Friday's feature jumper competition, the $15,000 Horseflight Open Welcome saw thirty-three horse and rider teams compete on the world class grass turf grand prix field at the Gulf Coast Winter Classic Circuit in Gulfport, Mississippi. Manual Esparza of Mexico City, Mexico designed the 1.40 meter course and set the time to beat at 81 seconds which saw only eight with fault-free first rounds.
Andrew Kocher of Lake St. Louis, Missouri and Arion Legends, LLC's Cantu 5 were second to go and the first to go clean with a first round time of 69.328 seconds. Their second round in a time of 41.392 seconds was well within the 57 second time allowed and set the time to beat.
Several horses later, Kocher returned, this time in the irons of Aleece Jarman's Cantori who turned in a clear first round effort in a time of 67.724 seconds and clean second round in 38.929 seconds, taking the lead. Daniel Bedowa of Magnolia, Texas and his own Quattro were the next horse and rider team to go clean after Kocher's fault-free rounds. They turned in a first round time of 71.823 seconds and a clean second round time in 38.542 seconds, setting the new time to beat and taking the lead.
Kocher rose to the new time challenge and entered the ring with Carolina Suarez' Ufarno. The pair turned in back to back fault free rounds in times of 67.188 and 37.984 seconds respectively, and moved back into the first place position.
Tiffany Cambria of Middleburg, Virginia and Allie Rahman's Varios were the next horse and rider team to turn in double-clean efforts in times of 69.046 seconds and 43.657 seconds, respectively. Their times were not fast enough to grab the win from Kocher and would finish in sixth place overall. Lincoln Russell of Columbus, North Carolina and Sarah MacMillan's Vinney Boy turned in the last clear effort of the class in a time of 70.205 seconds. However, four jump faults in their second round in a time of 41.860 seconds would see them finish in eighth place overall.
Bryn Sadler of Santa Fe, New Mexico, winner of last week's $35,000 Cedar Street Advisors Grand Prix was the next pair to turn in double clear efforts on Showcase 81, LLC's Bon Giorno in times of 67.401 and 40.745 seconds, respectively, which would see them finish in fourth place overall. Kocher followed Sadler, this time in the irons of his own Heliante. While they turned in a clean first round in a time of 69.698 seconds, four faults in their second round in a time of 39.560 seconds would see them finish in seventh place overall.
In the end it was Kocher who won the class with Carolina Suarez' Ufarno, followed by Daniel Bedoya of Magnolia, Texas and his own Quattro in second. Third went to Kocher and Aleece Jarman's Cantori, fourth went to Bryn Sadler of Santa Fe, New Mexico and Showcase Farm's Bon Giorno. Kocher returned for fifth place with Arion Legends' Cantu 5, sixth went to Tiffany Cambria and Allie Rahman's Varios, seventh was awarded to Kocher and his own Heliante and Lincoln Russell wrapped it up in eighth place with Sarah MacMillan's Vinney Boy.
"My horses are jumping great and hopefully my luck will continue," Kocher said. "I just got eight new horses in from Europe today and I am hoping they will be in the position to win some classes here," he added.
This Bud's For YOU!
Tomorrow afternoon at 3 pm Central Time, the $35,000 Budweiser Grand Prix will be the main event in the grand prix field. Make sure to go to StreamHorseTV.com and watch the action as it unfolds!
The USHJA Zone 4 Member's Choice Award winning Gulf Coast Winter Classic Horse Show Circuit is also a South East Tourism's Top Ten Award winning event.
Each year during February and March the Gulf Coast Winter Classic Circuit welcomes thousands of competitors for six weeks of top show jumping competition and fun on the beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast. The Gulf Coast Winter Classic hosts their award-winning six week circuit at the Harrison County Fairgrounds and Equestrian Center in Gulfport, Mississippi. The Equestrian Center is a state of the art facility with an extraordinary grass grand prix field considered by top Olympic course designers to be the best in North America. In addition, the venue boasts well maintained, all weather footing competition rings, more than 600 permanent stalls and temporary stalls housing up to more than 1,500 horses, permanent, fully equipped RV sites, complimentary riders' lounges, a VIP tent, covered arena and many other features that make both horse and horseman happy.
The 2015 Gulf Coast Winter Classic Circuit is offering over $1,000,000 in prize money and awards, classes for all skill levels, and of course a big dose of their sweet southern hospitality. You are invited to enjoy and join in on the Gulf Coast Classic Company's legendary exhibitor appreciation parties, Pizza Saturdays, Happy Hour Mondays and all of the amenities that the Mississippi Gulf Coast has to offer!
The area offers world class casino resorts, wonderful musical and theatrical shows, incredible dining opportunities of all types and also features delicious Gulf seafood, award winning museums, beach and boat activities along the twenty six mile long white sand beachfront, and just plain fun for the entire family.