Wellington, FL - David Blake of Wellington, FL, and Binkie, owned by Pine Hollow Farm, finished atop the leaderboard in the $30,000 Noble Outfitters Grand Prix at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), finishing the jump-off in 40.653 seconds.
Andrew Ramsay of San Francisco, CA, and Winn Winn collected second place, crossing through the timers just four-hundredths off the winning pace with a time of 40.699 seconds. Benjamin Meredith of Wellington, FL, and Anabelle 28 earned third place finishing in 42.273 seconds.
Competition at PBIEC resumes Wednesday, April 20, with the start of ESP Spring III, which will conclude on Sunday, April 24.
The class boasted 44 starters who tested the first round track set by Ken Krome (USA), with sixteen entries moving forward to the jump-off round. Only the top three finishing combinations earned a double clear effort on afternoon, while Blake and Binkie collected their first grand prix win of the 2016 season.
Blake and Binkie, a 2006 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Larino x Whisper B) finished a stellar 2015 season, capturing numerous wins at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) throughout their summer and fall campaign. The duo used a softer schedule during the winter circuit to prepare Binkie for another strong summer season.
"We're using this spring season to get him up and running a bit more. The big aim for him will be this summer in Tryon again. He was very good there and hopefully we can have a repeat performance," said Blake. "We'll be riding there the whole summer and I'm looking forward it. He enjoys it there and always seems to do very well."
The duo's set order in the jump-off proved to be a crucial component of their success, as they were the final combination to test the short course. Blake noted that Binkie's large stride helped to cut time in several areas where leaving a stride out would be beneficial.
"When I walked it, I thought the first round seemed very nice and there were a lot of good lines. I had to make sure that I kept him moving throughout though because of the time allowed," he explained. "I stuck to the plan and he went very well. There were a lot of clears and I knew that there would be some pressure in the jump-off."
After analyzing in the jump-off track, Blake felt that with his position in the order, he could either ride conservatively for a respectable finish or push for the win.
He stated, "Normally, I would have to take a different approach to the jump-off with him, especially when there's a good number of people in it, but we got lucky with a good draw today. There were two choices, either play it safe and finish somewhere around fourth place, or go for it with the win. There were a few stretches of good gallop in the course and it suited him very well."
Blake and the Pine Hollow Farm team will head back to TIEC at the conclusion of the fall circuit, and Blake is looking forward competing a string of talented young horses coming up behind Binkie.
"We have three really nice horses that are about to move up to the FEI level and a new horse who we're hoping will be able to back Binkie up nicely with the ranking classes this summer. It's a great learning experience for them and Binkie will have a great supporting cast behind him looking towards the bigger events," elaborated Blake.
For more information on PBIEC and to see a full list of weekly results, please visit www.pbiec.com.
Final Results $30,000 Noble Outfitters Grand Prix
1. BINKIE, DAVID BLAKE, Pine Hollow Farm: 0/0/40.653
2. WINN WINN, ANDREW RAMSAY, The Winn Winn Group: 0/0/40.699
3. ANABELLE 28, BENJAMIN MEREDTH, Shader Sporthorses LLC: 0/0/42.273
4. ORIENTALES, SIMA MORGELLO, Double S Farm LLC: 0/4/40.089
5. COCQ A DOODLE, ANDREW RAMSAY, The Doodle Group: 0/4/41.849
6. BRINDIS BOGIBO, ANDREW WELLES, AEM Enterprises: 0/4/42.531
7. CORTINA, CHRIS EWANKOUSKI, Rosiano Farm: 0/4/44.014
8. CONTIKI, NICHOLAS DELLO JOIO, Coker Farm Inc: 0/4/45.299
9. RAINO DU JARDIN, SABISCHY HASSLER, Luis Fernando Muro: 0/4/52.558
10. BIJOUX, DIEGO VIVERO, Javier Estrada: 0/8/41.149
11. VERNAL, MOLLY ASHE-CAWLEY, Katie Kohlhas: 0/8/43.204
12. I AM NALA, TODD MINIKUS, Two Swans Farm: 0/8/45.546