Lexington, KY - July 31, 2011 - Sunny skies and warm temperatures returned to the Kentucky Horse Park for this evening's $40,000 Kentucky Summer Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington. The nation's top horse and rider combinations gathered at the Rolex Stadium during the Kentucky Summer Horse Show to compete for the winning title. At the end of the night, it was Germany's Christian Heineking and River of Dreams who led the victory gallop after an excellent double clear effort. Karen Cudmore and Southern Pride followed with the second place honors, while Rebecca Conway and Twister took home the third place award with the only other two fault-free jump-off rounds.
Richard Jeffery of Bournemouth, England, designed tonight's technical track, which tested riders with an open water, a triple bar, a vertical-oxer double combination, and an oxer-vertical-oxer triple combination. Only four horses were able to complete the first round without fault and advance to the short course. The jump-off began over a single vertical with a right turn to a single oxer, followed by the first two obstacles in the triple combinations. Riders then galloped to a single oxer followed by a sharp right rollback to a single vertical and the first part of the double combination, before galloping towards the gate over the last wide oxer.
Tonight's winning rider, Christian Heineking, said, "I thought it was a nice course, not too difficult. For the group of people it was just right, and it showed with four people in the jump-off."
Karen Cudmore was the first to attempt today's short course aboard Southern Pride, owned by Blair Cudmore of Omaha, NE, and they set the bar high. The duo clocked in at 40.203 seconds with all the rails in place, which would eventually earn the second place award. "It was a great jump off, a bit of a long once when you are in that ring, there was a lot of galloping," she said. "Since the combination was oxer-vertical, we had to gallop into that and try to save some time there. He rode according to plan and I was extremely happy with that."
Lauren Tisbo and Coco135, owned by Tequestrian Farms of Wellington, FL, raced to catch Cudmore's time, and they were able to do so, but their speed proved costly when they lowered the height of the last vertical. Their four-fault effort in a time of 40.109 seconds would be good enough for the fourth place honors. Rebecca Conway was next in the ring and she claimed the third place award aboard Twister, owned by Blue Hill Farm of Salt Lake City, UT. The duo chose to keep a conservative pace and leave all the fences intact, breaking the beam at 47.733 seconds.
The final rider on course proved to be the best of day. Christian Heineking knew that he would have to be fast and accurate with River of Dreams, owned by Kai Handt of Wylie, TX, and the talented gelding executed the plan beautifully. They kept a fast gallop to every obstacle without even the slightest of rubs. The pair dashed through the timers in 39.530 seconds to jump to the top of the leaderboard and lead the evening's victory gallop.
"During the jump-off my plan was to go clean," explained Heineking. "After the combination I was able to get a nice gallop to the oxer, and I made a sharp turn to the wall. River of Dreams just needs a nice ride. He has his own blood and he really wants to do it. I showed him on Thursday and in a small class yesterday, because he had a little break and wasn't loose yet. This was his first show in a few weeks."
Heineking has been paired with the 14-year-old Oldenburg for three years and they have been very successful together. They competed in the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic on Thursday, and will continue competing in Kentucky next week, as well as during September's World Cup Qualifier. "It is really nice at the Kentucky Horse Park," he said." Usually the footing is very good, and the weather is a lot nicer than in Texas, even though it's very hot now."
Earlier in the day, Christina Kelly and Diamond Edge Farm's Camirage claimed the High Junior Jumper Classic victory in the Walnut Ring, while Paris Sellon of Los Angeles, CA, and Orlando L.A. won the High Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic. Chloe Field piloted Sara, owned by Hidden Brook Farm of Salt Point, NY, to the Low Junior Jumper Classic blue ribbon, and Kenzie Donovan of River Hills, WI, was victorious with Volarnah in the Low Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic.
Today marked the conclusion of the Kentucky Summer Horse Show, but the exciting hunter/jumper action will continue at the Kentucky Horse Park on Wednesday with the Kentucky Summer Classic. The week's highlight events include the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic and the $40,000 Rood & Riddle Grand Prix. The 2011 USEF Pony Finals will get underway August 9-14, followed by the Bluegrass Festival Classic and the KHJA Horse Show.
For more information about the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com/.
RESULTS: $40,000 Kentucky Summer Grand Prix
1 229 RIVER OF DREAMS CHRISTIAN HEINEKING 0 0 0 82.686 0 0 0 39.975
2 1233 SOUTHERN PRIDE KAREN CUDMORE 0 0 0 84.800 0 0 0 40.203
3 102 TWISTER REBECCA CONWAY 0 0 0 86.669 0 0 0 47.733
4 1235 COCO 135 LAUREN TISBO 0 0 0 77.973 4 0 4 40.109
5 1085 PJOTTER VAN DE ZONNEHOEVE MCLAIN WARD 4 0 4 77.595
6 34 CHIVAS Z ASHLEE BOND 4 0 4 78.452
7 1229 SHEA KAREN CUDMORE 4 0 4 80.004
8 523 SKARA GLEN'S BASEL SHAWN CASADY 4 0 4 81.630
9 1322 BULL RUN'S LA BAMBA KRISTEN VANDERVEEN 4 0 4 81.716
10 928 CLAUS ANGELA MOORE 4 0 4 82.385
11 1084 VOCAS MCLAIN WARD 4 0 4 84.373
12 1232 CEONTO KAREN CUDMORE 4 0 4 86.510
Photo Credit: Christian Heineking and River of Dreams won the $40,000 Kentucky Summer Grand Prix at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show. Photo By: Rebecca Walton/PMG.