Saugerties, NY: As the curtain closed on Week V at HITS-on-the-Hudson, riders and horses gathered to take a shot at bringing home the lion’s share of the purse in the $75,000 AIG Grand Prix.
The rider to beat all week was Laura Chapot of Neshanic Station, New Jersey. Chapot garnered top honors including the win and two more spots in the top five in both Friday’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix and Saturday’s $15,000 Kindred Bio Jumper Prix.
This time, Chapot once again snagged three spots in the top five with Quointreau Un Prince, co-owned with Mclain Ward for first place, Thornhill Kate, co-owned with Mary Chapot for second place, and ISHD Dual Star for fifth.
“I want to thank AIG for their sponsorship and for supporting the sport and giving us another top class to compete in at HITS," said Chapot. "Of course, winning like this does not happen all the time and it's not done without a great team behind you. I have to thank my whole team behind the scenes who deserve the recognition: my sponsors, my mom, my groom and Wendy and Dave from Equalign Chiropractic Systems."
Course Designer Florencio Hernandez of Mexico City, tested the navigational skill of each horse and rider in a first round of 16-jumping efforts which included tricky distances and three double combinations.
“My horses managed the course today really well today,” said Chapot. “There wasn’t a specific part of the course that presented a problem for everyone. A few people seemed to get a bit caught up in the difficulty of some of the lines, but my horses were real troopers and right on their game.”
The race for the win would remain in the first round, with Chapot putting in the only two clear rounds. Chapot and Quointreau Un Prince were second in the order to test the track. They put down a solid round, clocking in with a clean 80.609-second trip. Chapot and Thornhill Kate were second to last of the field to go, and the equestrian put in another clear round with her talented grey mare.
Chapot and ISHD Dual Star, were the quickest of the four-fault rounds in 80.665.
Third place Ailish Cunniffe of South Salem, New York, came ever so close with only one time fault standing between her and a jump-off with Chapot. Cunniffe took home the yellow ribbon aboard Casper, owned by Whipstick Farm, LTD, with a time of 87.912.
Kyle Timm of Apex, North Carolina, was also foiled by the clock. Timm piloted Georgie B through the course without a single knockdown, but their time of 89.374 with three time penalties would ultimately earn them the fourth place prize for their efforts.
With Chapot being the only rider qualified for the jump-off with two different mounts, she selected Quointreau Un Prince as the winning horse by walking into the ring to retire, and opting not to show with Thornhill Kate.
“It’s really a rider’s dream to be the only one in the jump-off. I made the decision to return in the ring with Prince for the win because he is very dear to my heart, he always brings his A-game, and I’ve had him since he was five,” said Chapot. “Over the past few weeks, I feel as though I made a few mistakes here and there that might have cost him the winning spot, and I wanted that win for him. Thornhill Kate has been doing exceptionally well and she’s a bit younger, so she has a few more years in her.”
For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit www.HitsShows.com