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Andrew Ramsay holds early lead to win $35,000 Don Little Memorial Welcome Stake at American Gold Cup

Friday, 15 September 2017
CSI4*-W American Gold Cup 2017

Photo (c) The Book LLC. Andrew Ramsay and Cocq A Doodle. Photo (c) The Book LLC.

The second day of the American Gold Cup highlighted the CSI4* $35,000 Don Little Memorial Welcome Stake to conclude Thursday's competition on the Grand Prix Field at Old Salem Farm.

The speed class tested top equestrian athletes over Alan Wade's 12-obstacle course set at 1.45m in height. Sixth in the ring out of 66 horse-and-athlete combinations, Andrew Ramsay (USA) maintained his quick, clear effort in 61.41 seconds to hold the lead throughout the entirety of the class with The Doodle Group's Cocq A Doodle (Tolan R x Niagara).

The 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood was the first of Ramsay's three rides including Stranger 30 and California 62, but the young mare produced his only clear round for their first American Gold Cup performance.

Fresh off of Wednesday's success in the $8,000 Douglas Elliman 1.40m Jumper CSI4*, Abigail McArdle (USA) again rode Plain Bay Sales' Chuck Berry 8 (Chacco-Blue x Watzmann) to a top placing, finishing second in a time of 62.63 seconds. McArdle, winner of the 2015 $35,000 Don Little Memorial Welcome Stake, and the 10-year-old Hannoverian gelding teamed up towards the end of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival and are consistently proving to be a winning partnership.

Jack Hardin Towell, Jr. (USA) rode the 11-year-old gelding New York (Verdi x Watzmann), owned by Evergate Stables LLC, to third place in a time of 63.55 seconds.

Adam Prudent (USA) and Ireland's Shane Sweetnam rode to identical times of 64.59 seconds to create a tie for fourth place. Prudent and Plain Bay Sales' Victorio 5 (Uccelo x Graf Top) were the early clear pathfinders of the class, just ahead of Ramsay in the order-of-go. Sweetnam was aboard The Blue Buckle Group LLC's Indra Van De Oude Heihoef  (Casandro x Action-Breaker).

"Cocq A Doodle came from Molly Ashe [Cawley] and we've had her just over a year and a half," explained Ramsay. "She's a fantastic mare and a blast to be on. She's 10 years old and eager as can be. We competed for the first time at Old Salem Farm in the spring and she really made the field her own. We came in to the American Gold Cup this week knowing that she was in a good place and it's a good field for her. She loves the field. She can gallop up and down on the grass, use her stride and go from a short turn to a full gallop in just one step. She's very quick on the throttle. It was our plan coming in with her today to be very competitive. We wanted to set up the other two for tomorrow and Sunday. She came out and did everything I hoped she would do. She really dug in there and was a blast to ride. Speed is her natural gear and it does work out on these big fields; inside it's more challenging. She jumps well out of pace. If I start trying to hold or ride the collect or add, she's just not comfortable with it. It works out well for these speed classes."

The $35,000 Don Little Memorial Welcome Stake is established in memory of legendary horseman Donald V. Little and has been featured at the American Gold Cup since 2013. An accomplished show jumper, fox hunter and polo player, Little pioneered the syndicated racehorse business in the early 1980s. The American Gold Cup's Donald V. Little memorial competition continues to support and promote his dedication to and passion for the sport.


Source: Press release from Phelps Media Group, Inc. // Picture © The Book LLC

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