San Juan Capistrano, CA - The $25,000 Markel Insurance 1.40m Grand Prix wrapped up the second week of the Blenheim EquiSports Spring Classic series. With 38 entries in the class, FEI course designer Manuel Esparza (MEX) designed a track that worked for varying levels of competitor experience and produced ten clear rounds.
Of the five double clean rides, veteran pair Susan Hutchison and Ziedento (St. Bride's Farm, owner) took the top prize. Also at 1.40m in height, the first Interactive Mortgage U25 Series Qualifier of the season ran simultaneously, with Santiago Vallarta and Go For Me earning the blue ribbon.
Esparza set an expansive track that wound throughout the grand prix field, starting and finishing with jumps strategically placed by the in-gate. Time on course was set a touch tight, requiring an accurate track.
Fourteen riders finished with time faults, with four entries acquiring only time penalties on what would have otherwise been fault-free rounds. One of those four was thirteen-year-old Hannah Loly riding Asombro (Melanie Brooks, owner). Competing in her first grand prix, Loly finished with just three faults on the clock.
Hutchison had two in the jump-off, and was first to return on Barbara Phillips' Brisbane. The two set a speedy time of 42.32 seconds but had the last fence down to finish on a four fault score. Last week's winners, Michelle Parker and Vancouver 45, were next to go and quickly took over the lead with a clear round in 43.81 seconds.
Mei Mei Zhu had a miscommunication with her partner Heraldo S and they parted ways. Brenda Riddell aboard Dutch Amouretta (owned by Silverstar Farms, Ltd.) and Marc Grock on Moonlite Beach, LLC's Little Gancho both successfully rode clear rounds, but were unable to catch Parker, in times of 46.29 and 44.42 respectively.
Guy Thomas on new mount Jonkheer Z (Emily Livermore, owner) picked up four faults at the first fence in an otherwise solid round. Seventh in the jump-off order Hutchison, this time on Ziedento, turned quicker and galloped faster to take the lead and ultimately the win with a time of 41.85 seconds.
The three remaining competitors - Nathalie Cooper on her Con Spirit, Daniel Zilla riding Branscomb Farm's Venice B, and Brenda Riddell on Silverstar Farms, Ltd's Wilson - made gallant efforts, but were unable to beat Hutchison's double clean leading time.
Hutchison knows her horse well after a host of wins over the last few years. "Ziedento is just naturally fast," she explained.
Place - Entry - Name - Rider - Owner - Faults/Time
1. 182 - Ziedento - Susan Hutchison - St. Bride's Farm - 0/0/41.852
2. 216 - Vancouver 45 - Michelle Parker - Cross Creek Farms, Inc. - 0/0/43.815
3. 145 - Little Gancho - Marc Grock - Moonlite Beach, LLC - 0/0/44.423
4. 454 - Dutch Amouretta - Brenda Riddell - Silverstar Farms, Ltd. - 0/0/46.295
5. 450 - Wilson - Brenda Riddell - Silverstar Farms, Ltd. - 0/0/48.844
6. 172 - Brisbane - Susan Hutchison - Barbara Phillips - 0/4/42.322
7. 274 - Venice B - Daniel Zilla - Branscomb Farm, LLC - 0/4/43.015
8. 260 - Jonkheer Z - Guy Thomas - Emily Livermore - 0/4/45.172
9. 408 - Con Spirit - Nathalie Cooper - Acorn Farm Equestrian, LLC - 0/8/41.974
10. 530 - Heraldo S - Mei Mei Zhu - Mei Mei Zhu - 0/EL
11. 142 - Caretol - Marc Grock - Moonlite Beach, LLC - 1/86.068
12. 346 - Emiel d'Or VD Durmstede - Carly Kist - Susan Kist - 2/87.254