Del Mar, CA - For a second night Marina Azevedo built a demanding course at the Del Mar National Horse Show for the 20 entries to jump in the $100,000 Hermes Grand Prix of Del Mar presented by Intuit. Six of the entries contesting the 13 obstacle course were members of the USEF Long List for the U.S. Show Jumping Team for the 2012 Olympic Games. These combinations were contesting the first of four 2012 US Show Jumping Team Observation Events. And in the second and final class of the Del Mar Observation Event long listed riders once again jumped into top placings.
In the first round, only two combinations were able to produce fault-free efforts. Two members of the USEF Long List for the U.S. Show Jumping Team for the 2012 Olympic Games, Rich Fellers and Flexible and Lauren Hough with Blue Angel, would need to return and jump-off to decide the winner of Saturday's class. Neither Fellers nor Hough were able to reproduce their clear efforts from round one with both collecting four faults. However, Fellers (Sherwood, OR) produced the quickest jump-off time for the second night in a row, to claim his second Grand Prix victory of the Observation Event.
The 2012 Rolex/FEI World Cup Champions looked well on their way to jumping another fault-free effort in the jump-off until they lowered the height of the penultimate fence. However, Fellers had ridden a well-executed, efficient round over the jump-off track to finish in a time of 39.76 seconds and secure another win.
Fellers was very impressed with the course Azevedo built Saturday night and believed it was a good test for the long listed combinations. "It was a legitimate international course; right in there with the caliber of the (Selection) Trials courses."
Fellers and Flexible will next head to Spruce Meadows to compete in the final 2012 US Show Jumping Team Observation Event. Harry and Mollie Chapman's 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse stallion will spend the next month preparing for the classes at the prestigious Canadian competition. "He might jump in the Grand Prix next Sunday on the grass, that's the first time he will have jumped on the grass." Said Fellers, "He'll then go home and get some turn-out and get ready to go to Spruce Meadows next month."
Hough (Wellington, FL) and Robyn Parsky's Blue Angel were the 17th combinations to attempt the first round and produced the first fault-free round of the night. Four-faults as result of having the back rail of the third to last oxer in the jump-off meant the 10-year-old Anglo-European mare would collect second-place honors after stopping the timers at 41.81 seconds.
Collecting third place honors on Saturday night was long listed combination Saer Coulter and Copernicus Stables' Springtime. Coulter (San Francisco, CA) and the 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding jumped a methodical round to leave all the rails in place but two time faults meant they would not return for the jump-off.
Lucy Davis (Los Angeles, CA) and Old Oak Farm's Nemo, ranked 15th on the long list, put in a determined effort, which was only marred by faults at the first and final jumps on course resulting in eight faults.
Karl Cook (Woodside, CA) brought Signe Ostby's two horses from the USEF Long List for the U.S. Show Jumping Team for the 2012 Olympic Games to the feature class. JonKheer Z jumped to an eight fault total after dislodging rails at fences 10 and 12. With ASB Conquistador, Cook was the first long listed rider of the night to compete; they faulted at fences three, 5A and 10 and had one time fault for a 13 fault total.
Long listed riders head to Lexington, KY next week for the second of 2012 US Show Jumping Team Observation Events held at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show.
For video, news, photos and to follow the 2012 U.S. Show Jumping Team visit: http://www.usefnetwork.com/featured/2012Jumping/
For more information about the Del Mar National Horse Show including Order of Go and Results visit: http://delmarnational.com/hunter_jumper.php
Per the USEF Selection Procedures, in order to remain in consideration for the U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Team, athlete/horse combinations are required to compete at two of the following Observation Events listed below:
The Del Mar National Horse Show
Del Mar, California May 1-6, 2012
Kentucky Spring Horse Show
Lexington, Kentucky May 8-13, 2012
The Devon Horse Show
Devon, Pennsylvania May 29-June 2, 2012
Calgary, Alberta Canada June 13-17, 2012
Following the completion of these observation events, FEI Nominated Entries will be submitted to the FEI on June 17. Twelve athlete/horse combinations can be named to the FEI Nominated Entries. The USOC Final Entries will be submitted no later than July 6, 2012.
The 2012 Olympic Games will take place July 27 - August 12.
Photo: Rich Fellers and Flexible Go Two-For-Two (Rick Osteen Photography)