Hampton Falls, NH - The Fidelity Investments Jumper Classic presented by Porsche concluded competition today at the Silver Oak Equestrian Center. Located in the beautiful seacoast town of Hampton Falls, NH, the Jumper Classic is New England's premier equestrian event.
This elite level competition attracted the country's top riders, past Olympians and local equestrians who competed for over $200,000 in prize money. In the highlight class, the $75,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix, Marie Hecart of France and Myself de Breve were the fastest to win. More than 6,000 spectators were present to watch the exciting class of top show jumpers ride over the Linda Allen designed course in the Coldwell Bankers Previews Grand Prix Field.
Marie Hecart, the winner of today's grand prix, took home a payday of $22,500 when she topped a field of six in the jump-off with the little chestnut mare Myself de Breve, owned by Top Stallion. Hecart, who is from France, is now based with her own business out of Double H Farm in Ridgefield, CT.
After a strong starting field of 40 entries, six found the way to a clear round to advance to the jump-off. Although Hecart was the first clear round, she had moved up in the order and it reverted to the original order for the jump-off.
Andrew Welles of Wellington, FL, and Boo Van Het Kastanjehof went first in the jump-off and just knocked the blocks off the top of the wall jump for four faults and a time of 44.015 seconds. They would finish in fifth place.
Double Olympic gold medalist McLain Ward of Brewster, NY, would be in next with his first qualified mount, Vocus, owned by Louisburg Farm of Boston, MA. They also had a fault at the wall jump, but with a faster time of 43.262 seconds, they would end up in fourth place.
Olympian Norman Dello Joio, of Wellington, FL, followed Ward into the ring on his mount Notre Star de La Nutria, owned by Juan Huxley. They put in the first clear round of the jump-off and set the time to beat at 44.134 seconds, and they would finish in second place.
Hecart was next with Myself de Breve, who is nicknamed "Mini Me" in the barn. Hecart laughed, "When I say, 'Myself is good,' people don't understand, so now I say Mini Me." The little 10-year-old Selle Francais mare by Quidam de Revel motored around the course and left room to spare over the jumps. They completed the difficult rollback to the wall jump and continued to the last fence with speed, leaving all the jumps up and crossing the timers in 42.271 seconds to go into the lead.
Ward was in next with his second mount, Oh d'Eole, and while chasing a fast time, they brought down the oxer, the first jump in the double combination. They finished with four faults and a quick time of 42.888 seconds for third place.
The final combination into the ring was Olympian Peter Leone on Select, winners of Friday's Welcome Stake. They had quick speed in the beginning, but with an unfortunate eight faults in the double combination, Leone pulled up his horse to save him for another day. They placed sixth in the class.
This was a great win for the 29-year-old Hecart, who just started her own business three months ago after working for current Olympic gold medalist Eric Lamaze for four years. Her history with Myself de Breve is a long one, and it may have helped bring her her first grand prix win in the United States.
Hecart's father Michel, who rode for the French show jumping team for 10 years, has a large breeding and sales business in France, which is where they had Myself de Breve. Hecart explained, "My dad bought her when she was three. I rode her in France when she was four, five, six. Then I went to work in Canada, so my dad started to ride her and started her in the grand prix in France. She came here two months ago. For three weeks showing, it's been like one down, one time fault. I couldn't go clear. Finally, we did it!"
Hecart said of her fiery mare, "She has a lot of personality. She really wants to go all the time. On the last jump, I could see her legs in front of me! She has lots of energy and she's never tired. She loves to go in the walker, in the field, on the treadmill. I did a 1.25m on Wednesday to make her relax with no pressure. I don't try to run to win classes, I try to pick the right one and this week it was the grand prix. I try to ride with nice pace. I don't need leg. She's really powerful and has a lot of scope. I cannot push her. If I do, she goes really fast. I just stay and I wait."
The course was good," Hecart related. "It was not too big, but tough enough. The combination was hard, and the time allowed is always hard because you have to run and take more risk, turn shorter everywhere. It was nice for the horses, even with young horses, it was a nice grand prix."
Hecart said her grand prix win is "really exciting." She added, "It's nice for my confidence." She will show next week with Myself de Breve in New Albany, OH.
The opening class of the day was the $15,000 Great American Speed Stake, and it was Kyle King of Ocala, FL, who galloped to the win with Sandstone Montecristo, owned by Alison Friedman of San Marcos, CA.
King and Sandstone Montecristo, a 13-year-old Warmblood mare by Conway, were the final entry into the ring in a class of 26 entries. They were chasing a clear round and time of 68.555 seconds set by Chicago's Kent Farrington and Samar, owned by RCG Farm. The early leader in the class and eventual third place finisher was T Cavalier, ridden and owned by Daniela Cordero of Wellington, FL.
King and Sandstone Montecristo had a fast galloping pace, but it was one inside turn that probably won the class for them. King explained, "I had a really good position, so I got to see everyone. There was one question of inside the water jump to the skinny white vertical. I saw Kent went around, so I thought I could speed it up there. That was my shot to win. Everything else was pretty much the same running time. She's pretty clever like that, so I slipped right inside. She tried really hard. That's for sure where I won it."
Montecristo was bred in California through the Sandstone breeding operation and Gabriella Salick. King and his father purchased her as a six-year-old for an amateur client. King said, "My father ran Sandstone when I was a kid and they had a fantastic breeding operation. She was one of the last horses they bred there. She's been in my father's stable for (more than) six years. I rode her a little bit as a young horse, but it was mostly a horse for Alison Friedman. She's been worth her weight in gold and been a fantastic mare for her. My father brought her back here to get sold. She's only 13 and she's still quite valuable, and she has a lot left in the tank. I've been showing her for the last three weeks."
He said of the speedy mare, "She's a great amateur horse, and it's fun to be able to ride something like that in these speed classes. I just let her go. She's got tons of experience, is fast naturally, and careful and brave. It's nice to ride one like that. The mare's just a saint. She's great at the speed stuff."
This is King's first time showing at the Silver Oak Equestrian Center, although he has shown at the Jumper Classic in the past, including winning the grand prix, welcome stake, and speed stake all in one year. He was pleasantly surprised at this year's show. "This is a fantastic field. It's nice for me to get back on a grass field. You just don't see that many quality fields, and the footing is amazing and the jumps are beautiful. It's a great crowd, and I love it here. I'm definitely putting this on my calendar next year."
Also awarded today were the Grand Circuit Championships for those who had consistent performances at the Fieldstone Summer Showcase and the Fidelity Investments Jumper Classic. The Masters Division champion was Lee Thornton, and the reserve champion was Jeff Papows. Laura Hinsdale and Olivia Magliochete tied for champion, while Alexa Adelson was reserve champion in the Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper division. The High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper division champion was Meagan Nusz, and the reserve championship went to Nicole Bellissimo.
The Fidelity Investments Jumper Classic presented by Porsche has concluded with another fantastic year of competition, and fans of show jumping can look forward to another great edition of the show next year on September 14-18, 2011.
For more information and full results, please visit www.jumperclassic.com.
Final Results: $75,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix
198 Myself de Breve, Marie Hecart: 0/0/42.721
209 Notre Star de La Nutria, Norman Dello Joio: 0/0/44.134
366 Oh' d eole, Mclain Ward: 0/4/42.888
32 Vocas, Mclain Ward: 0/4/43.262
272 Boo Van Het Kastanjehof, Andrew Welles: 0/4/44.015
40 Select, Peter Leone: 0/RT
127 Lady Bird 17, Charles Jacobs: 4/80.207
148 Lapacco, Schuyler Riley: 4/86.489
153 Up Chiqui, Kent Farrington: 4/86.983
267 Re Louis, Amy Momrow: 4/87.777
97 Raimond W, Leslie Howard: 5/88.177
299 Remonta Eden, Sandra Van Dyke: 5/88.279
Final Results: $15,000 Great American Speed Stake
230 Sandstone Montecristo, Kyle King: 0/65.822
156 Samar, Kent Farrington: 0/68.555
149 T Cavalier, Daniela Cordero: 0/70.534
100 Goed Zo, Leslie Howard: 0/70.783
295 Canasucre, Andrew Bourns: 0/71.675
281 Wannick WH, Christine Mc Crea: 0/76.534
161 Victor VDL, Jonathan Mc Crea: 0/77.008
124 Henry Jota Romano, Brittni Raflowitz: 0/77.880
91 Oyster Grey, Johnathon Corrigan: 0/81.573
31 Vigo, Mclain Ward: 4/68.433
60 Sandra Z, David Tromp: 4/74.592
44 Lady Carthago, Danielle Goldstein: 4/74.640
Photos: Marie Hecart and Myself de Breve(2), Norman Dello Joio and Notre Star de la Nutria, McLain Ward and Oh d'Eole, Kent Farrington and Samar, Kyle King and Sandstone Montecristo (2)
Photo Credit: Flashpoint Photography