Wellington, FL - Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, Florida, and Don Juan, owned by Take The High Road LLC, captured their first victory of the 2016 ESP Spring Series, topping the $10,000 Neue Schule Open Welcome Stake at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). The ESP Spring Series, which began Wednesday, April 6, will continue through Sunday, May 15.
Colvin and Don Juan crossed the jump-off timers in 36.423 seconds to narrowly edge Paul O'Shea of Wellington, FL, and Primo Calypso, who finished in 36.471 seconds. Samuel Parot, Jr. of Wellington, FL, and Amaretas finished just four tenths off the leading pace to earn third place with a time of 36.859 seconds. The course, set by Richard Jeffrey (GBR), saw 49 initial entries with 17 combinations advancing to the jump-off round. Ten pairs finished the afternoon with a double clear effort.
Colvin and Don Juan have been partnered for nearly four years and their relationship has continued to evolve as they have gained valuable experience in the ring. For Colvin, competing her longtime mount is something she always looks forward to, as the pair are incredibly consistent at the 1.40m height.
"I've had him for a very long time. He was mainly my junior jumper and young rider horse," said Colvin. "I like to keep him at this height and maybe a few 1.45m classes here and there. He does really well in the 1.40m speed classes."
Piloting two mounts around the track, Colvin was pleased with the way the course suited both Don Juan and Chanel B 2, who is also owned by Take The High Road LLC. She elaborated, "I walked the course and it seemed very straight forward. It was a good solid round with my first one Chanel. We wanted a nice double clean round with her since she's just getting back into the competition ring. With Don Juan, he is just very fast. He's built that way. Typically with him, if I go neat and stay on my lines, we're always going to go for the win."
"In the jump off it was the tight turns and the gallop to the last fence that I think made the difference. There were a few places where you could do a few tight turns and I think that's where we were able to seal the deal," she continued.
Don Juan has been a very educational mount for Colvin so far in her career, while his ever-changing attitude and ringside demeanor continue to keep her on her toes before the start of competition. The opinionated gelding understands his job in the ring, but Colvin explained that she still rides every course as though it's their first time competing together.
"He's older with a been there done kind of mentality but he can be unpredictable. If he goes in and is feeling it, we're always in the ribbons and close to the top of the class. In the warm up though, you can't trick him. He is very aware of what's going on so we do very little with him, maybe a few small verticals, a small over, and a liverpool if we're lucky," commented Colvin. "I got a bit nervous because there was an open water fence next to the skinny that I thought he would look at on course, but he really was great in the ring."
Finishing the afternoon with both mounts placed in the top five, Colvin was thrilled with the performance of her horses, and quickly pointed out her excitement with Chanel B 2, who has returned to competition in excellent form.
"Chanel did exceptionally well today and I'm very proud of her. We started to bring her back right around mid WEF and have just moved up to the 1.40m. I just wanted a clear ribbon round with her and she really delivered today," she noted.
ESP Spring 1 competition will feature the $25,000 Nutrena Grand Prix, as well as the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, on Sunday, April 10. For more information on the ESP Spring Series, please visit www.pbiec.com.
Final Results $10,000 Neue Schule Open Welcome Stake
1. DON JUAN, VICTORIA COLVIN, Take The High Road LLC: 0/0/36.423
2. PRIMO CALYPSO, PAUL O'SHEA, Michael Hayden & Paul O'Shea: 0/0/36.471
3. AMARETAS, SAMUEL PAROT, JR., Mr. & Mrs. Bertram Firestone: 0/0/36.859
4. BIJOUX, DIEGO VIVERO, Javier Estrada: 0/0/37.053
5. CHANEL B 2, VICTORIA COLVIN, Take The High Road LLC: 0/0/37.801
6. BARON, DAVID BLAKE, Pine Hollow Farm: 0/0/38.066
7. ADVENTURE E, COLIN SYQUIA, Eurasia Inc: 0/0/39.912
8. UTAN, ANGELA COVERT, Angela Covert: 0/0/40.509
9. CASINJO EX Z, DAVID BLAKE, Pine Hollow Farm: 0/0/40.709
10. BOUCANIER, TAYLOR REID, Taylor Reid: 0/0/42.251
11. CINGDOCTRO, PAUL O'SHEA, Michael Hayden & Paul O'Shea: 0/2/49.345
12. AUCKLAND DE L'ENCLOS, SHARN WORDLEY, Ashland Stables: 0/2/49.4