Del Mar, CA - August 28, 2014 - A beautiful Thursday afternoon at the Showpark All Seasons Summer Tournament ushered in the first highlight class of the week, the $32,500 Showpark Jumper Classic, presented by EquiFit, inc. Twenty-nine entries competed for the top prize in the speed class, testing their skills in anticipation of Saturday's World Cup Qualifier Grand Prix.
Canadian course designer Michel Vaillancourt set a technical track that tested competitors' experience at the international standard. Jumping sixteen efforts in a time allowed of 80 seconds, horses drew upon their scope and stamina to successfully navigate the expansive course.
In designing the Jumper Classic, Vaillancourt had more in mind for the riders than a traditional speed class that prioritized a quick time.
"Unlike most speed classes, it's not really a test against the clock but a test of jumping - so it's not going to be a class where you're going to see a tremendous amount of speed. Of course, some people will gamble on it, because there's enough prize money to do that, but it's truly about jumping first," he explained.
"It's a class for Grand Prix horses; not just speedsters, but for powerful jumpers. I set it big enough because it's going to give me a little bit of a feel for what I have to work with for the World Cup Qualifier on Saturday."
With a double and triple combination as well as several bending lines that carried competitors over the length of the Grand Prix field, the course provided ample challenge to riders as they attempted clear rounds. Both combinations provided the most trouble, as well as fence 2, the first vertical on course, and fence 13, a wide oxer and the final fence on course.
Only two entries were able to successfully navigate the course without rails and under the time allowed. Fourth in the ring, Susan Artes on Alix Fargo's Zamiro efficiently piloted the 10-year-old KWPN gelding (Lupicor x G. Ramiro Z) to a clear round in a speedy time of 71.69 seconds, ultimately setting a time that could not be beat. Jenni Martin-McAllister and Legis Venice (owned by Legisequine.com) had the only other clear round. Martin-McAllister guided the 9-year-old Holsteiner mare (Nekton x Capitol I) through the timers in 78.23.
A time of 80.05 led to heartbreaking single time fault for Hanna Mauritzson (SWE) on Swede Equine's Landlyst's Leroy (Solo Landtinus x Lord Caletto), earning them third place to round out the top three finishers.
"I thought the course was difficult, and there were enough options to make you second-guess yourself. My plan was to go in and be clear, but a tidy clear, not try to win because I tend to be too aggressive sometimes. Lesson from last week!" Artes explained of her winning plan in the class. "I got Zamiro as a five-year-old, so we did the young horse classes and started doing the smaller Grand Prix classes when he was seven. Now he's ten, and he's more seasoned, so I feel like this is going to be the beginning of a really good career for him."
The Showpark All Seasons Summer Tournament continues into the weekend with a World Cup Qualifier, the $50,000 Grand Prix of Showpark, presented by Equ Lifestyle, as well as the Young Jumper Championships Western League Finals, the Sallie B. Wheeler/USEF National Hunter Breeding Championship and International Hunter Futurity classes.