Lexington, KY - May 20, 2011 -The sun was brightly shining as the exciting jumper action in the Rolex Stadium continued today at the Kentucky Spring Classic, held at the picturesque Kentucky Horse Park. Double H Farm proved to be a dominating force today, taking home two blue ribbons with mounts winning the 1.45m Open Jumper class and the High Junior/Amateur Owner Jumper class. Quentin Judge piloted HH Sandor to victory in the 1.45m Open Jumper class for the second time this week, while junior rider Christina Kelly took home the winning title with HH Narcos Du Marais in the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers.
For both events, riders showed over a technical course designed by Richard Jeffery of Bournemouth, England. The first round included 14 jumping efforts, which featured an open water option, a liverpool, and two double combinations. For the jump-off, riders showed over a new oxer followed by a tight turn to a single vertical, before galloping over a large oxer to a vertical-oxer double combination Finally, they turned to a single vertical and galloped home over the final oxer.
The 1.45m Open Jumper class kicked off just before noon, and there were eight riders that managed to successfully complete the first round and advance to the short course. During the jump-off, only three entries left all the rails in place to finish with a perfect effort.
The first rider to leave all the fences intact was Alejando Karolyi with Vichy. The duo easily galloped over each obstacle and stopped the clock at 37.369 seconds, which would hold up for second. Quentin Judge had his aim on a second blue ribbon for the week with HH Sandor, and he pushed his horse quickly across the track. They were able to best Karolyi's time after breaking the beam at 35.125, which would be good enough for the winning prize. Elizabeth Bates tried to catch Judge's effort aboard Marvelous 6, but her clear effort was too slow as they tripped the timers at 38.593 seconds for third.
"The first round was good," commented Judge. "It was a tough enough course, there weren't too many clear. I was a little bit careful and made sure that I set him up as well as I could. He jumped great. During the jump-off, there was an inside turn from one to two, and then back after the double. There had been only one double clear and they weren't super fast, so I decided to risk a little bit and go around to fence two and just go fast. He was really good. I saw a really nice flowing distance there. I did the inside turn after the double, which was a little bit dicey, but he did it well."
Later this week, Judge will show HH Sandor in the $20,000 Bluegrass Classic, and tomorrow he will compete with HH Calvano in the $55,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix. "It's been a great horse show and they have been putting on a good competition," he said.
The next event in the Rolex Stadium was the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers, where Double H Farm continued their winning ways. This time, only seven riders mastered the first round track, but four of those competitors were able to mach that effort with double clear rounds.
Paige Johnson set the standard aboard La Martinee. She left all the rails in place over the shortened course and stopped the clock at 36.130 seconds, which would eventually place second. Eight rounds later, Christina Kelly stepped into the ring with last week's winner, HH Narcos Du Marais. The duo wanted another win, and they got it after besting Johnson's time in the jump-off by almost four seconds, blazing through the finish in 32.457 seconds.
Quentin Judge has worked closely with Kelly and the talented mount throughout the year. "I thought Narcos was perfect," he noted. "Every time that horse goes in the ring, he's always tries to win. He's so solid; he was champion last week after winning the same class. He had an unlucky rail in the jump-off, but would have won that otherwise. He's a great horse."
Judge added, "Christina is great. There are very few professionals that ride as well as she does, let alone juniors. She's a pleasure to work with. She's so nice and she loves the horses, she genuinely happy every time she wins, and she's a great kid."
Nicole Bellissimo and Hotspur 23 were also able to complete the jump-off track without fault, but their time of 36.495 seconds fell just short of Johnson's posted time, and would only be good enough for third. Chloe Reid completed the most conservative short course with Toulon, breaking the beam at 39.104 seconds, which held up for fourth.
Double H Farm had a very successful day, and Judge has been thrilled with all of the horses. "It has been great here the whole week. Even when the weather was bad, the footing was excellent. The courses have been good. They've had good competition throughout both weeks with good jump-offs, and it has been a great show for us."
The Kentucky Spring Classic will continue tomorrow with the week's feature event, the $55,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix. The exciting class will be held at the Rolex Stadium beginning at 6:00 p.m. On Sunday, competition will wrap-up with the $20,000 Bluegrass Classic.
For more information about the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com
Photo Credit: Christina Kelly and HH Narcos Du Marais were victorious in the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers at the Kentucky Spring Classic. Photo By: Rebecca Walton/PMG.