Halifax, MA - Day four of the Silver Oak Jumper Tournament at Fieldstone Show Park in Halifax, Massachusetts once again continued its streak of beautiful weather with the schedule offering a day full of Classics for the Masters, Junior/Amateurs, 6-Year-Old, 7-Year-Old and 8-Year-Old divisions in the Unicorn Landing Grand Prix field. At the end of the Friday's events, riders were treated to a world-class barbecue and the opportunity to participate in the first ever Silver Oak Jumper Tournament Volleyball Championship held between farms and friends in teams of six. Exhibitors were still talking about the wonderful hospitality of the show management staff this morning - not to mention still recovering from the intense volleyball competition as they geared up for today's busy show schedule.
The Grand Prix field kicked off the day at 8:00 a.m. with the highlight of the morning being the $4,000 NAL Low Junior/Amateur Classic 1.20m-1.25m and the $6,000 SJHOF High Junior/Amateur Classic 1.35m (both Table II 2b).
The Low Junior/Amateur Classic had 42 starters and saw only 10 go clear to jump again.
The very last pair to enter the ring was Francesca Bolfo and U2, trained by Chris Kappler, who ended up beating the previous winning time by 1/10th of a second.
Bolfo, a graduate student at Christie's Education New York where she is earning a masters degree in global contemporary art, produced a double clear round in a speedy 35.876 seconds for the win, making this her first win of the week at the Silver Oak Jumper Tournament.
"The jump-off was all about making the right tight turns and getting across the long gallops, and I knew U2 could do both of those things really well," explained Bolfo. "U2 is really wonderful; I've had him for five years now. He was Circuit Champion at WEF in 2014. Last year I ended up not wanting to push him too hard because he's such a great guy so I didn't go to WEF this winter. This is actually his first real horse show back, so I'm really happy to see him performing and feel him jumping as well as he is. It's so much fun to ride him. I can't get the smile off my face even when I have rails."
Sima Morgello and Zopala finished in second, stopping the timers at 35.982 seconds, while Ariel Leshem and Simply Be came in third with a time of 36.613 seconds.
Next was the High Junior/Amateur Classic with 23 entries racing for the top spots on the leader board around the same course as the Low Classic, designed by Olaf Petersen Jr. Only nine were able to advance on to the jump-off.
After landing second in the Low Classic, Sima Morgello, trained by Devin Ryan, attempted the course again and came out on top this time around aboard Double S. Farm's Orientales with a time of 35.662 seconds. Addison Gierkink and Casa de la Marta Bay claimed second place with a time of 36.146 seconds, and Ali Tritschler and Fantasy rounded out the top three finishing in 36.194 seconds.
Regarding her plan on navigating Petersen's course for the second time Morgello commented, "I think today the most concerning thing was the combinations. Orientales' stride is so big that I really have to focus on getting her back and paying attention to the rails. Turning back after the combination in the jump-off, because her stride is so big, I just allowed her to really open up. Then, especially turning to fence seven, we did seven strides around the turn where most people were getting a little caught up in eight so I think that made up a few seconds, but I thought the course was beautiful. Olaf really did a great job."
The $8,000 6-Year-Olds YJC Qualifier Jumpers Classic 1.20m-1.25m saw 16 entries take the field with only six advancing to the jump-off.
Michael Hughes and Bovenau pulled off another win for the week racing across the finish line in 37.417 seconds and also winning the style award for the class as well.
"I thought it was a good course. It was pretty spread out throughout the field," said Hughes. "It was good depending on how green your horse really was. Luckily mine acts very old in her young age. I've been riding Bovenau for two years now, and she's been really consistent. She was second in the 5-Year-Old Final last year at the Hamptons, and she's always been really careful; I think she's had one rail this whole year so she's really great. She wants to be really competitive."
Second place finisher, also clear, but in a time of 38.003 seconds was Benjamin Meredith and Elonie followed by Filip de Wandel and Sea Smoke in third with a time of 40.071 seconds.
Moving on to the $10,000 7-Year-Olds YJC Qualifier Classic 1.30-1.35m with 15 entries and seven making it to the jump-off, it was last year's star, Kevin Babington, who took the blue ribbon.
Babington and Debra Wycoff's Super Chilled were both greeted at the in-gate after the awards presentation with hugs and congratulations from family and friends. The pair finished their jump-off round in a time of 36.648 seconds in order to seal their victory.
"I thought it was a very fair course for a young horse," said Babington as a friend tried to steal away his champagne bottle prize. "The biggest question I think was the triple combination, but I thought overall the course designer was very kind to the horses. I don't think any horse had any real issues in there so I liked it.
"Super Chilled is a great horse," continued Babington. "He wins the Classic almost every show without trying. Today I gave it a shot because it's good prize money, and it's a nice class to win so I did put a little pressure on him today. He stepped up to the plate and did his job."
Babington is no stranger to the winner's circle at the Silver Oak Jumper Tournament after winning the $75,000 Agero Grand Prix at last year's event.
"Silver Oak is a great show," said Babington. "Unfortunately I don't have a horse for the Grand Prix tomorrow. I'd love to defend my title, but I don't. It's still a great show - great atmosphere. The volleyball game last night I thought was a great addition. There's just great camaraderie here between all the riders. I really like it."
Behind Babington in the 7-Year-Old Classic was Paul O'Shea and Skara Glen's Presence who took home second place honors with a time of 37.647 seconds and Blair Willmer and D Carolus who came in third in 41.655 seconds.
The day wrapped up with the $15,000 8-Year-Olds Jumper Classic 1.35m-1.40m with Wilton Porter sandwiching McLain Ward on the leaderboard in the top three; claiming both first and third place.
Porter was able to shave off two seconds of second place finishers, Ward and HH Best Buy's, jump-off time of 38.306 seconds aboard Major with a time of 36.347 seconds. He later finished behind Ward on his second mount of the class, Delinquent Jx, with a time of 39.859 seconds.
"I thought it was a pretty good course," said Porter. "I was actually lucky enough to be able to do it on a 7-year-old also so by the time I got to my 8 year olds I kind of had a feel for the course. Major has a little more energy and a bigger stride naturally whereas with Delinquent you kind of create it. The jump-off really suited Major though. Because of his stride, we were able to leave out strides down a lot of the lines, and I think that's where we ended up beating McLain."
With day four done, the Silver Oak Jumper Tournament looks forward to its final day at the Fieldstone Show Park tomorrow featuring the highly anticipated and sought after $15,000 D & G Ventures Mini Prix 1.35m and the $75,000 Agero Grand Prix 1.50m held in the Unicorn Landing Grand Prix field and beginning at 8:00 a.m.
Fieldstone's Summer Showcase Horse Show immediately follows the Silver Oak Jumper Tournament and offers impressive prize money from August 18-22, 2015. Highlighting the show week is the $50,000 Fieldstone Show Park Grand Prix plus additional $40,000 in supplementary prize money offered in other highlight classes. The week of competition offers events across jumper, hunter and equitation disciplines.
For 30 years, Fieldstone Show Park has stood as New England's principal horse show venue, employing the finest terrain New England has to offer with all-weather draining base arenas with GGT Geo-Textile footing to create an environment conducive to top-tier equestrian competition. One hundred and six acres of arenas and beautiful grass fields make Fieldstone a truly world-class facility, and a perfect host for the summer's events, culminating with the Fieldstone Summer Showcase.
For full results, go to www.horseshowing.com.
Photos by Andrew Ryback Photography www.andrewryback.com.