Parker, CO - Rising to the occasion in the largest class of the week at Summer In The Rockies (SIR) III, a well-deserved blue ribbon was awarded to Will Simpson of Westlake Village, CA, and his mount The Dude, for their dominating performance in the $50,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix at The Colorado Horse Park (CHP). The speedy pair conquered a tough track, crossing through the timers with a jump-off time of 38.919 seconds to secure the win.
Claiming the second place position with a time of 41.161 seconds was S&L Zeppelin, piloted by Armando Hassey of Parker, CO, while Karen Cudmore of Omaha, NE, and Ceonto produced a time of 41.246 seconds to earn third place.
Simpson and The Dude are no strangers to the winner's circle at CHP, recently claiming victory in the $20,000 Open Welcome Stake with a jump-off time of 37.335 seconds. Simpson and The Dude have a storied history together, collecting numerous grand prix victories along the West Coast.
The Dude, with Simpson guiding from the irons, has made the pair a strong combination, as they have the ability to win nearly anywhere. Simpson has established a strong partnership with the gelding and was expecting a good round in on Saturday, after The Dude started out the week a bit energetic.
"The Dude was on today. He was a little fresh on Thursday for the Welcome Stake, but he still jumped very well, however he was really on his game today," commented Simpson. Simpson professed his appreciation for The Dude's performance and fight throughout track in their first Saturday night appearance at CHP this season. He noted, "I'm thrilled that there was no bucking in the victory gallop! I thought I was going to have a rodeo horse today, but he was very well behaved and handled the track pretty easily."
The jump-off allowed for tight turns, impressive rollbacks, and long areas of gallop track, which helped Simpson make up time on the clock and the duo did just that. "It was a really fun jump-off. There was one gnarly inside turn, but it ended up slower than going around," explained Simpson. "We took the outside track, which still placed us before the second jump very quickly."
"Galloping down to the skinny I felt like I had to be careful. A few jumps later in the jump-off we had to make a tight turn over the fence to be tidy," he continued. "We came in on the right-hand side of the jump, so I had to land on the far side the fence, which was pretty difficult. He handled it beautifully though and he's really in top form."
Karen Cudmore of Omaha, NE, earned the Equiline Leading Lady Award for her combined performances in the two major classes during the week at SIR III, including consecutive third place finishes aboard Ceonto in the $20,000 Open Welcome Stake and the $50,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix.
For more information on The Colorado Horse Park and to see a full list of results please visit www.coloradohorsepark.com.
Final Results $50,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix
1. THE DUDE, 2006 Oldenburg Springpferd gelding by Carry Gold x Honey Moon WILL SIMPSON, Nicole Walker: 0/0/38.919
2. S&L ZEPPELIN, 2004 Dutch Warmblood gelding by No Limit x Sterre H ARMANDO HASSEY, Caroline Beecherl: 0/0/41.161
3. CEONTO, 2001 Holsteiner gelding by Cassini KAREN CUDMORE, Blair Cudmore: 0/0/41.246
4. E-UNANIME DE LA HAIE, 2004 Belgian Warmblood mare by Corland x Midnight WILL SIMPSON, Monarch International: 0/4/39.749
5. SKY HIGH, 2008 Holsteiner gelding by Cassini I x Nanett I HOLLY SHEPHERD, Loretta Patterson: 0/4/40.12
6. SOULSHINE, 2003 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Randall COURTNEY FREDERICK, Equestrian Investments, LLC: 4/77.509
7. SOUTHERN PRIDE, 1998 Holsteiner stallion by South Pacific x Blanka KAREN CUDMORE, Blair Cudmore: 4/78.235
8. INDOKTRO K VAN'T KATTENHEYE, 2008 Belgian Warmblood stallion by Indoctro x Eloubet van de Doorndonkhoeve SUSAN GRIFFIS, Palmer Divide Ranch: 4/78.46
9. LALIQUE, 2003 Holsteiner mare BROOKE CUDMORE, Blair Cudmore: 8/73.048
10. CASCO, 2002 Holsteiner gelding by Cassini I x Iorella CARLI KIRSCH, Carli Kirsch: 12/73.718
11. CANDY MAN, 2007 Warmblood gelding BJORN IKAST, BBB Show Jumpers LLC: 12/75.621
12. QUICKIE, 2006 Oldenburg gelding by Quality x Shira NATASCHA GATES, Natascha Gates: 12/76.113