Del Mar, CA - Truly a race up until the last ride, the $40,000 Racing Festival Grand Prix, presented by Equestrian Almanac, kept everyone on the edge of their seats. In the end, the talented Ashlee Bond and Little Valley Farms' Cornancer earned the mare's first Grand Prix win against a field of talented competitors.
International FEI course designer Anderson Lima of Mexico set a precise course that tested both the horses and riders. With three double combinations instead of a triple, the time proved possible, but rails continued to drop for many of the competitors, veterans and up-and-coming riders alike. "It's a challenge for them," Lima said of the course. "In every little place... it's a Grand Prix."
There were 35 entries for the class, and the first in the ring, Felipo Godinho aboard Sergio Nieto's Google, posted the first clear of the class. All of the combinations, two one-strides and one two-stride, proved the most problematic. Last week's Markel Insurance Grand Prix winner, Lane Clarke and Brooklane Farms' Semira de Saulieu, Ashlee Bond and her second mount of the class, veteran partner Agro Star (owned by Little Valley Farms), and successful pair Josephina Nor Lantzman and her own Chello Z, each ended the first round with faults.
Eight combinations made it to the jump-off. The pressure ratcheted up after Godinho and Google had a rail at the substantial oxer at fence 15, a new element introduced in the jump-off. The second to go, Michelle Rodal on Morgan Hill Partners' Albert II, posted the first double clear, with a time of 44.50 seconds. The lead switched again, as Keri Potter and Paloma (owned by Melanie Brooks) posted the fastest double clear round in 40.67.
Last to go, the daring Ashlee Bond aboard Cornancer, went for the win. The crowd held their breath as the horse paused going into the last combination, then cheered as they left all the rails in the cups in a blazing 39.56 seconds.
Bond was ecstatic. "I haven't felt this good all week!" she exclaimed. "I had an unlucky day on Friday, and then a little bit of the same today, having the last jump down on Agro." Bond has had nine-year-old Cornancer, whose barn name is Princess, for two years, and the mare has really stepped up her game. Spooky yet very careful, the mare has all the scope to make it to the highest levels of show jumping. "I didn't want to rush her," said Bond. "Today was the first time I decided to really go for it in the jump-off."
Next week's Showpark August Festival includes a $7,500 CashCall Mortgage U25 Qualifier, a $10,000 1.35m Jumper Classic and the $25,000 Markel Insurance Grand Prix, starting at 2:30pm on Saturday, August 1st.
For more information visit www.showpark.com
$40,000 Racing Festival Grand Prix, presented by Equestrian Almanac
Place - Entry Number - Horse - Rider - Owner - Faults/Time
1. 132 - Cornancer - Ashlee Bond - Little Valley Farms - 0/0/39.560
2. 267 - Paloma - Keri Potter - Melanie Brooks - 0/0/40.672
3. 847 - Albert II - Michelle Rodal - Morgan Hill Partners - 0/0/44.502
4. 241 - Ziedento - Susan Hutchison - St. Bride's Farm - 0/4/40.056
5. 825 - Utopia - John Perez - John Perez - 0/4/41.486
6. 914 - Pacifico - Eduardo Sanchez Navarro - Eduardo Sanchez Navarro - 0/4/41.970
7. 741 - Google - Felipo Godinho - Sergio Nieto - 0/4/42.701
8. 742 - Lorein - Felipo Godinho - Sergio Nieto - 0/4/46.531
9. 694 - Bartender - Alejandro Mills - Armando Acevedo - 4/78.235
10. 165 - Wan Architect - Francie Steinwedell-Carvin - Brenda Riddell - 4/79.686
11. 527 - Christian Grey - Tiffany Sullivan - Haley Farms, LLC - 4/80.353
12. 130 - Agro Star - Ashlee Bond - Little Valley Farms - 4/80.952