over steadied. He's [Royce] riding so nice and he came way back to me but rubbed that pretty good."

Engle, a supporter of HITS since its inception in Gainesville, Florida in 1982, came back from Europe this year specifically to show in the Saugerties $500,000 Grand Prix FEI CSI5*. "Tom [Struzzieri] put on one of the first big money classes in our country and I keep coming back each year for this show. It's nice to have a [FEI CSI5*] in our country and I think it's important to support the horse shows that are in our country, especially the few [FEI CSI5*] and Tom has done a great job with it," Engle added.

Rounding out the top three was Brian Moggre and MTM Vivre Le Reve with a four fault score in the first round. A rail at the last fence in the first round would keep Moggre from returning to the jump-off, but a fast time would secure third for the young rider. "It's great that my horse is naturally quick and that I tend to be a pretty fast rider, which can help me a times or it can hurt me. Today it seemed to help me," Moggre explained. "The last line was pretty difficult and I probably could have done six. I went for the five and it didn't work out for me, but I am still over the moon with my result," he said. "It's really a great feeling to go in with such great company and to do so well. I am really pleased with him."

Moggre has been a supporter of HITS, traveling to the different venues including HITS Ocala and HITS Chicago, and of course, HITS Saugerties here at HITS-on-the-Hudson. This is Moggre's first year jumping at the 5* level!

Struzzieri, President and CEO of HITS, had glowing congratulations for this year’s top finishers.  “I loved to see Margie win. She's been coming to my horse shows for quite some time," said Tom Struzzieri, President and CEO of HITS. "It was a good group of riders and it was nice to see some of the younger riders like Brian stepping up and being competitive as well.  That shows lots of promise for our sport in the future,” he continued.  “I think Marina did a great job with the course, and I am really looking forward to next year’s class."

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