Atlanta Fall Classics-Double the Money in Season Finale

Maurice Beatson and Daniel Geitner Each Take $25,000 in Prix Awards

Conyers, GA - World Equestrian Games competitor Maurice Beatson and his 10 year-old Belgian gelding Apollo Van Evendael are on an extended walk about from their homeland of New Zealand which lead to a victory in the $25,000 EMO Welcome Prix at the Georgia International Horse Park this week.

On Friday, the first of two big $25,000 show jumping events kicked off the final week of competition for the Atlanta Fall Classics with 32 horses from around the world. Maurice Beatson was visiting from New Zealand, by way of their trek south when he captured the top spot. A feat that Beatson was proud of given the relatively short partnership with his mount. “I've had him [Apollo] since February and I brought him over to America in the beginning of April. We've been campaigning him in California, Colorado, Kentucky, Cleveland, all around the countryside and now we're working our way down to Florida. He's been pretty good; we've placed in 18 out of 22 so I'm quite pleased with him.” Beatson complimented of his partner.

Course designer Allen Rheinheimer took full advantage of both the former Olympic arena’s massive size and the strong talent in the starting order of go to create an 86 second lengthy 13 fence layout which had a couple of troublesome spots. After crossing vertical #10 riders faced a tricky rollback to vertical #11 and then encountered a “L” turn-bending line into the combination of 12ABC [ oxer in to vertical and oxer out] , this caused more than a few to fault before reaching the final jump, a wide oxer. Ireland’s Darragh Kerins aboard the S & L Farms’ entry S& L Slingback were the first pair to successfully clear the course under the threat of a ticking clock with a time of 78.443. Beatson and Apollo followed and guaranteed a jump off round with their clear time of 78.545. “It was a good course to ride. Tougher than last week and the horses had to be on top today to jump it.” Beatson commented.

The course was technical enough that only five would advance to the jump off round, joining Beatson and Kerins was Hilton Head, SC based Josh Dolan with mount Skyland's Con Chino Z, Jack Hardin Towell of Camden, SC aboard the Zeidler Farm Canada Ltd entry I Va To Du Rouet, and Christina Jason of Aiken, SC piloting Vicky Miller's Tamino. With a time allowance of 45 seconds the shorten track of 8 obstacles was created from the very section of round one that dashed hopes of victory for many- fences 7 through 13 now required twice the skill at twice the speed to assure triumph. As the first to return, Kerins elected to ride cautious and clean while staying under the time limit with a finish of 43.322.  Beatson and Apollo wouldn't have the luxury of watching their competition and threw caution to the wind as they swept through the timers clean in 36.727. The remaining three gave it their all but when the dust settled it was a confirmed victory for Beatson and Apollo, who modestly said, “It just took a bit of jumping and you had to be on your game today.”

Top Five Results for $25,000 EMO Welcome Prix:
1st  Apollo Van Evendael with owner-rider Maurice Beatson 0 in 36.727
2nd S & L Slingback with Darragh Kerins for owner S & L Farms 0 in 43.322
3rd Tamino with Christina Jason for owner Vicky Miller 4 in 34.772
4th Skyland's Con Chino Z with owner-rider Josh Dolan 4 in 39.603
5th I Va To Du Rouet with Jack Hardin Towell for owner Zeidler Farm 74.981

Earlier on Friday the Main Hunter ring was the center of attention with the USHJA National Hunter Classic and 21 talented horses vying for title of Champion. Joe Carnicone had designing honors and did not disappoint with a intricate layout of 11 first round fences offering four options to riders looking to score bonus points. At the close of the first round Megan Edrick of Ocala, FL held the lead with Van Guard, an entry owned by Donald Stewart. Aiken, SC based Christina Jason and Bailey's Irish, owned by Christina Vozza, returned for the 10 fence-4 option Handy Round a mere 2 points off the leader and proceeded to turn in a stellar performance that put the pair in the top position.

Official Results for the USHJA National Hunter Classic:

1st  Bailey's Irish with Christina Jason for owner Christina Vozza
2nd  On A Whim with Daniel Berrio for owner Morgan Clark
3rd  Van Guard with Megan Edrick for owner Donald Stewart
4th  Fern Gully with Megan Edrick for owner Donald Stewart
5th  Timeless with Emma Kennedy for owner Nikki Diamantis
6th  Sports Talk with Megan Edrick for owner Archibald Cox
7th  North C with owner-rider Jamie Steinhaus
8th  Sylvester with owner-rider Meghan Flanagan
9th  Ferragamo's Feature with John Abbott for owner Jenna Weiner
10th Nathan with Robert Hunt for owner Lisa Morrison
11th Insignia II with Jenna Santi for owner Tullamore Farms, LLC
12th Gandhi with Lincoln Russell for owner Richard Kosa

Saturday evening spectators gathered in the covered arena to witness the National Classic Equitation Finals, presented by Equestrian Travel. Open to riders who competed in an “NCE” class during the 2010 season. Spanning eight divisions- Short Stirrup to 3'6 Adults-qualifying rounds were held on Friday to determine the top six competitors for each section. The prize of Letterman jackets to both the winning rider and their trainer has long made this a very competitive event over the years.

2010 National Classic Equitation Results:
Short Stirrup Hunter- Tune in for Details with Ashlen Rowe for owner Ariel Fowler
Pre Child/Adult Hunter- Anthem of the Sun with owner/rider Emily Drewry
Pony Hunter- Sugar Ray with owner/rider Rebecca Warth
Children's Hunter- Peter Pan with Ali Rose Condo for owner Terry Russell
Adult Hunter- Bling Bling with owner/rider Sarah Ward
Junior Hunter- Massimo with owner/rider Chasen Boggio

Sunday morning kicked off the NHJL Finals and some nice paychecks, up first were the Junior and Amateur Owner Jumpers vying for the top spot in the $10,000 Classic. After round one it was down to five contenders, but when the dust settled Alpharetta, GA resident Frances Land and mount Merlin clinched the victory.

Top Five Placings in the $10,000 NHJL Junior-Amateur Owner Jumper Classic
1st Merlin with owner/rider Frances Land
2nd Jumbo Jet with Kitt Ritter for owner Ann Ritter
3rd Madagascar with Bryn Sadler for owner Showcase 81, LLC
4th Calisto with owner/rider Jordan Coyne
5th Black Diamond with Courtney Starring for owner Starring Equine, LLC

Next up were the Children and Adult Jumpers chasing after the $10,000 purse in their NHJL Jumper Classic. Thirty five determined competitors crossed through the in gate for the first course, but only a dozen moved on to the finale round. Less than 20 minutes later Diane Binswanger of Wayne, PA and her brilliant chestnut Clarissa Z lead the victory lap.

Top Five Placings in the $10,000 NHJL Child-Adult Jumper Classic
1st Clarissa Z with owner/rider Diane Binswanger
2nd Wendel We Go with Rodney Harkey for owners Nicola Buckingham & Robert Hunt
3rd Frivole des Pres with owner/rider Natalya Jarczyk
4th Nyteri with owner/rider Heather Crespo
5th Mi Amour with Amanda Holstein for owner Gem Stables, Inc

The Grande Finis for the Atlanta Fall Classic was the $25,000 NHJL Grand Prix presented by EMO Insurance which spotlighted 28 competitors from around the globe. Allen Rheinheimer created another technical 16 effort layout of turns and combinations with a time allowance of 98 seconds. “It rode nice but you had to be on your game!” today’s victor Daniel Geitner of Aiken, SC began, “the hardest line was the last one, you jumped fence 11 right by the in gate and they [ the horses] thought they were done, but then you turned to the triple line. It was a five and half [strides] into the triple, you needed to jump #12 with a momentum that would get them back in 6 [strides] plus then get them forward to the triple [13ABC]. Definitely the hardest part of the course.” Yet the 11 year-old Rheinland mare, Sympa, owned by Charles Bostwick had no trouble landing a clear round in 89.872. Geitner was the seventh of only nine who would make it into the jump off round. “I’m glad we had plenty clean to make for a nice jump off. This course had some of the lines on half stride so it was a little more of a rider’s course.” Geitner said.   

Rheinheimer’s jump off round of 7 obstacles in under 42 seconds was according to Geitner “won early on, because from the very end was #7, 8, to 16 [fences] and they were 6 strides and you couldn’t do anything else. It started 4A to 5 and then over the mound and that’s where you won it. From #5 over the mound you just had to be quick there.” Geitner then made a confession of sorts, “There was a little shrub there [at the mound] that I actually jumped over! I didn’t mean to, but she turned so sharp that she jumped over the shrub and I’m convinced that’s how we did it! [laughter followed] She was just fabulous there and she’s so fast across the ground.” An unorthodox method maybe, but the results were a clean time of 34.897 and a huge win for the mare. It was a delight to reminisce with Geitner over the early years with Sympa when many suggested strongly he should give up on the head strong mare, “I admit she was a little tough to start, but she had tons of talent. She’s a fighter, she wants to win. You steer and let her do it her own way, she may fight a little but her technique is spectacular!”  Given the mare’s growing record of victories, it’s safe to say Geitner has earned the right to a friendly jab of “I told you so!”    

Official Top Five Results for the $25,000 NHJL Grand Prix:
1st Sympa with Daniel Geitner for owner Charles Bostwick 0 in 34.897
2nd Cincinnati with Vicky Miller for owner Showcase 81, LLC 0 in 35.880
3rd Nepal with Taylor Land for owner Kim & Jay Land 0 in 36.268
4th Lucky One with Vick Russell for owner Lillian Hahn 0 in 37.347
5th Hennessey with owner/rider Chasen Boggio 0 in 37.771

Week Two of the Atlanta Fall Classics also saw the Classic Company Year End Awards handed out. “It was a perfect two weeks-weather, talent, and great Holiday kick off with friends. Just the best way to end our season!” Bob Bell concluded.

For complete results of the Atlanta Fall Classics and all the Year End Winners please visit or . Early reservations for both the Jacksonville and Gulf Coast Winter Series can be phoned into the office at 843-768-5503.

Photo Credit: Maurice Beatson & Apollo Van Evendael, Daniel Geitner & Sympa ©Flashpoint Photography