Bridgehampton, NY—August 31, 2011— Aaron Vale of Morriston, FL, flew over the course to win the Pilatus Open Jumper class on the revised Opening Day of the 36th annual Hampton Classic Horse Show in Bridgehampton, NY on Wednesday. Vale bested the field of 34 riding Tibor, owned by Bonnie Smith, in a clear round time of 60.614 seconds. Two-time Olympic gold medalist McLain Ward of Brewster, NY, also went clear, but in a fractional slower time of 60.986 seconds on Pjotter Van De Zonnehoeve, owned by Louisburg Farm. Third went to Joe Fargis of Middleberg, VA and Lariat, owned by Sandron, in 62.014 seconds also going clear.
More than half of the riders were clear on the Guilherme Jorge designed course. Vale went somewhat early, 14th in the lineup, and managed stay on top of the leader board, which surprised Vale. “My horse Tibor is a fast, careful horse and he got around there pretty smoothly,” said Vale. “I just went at a safe speed and his natural quickness took care of the rest and no one else caught us.”
Vale almost did not compete in the 1.45 m class, but he is glad that he decided to ride. “I didn’t even know that I was entered in today’s class and I checked the order of go and I thought well there’s not too many horses in the class and the course looked like it might suit Tibor, so I had a feeling that it might be a good day for him.”
Earlier in the day Hillary Dobbs of Sussex, NJ, and Richie Moloney of Wellington, FL won the massive Wölffer Estate open jumper class, the first in the Grand Prix ring this year. Originally consisting of more than 100 competitors, the class was split with Dobbs winning Section A on Marengo, owned by The Dobbs Group, and Moloney winning section B on Quiloa, owned by Equinimity, LLC. Dobbs was the first winner in the Grand Prix ring and was amazed at the condition of the footing. “The field was great, they did a fantastic job,” said Dobbs. “It was like there was never even a hurricane here. The course was super and it really suited my horse. It was good to be back out on that grass field after some time off with knee surgery.”
This was the first win at the Hampton Classic for Moloney. “I’m very happy with my first win here,” said Moloney. “It’s great for the owners because it’s a local show for them, so it’s a big thing and a good start for the week. Hopefully we can keep it up.”
One of the most prestigious horse shows in the nation, the Hampton Classic managed to keep almost its entire competition schedule, albeit compressed from eight days into five. The Classic runs through Sunday, September 4 when it culminates with the $250,000 FTI Grand Prix and FEI World Cup Qualifier.
The Classic’s revised show schedule is available on line at the Hampton Classic website at www.hamptonclassic.com. The Classic is also providing frequent updates on its Facebook page.
For those who can’t make it to the show grounds, WVVH-TV, the official Long Island television station of the Hampton Classic, broadcasts up to five hours of competition and highlights each day during the Classic. These broadcasts can also be seen online at www.wvvh.tv.
Photo: Aaron Vale of Morriston, FL, flew over the course to win the Pilatus Open Jumper class.