Saugerties, NY- The Order of Go in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix at HITS-on-the-Hudson III, was packed with talented riders known for bringing their A-game to the Grand Prix field, including the world’s number one leading rider, Mclain Ward.
After a virtual clean sweep in the Open Jumper division week I, winning the Brook Ledge Open Welcome and SmartPak Grand Prix, as well as the Kindred Bio Open Prix, Laura Chapot, of Neshanic Station, New Jersey, returned week III and once again conquered the Grand Prix Stadium with a rapid dash for both first- and second-place, as well as twelfth in the ribbons.
“I very much want to thank SmartPak for sponsoring these classes,” said Chapot. “They also sponsor me, so this was doubly a great thing—I’m definitely proud of this win.”
Manuel Esparza, of Mexico City, Mexico, designed a challenging course for the field of 34 horses and riders, with 11 returning for the jump-off. In addition to the $25,000 Grand Prix prize purse, young equestrians were vying for top placings in the $2,500 Under 25 Jumper Classic which was held as an overlay class.
“The course was challenging and I was surprised there were so many clear”, said Chapot. “At the start of the class I was very excited to have a clear round, then everyone started to figure the course out a bit more as the class went on. I thought the course was great and [Manuel Esparza] is a great builder, so we look forward to seeing what he has for us on Sunday.”
Chapot and her winning ride, Quointreau Un Prince, co-owned with Mclain Ward, re-entered the jump-off first to contest the shortened course. They galloped across the ring on an exciting track around the gazebo to a vertical coming home, followed by a tight rollback turn to a combination that spelled trouble for many riders. Chapot and her mount met the challenge with ease as they zipped towards the finish, crossing the timers fault-free in 39.459, which would remain unbeaten.
Following Chapot was Peter Leone, of Greenwich, Connecticut, aboard Wayfarer, owned by Lionshare Farm. They put down a speedy round in 39.955 but a rail at A of the mid-course combination would earn them fifth-place.
Two more jump-off trips would pass before another clear round would be seen. The next fault-free round belonged to Sarah Segal and Ubris, owned by Chartwell. The Flemington, New Jersey, equestrian and her mount clocked in fault-free in 42.448, ultimately earning them the fourth-place prize.
Jimmy Torano and Quality followed Segal, but an unfortunate rail at a vertical would keep them out of the top-five as they crossed the timers in 42.276 for sixth-place. Chapot returned with her second mount in the jump-off, ISHD Dual Star, owned by Mary Chapot. Again, Chapot laid down a blazing-fast time, clocking in clear in 39.887, just fractions of a second behind her own time to capture the eventual second-place as well as the win.
Lauren Ward of Brewster, New York, also returned to contend the shortened course aboard husband Mclain Ward's mount, Malou. Lauren and Malou were coming up on Chapot's time, but a rail at a vertical coming home followed by another rail after a rollback to A of the combination, ultimately earned them the seventh-place prize.
Last to compete were the winners of last Sunday’s $75,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix, Michael Hughes, of Allendale, New Jersey, and Sans Soucis Z, owned by Caroline Lloyd. They powered through the course, galloping across the ring to the vertical and making the rollback to the combination. As the clock ticked, they passed the timers fault-free in 41.807 to land third-place.
For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit www.HitsShows.com.