Bridgehampton, NY - Sept. 1, 2012 - Heather Caristo won the $20,000 SHF Enterprise 5-Year-Old East Coast Young Jumper Championship and Jeffery Welles won the $30,000 Split Rock Farm 6-Year-Old East Coast Young Jumper Championship on Saturday morning in the Grand Prix Ring at the 37th Annual Hampton Classic Horse Show.
Caristo, of Saugerties, N.Y., rode Chabalouba Sun to a faultless jump-off round in 34.69 seconds to defeat Santos Lamarca on Chester VDL, the only other pair in the five-horse jump-off to finish faultlessly (37.75 seconds). Lacy Morrone-Cramer finished with the fastest jump-off time (34.49 seconds), but Quintas Fabius dislodged one rail in the jump-off.
Welles, of Pound Ridge, N.Y., and Bilion finished faultlessly in 34.26 seconds to defeat Mario Deslauriers on Scout De La Cense (0/35.65) and Schuyler Riley on Dobra De Porceyo (0/37.68) in the seven-horse jump-off. The other four horses each lowered one fence.
“He’s really a big, gangly baby,” said Caristo, 33, of Chabalouba Sun. “I was very pleased with how well he handled this impressive, spooky ring—just going through the gate can be intimidating! But we have a real rapport, so he trusts me when I tell him it’s OK.” Caristo said that she “absolutely” went in the ring planning to win the jump-off. “I kept telling him all week that this was his time to shine,” she said.
Caristo and her parents, Ralph and Holly Caristo, saw Chabalouba Sun at a show in Belgium as a 4-year-old and decided immediately to buy him. “We’re going to keep him and try to go on with him. He’s still a baby learning to grow up, but so far he’s lived up to all the promise that he has,” she said.
Welles, 50, was the final starter in the 6-year-old jump-off, so the two-time winner of the $250,000 FTI Grand Prix knew what he had to do to best Deslauriers, also an international veteran. “I watched Mario’s round, and I knew that his horse is a bit slower across the ground than mine, so I thought I could beat him if I stayed fast and smooth. And then I made a tighter turn from fence 1 to fence 2 than he did,” said Welles. Bilion won the 5-year-old championship at the Hampton Classic in 2011.
Welles and co-owners Sharon Gunthel and Gareth Gair found Bilion in the Netherlands at age 4. “We thought we had to have him. He’s careful, he’s scopey, and he’s fast, and he likes to clear the jumps,” said Welles. “Anything can happen as he grows up, but he suits me really well, and I think he’s just a super horse.”
The 37th annual Hampton Classic Horse Show runs through Sunday, Sept. 2, and features world-class show jumping competition, as well as magnificent shopping and a variety of entertainment attractions. The Classic features six show rings with more than 100 classes of competition for horses and riders of all ages. A wide range of jumper, hunter, equitation, short stirrup and leadline classes are all part of the Classic’s schedule, as well as competitions for riders with disabilities.
The highlight of the Hampton Classic is the $250,000 FTI Grand Prix and FEI World Cup™ Qualifier on Sunday, September 2. The Grand Prix, open to horses that successfully complete Friday's $50,000 Spy Coast Farm/Young Horse Show Series Grand Prix Qualifier, features Olympians, World Champions and other show jumping veterans such as defending champion and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist McLain Ward. This year, the Grand Prix is part of the new Taylor Harris Triple Crown Challenge which awards a $200,000 bonus should the same horse-and-rider combination win the $100,000 Wells Fargo Grand Prix of Devon, $250,000 FTI Grand Prix at the Hampton Classic, and $250,000 Alltech Grand Prix at the Alltech National Horse Show. Ward won the Wells Fargo Grand Prix of Devon on Antares F in May and now stands to win the $200,000 bonus should he ride Antares F to wins in the remaining two events in the Taylor Harris Triple Crown Challenge.
For those who can’t make it to the show grounds, WVVH-TV, the official Long Island television station of the Hampton Classic, broadcasts up to five hours of competition and highlights each day during the Classic. These broadcasts can also be seen on line at www.wvvh.tv.
All classes held in the Grand Prix Ring will also be available live throughout the horse show on webcasts provided by ShowNet. Access to this pay-per-view stream may be found on the Hampton Classic website at www.HamptonClassic.com, or via ShowNet membership at www.ShowNet.biz. In addition, most of the Classic’s jumper and hunter classes from all other rings will also be available, many live, through ShowNet at www.ShowNet.biz.
Two additional outlets, the USEF Network.com, Presented by SmartPak, and HRTV, The Network for Horse Sports, will both offer free live webcasts of the Classic’s featured event, the $250,000 FTI Grand Prix and FEI World Cup™ Qualifier on Sunday, September 2 starting at 2:00 p.m. EDT. These free live webcasts are available at www.USEFNetwork.com and www.HRTV.com.
Further information on the Hampton Classic Horse Show is available at the Hampton Classic website at www.HamptonClassic.com or by calling 631-537-3177. Hampton Classic Horse Show, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation.
Photo: Heather Caristo and Chabalouba Sun won the $20,000 SHF Enterprise 5-Year-Old Jumper Championship at the Hampton Classic Horse Show. ESI Photo.