Ocala, Florida – Canada’s Francois Lamontagne won the $30,000 Ocala Horse Properties LLC Grand Prix, Presented by Brook Ledge, Inc., held Sunday, April 4, at the fifth annual Ocala Jumping Classic in Ocala, FL. Lamontagne of St-Eustache, QC, was the third and final rider to join the jump-off from a starting field of 26 entries. Riding Paparazzi, Aaron Vale of Morristown, FL, opened the jump-off with a scorching fast round in a time of 38.09 seconds but paid the price with a rail at the final obstacle, a double combination set by course designer Mauricio Garcia.
Michael Kirby of Madison, CT, was next to take up the jump-off challenge riding KT Undercover and although he opted for a more conservative approach, his hopes for victory ended with a fallen rail. Last to go, Lamontagne was clear to claim the win, and $9,000 in prize money, riding Anton, his 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding by Lux Z.
“I had the advantage of being last,” said Lamontagne, 26. “I know Aaron Vale is always fast and hard to beat, but then he had one down in the jump-off. Michael went slow, but he had a rail. Normally, I always go fast in the jump-off and have a rail, so this time I decided to play it safe. I jumped clear and I won.”
Together, Lamontagne and Anton won the eastern division of the Jump Canada Talent Squad Series in 2008. This winter, they successfully competed at the grand prix level at the HITS Ocala circuit before taking a two-week break and returning to competition at the Ocala Jumping Classic, produced by Hayes Co.
“I have had Anton for two and a half years, and we are starting to really know each other and become very competitive,” said Lamontagne. “He’s a clever horse, and very sweet. He is like a toy, like a Barbie horse; he has a head like an Arabian and four white socks. He is a really nice, really gentle horse.”
This year’s Ocala Jumping Classic was held at a new venue, the training center of New Zealand Olympian Sharn Wordley.
“The show grounds were very nice, and the ring had really, really good footing,” said Lamontagne. “It was a very friendly show and since there is only ring, everyone is together and you can talk.”
More than $70,000 in prize money was awarded over the three-day Ocala Jumping Classic, where the grand prix ring featured all-weather Wordley Martin Equestrian footing. Vale and Paparazzi won Saturday’s $10,000 1.40m Modified Grand Prix while four-time Colombian Olympian Manuel Torres riding Chambacunero won the $10,000 1.40m competition presented by Brody Robertson Show Jumps. Another Colombian rider, Roberto Teran, sped to victory on Ferrari in the $5,000 1.30m Modified Grand Prix, Presented by Wordley Martin Equestrian LLC, while Fernando Cardenas riding Quincy Car won the $5,000 1.20m Classic.
“We would like to thank all of the exhibitors, and the great team that works for Hayes Co., who helped make the fifth annual Ocala Jumping Classic a great event, and give special thanks to Sharn Wordley and Beth Goodwin for allowing us to run the show at their facility,” said Ainsley Hayes, Manager of the Ocala Jumping Classic. “It was a great weekend, and we were especially lucky to have perfect weather after a long, cold winter.”
Hayes Co. wishes to acknowledge the generous support of the Ocala Jumping Classic sponsors including Archer Farms, Brody Robertson Show Jumps, Brook Ledge Inc., Equine Waste Recycling, ESI Photography, Golden Hills Golf & Turf Club, Grand Prix/Frantisi, Judy’s Tack Shop, Kimberden, Ocala Horse Properties LLC, Omega Alpha, Point Two, Stalls Etc., The Sanctuary, Waterworks, Wild Horses and Wordley Martin Equestrian LLC.
For more information on the fifth annual Ocala Jumping Classic, please visit www.hayesco.ca, or contact Ainsley Hayes at e-mail: email@example.com or cell: (416) 846-8419. Hayes Co. also manages the two-week National Capital Show Jumping Tournament in Ottawa, ON, from August 11-15 and 18-22, 2010.
$30,000 Ocala Horse Properties LLC Grand Prix, Presented by Brook Ledge, Inc.
1. Francois Lamontagne Anton 0:0 43.45
2. Aaron Vale Paparazzi 0:4 38.09
3. Michael Kirby KT Undercover 0:4 45.94
4. Manuel Torres Chambacunero 4
5. Scott Lenkart Impulsive 4
6. Lauren Hunkin Larry 0146 4
7. Roberto Teran Feature Attraction 3E 4
8. Scott Lenkart UN Prince 4
9. Laura Linback As di Villagana 4
10. Willie Tinan Cartier van Schuttersheff 4
PHOTO: Canada’s Francois Lamontagne riding Anton won the $30,000 Ocala Horse Properties LLC Grand Prix, Presented by Brook Ledge, Inc., on Sunday, April 4, at the Ocala Jumping Classic in Ocala, FL.Photo credits – ESI Photography