Wayne, Ill. – Aug. 10, 2019 –The final grand prix of the 2019 Chicago Festival of the horse took place Saturday, August 10, drawing the largest crowd of the weekend to the Grand Prix Arena. An elite group of 23 athletes and their horses competed for the last title of Equifest 2019, and ultimately it was Amanda Flint aboard VDL Wittinger that took top honors, with Tiffany Hammack and Crack Elle Chavannaise earning second place, while Liz Atkins and Rodeo VDL rounding out the top three.
In the first round, course designer Paul Jewell put together a 13-obstacle, 16 effort course that required precision and accuracy. In efforts to leave all of the rails up and remain within the time allowed, riders had to make split-second decisions that best allowed their horses to get over the 1.40m fences. The first clear round of the afternoon was produced early on by Stephen Foran and Cooper 152, owned by Alice Neild, securing them a spot in the jump-off. Seven other horse and rider combinations followed suit to welcome back a total of eight competitors to the jump-off.
In the grand finale of the class, returning athletes made one final effort to ride tracks that did not alter the height or width of the eight obstacles set in the shortened jump-off course. First in the arena for the jump-off was Foran with the first of his two mounts, Cooper 152, a Holsteiner gelding. As the pathfinders for the class, the pair had an unfortunate rail down early in the course, setting the pace for the rest of the competitors at 48.705 seconds.
Hammack and Crack Elle Chavannaise, owned by Beyaert Farm Inc., quickly took over the lead with a clear jump-off in a time of 45. 350 seconds. The pair held the lead until Flint took to the jump-of aboard her own VDL Wittinger. Flint and VDL Wittinger narrowly nabbed the leading spot in a faultless time of 45.011 seconds, just three-tenths of a second faster than Hammack. While competitors that followed would attempt to catch their time, the pair would ultimately hold the lead and earn first place honors.
Flint and the 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding most recently won the $35,000 Osphos Grand Prix during the second week of the HITS Showplace summer show series in Chicago, Illinois. The Equifest show series marked Flint’s first time back at the Lamplight Equestrian Center after nine years, and she looks forward to hopefully making it a regular stop on her show calendar. Saturday afternoon’s grand prix was a family affair, as VDL Wittinger was the sire for the third-place mount, Rodeo VDL.
Second place was ultimately awarded to Hammock and the 11-year-old Belgian Sporthorse mare for their quick and clear efforts. Rounding out the top three was Atkins and the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Rodeo VDL owned by Benchmark Stables LLC for their faultless time of 46.239 seconds.
The final day of competition at the 2019 Chicago Festival of the Horse will take place on Sunday, August 10, with the $10,000 Hollow Brook Wealth Management SJHF Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic wrapping up jumper classes in the Grand Prix Arena. For more information about the Equifest show series or the Lamplight Equestrian Center, visit www.lamplightequestriancenter.com
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Amanda Flint – $25,000 Prix De Lamplight winner
On VDL Wittinger:
“I’ve had him a few years, and every time I think I’m retiring him we win something! He’s a bit quirky, definitely has his own way of doing things and what he likes and doesn’t like. If he’s on and wants to win then he usually can.”
On the first round:
“For my first horse [Hudson VDL] it rode a little big because he’s only 7 years old, but for VDL Wittinger it was nice and easy. He goes to Kentucky next week, so we wanted to have a nice jump before that. I thought the course was well-built and good for the field we had today, I think he got the right number clean.
On the jump-off:
“Going into the jump-off, I thought I could do one less stride than [Tiffany Hammack] from the first to the second fence, and I realized I couldn’t. [VDL Wittinger] helped me out and was really good.”
On showing at Lamplight:
“I haven’t been here in nine years, but I grew up doing the short stirrup here. Hoping to come back next year!”
$25,000 Prix de Lamplight:
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Faults / Time / R2 Faults / Time
1. VDL Wittinger / Amanda Flint / Amanda Flint / 0 / 81.567 / 0 / 45.011
2. Crack Elle Chavannaise / Tiffany Hammack / Beyaert Farm Inc. / 0 / 77.769 / 0 / 45.350
3. Rodeo VDL / Liz Atkins / Benchmark Stables LLC / 0 / 78.961 / 0 / 46.239
4. Escada 289 / Taylor McMurtry / Taylor McMurtry / 0 / 79.737 / 0 / 49.242
5. Casisus 74 / Stephen Foran / Freedom Woods / 0 / 77.057 / 4 / 44.098
6. Chagrand / Michael Burnett / Michael Burnett / 0 / 76.615 / 4 / 47.717
7. Cooper 152 / Stephan Foran / Alice Neild / 0 / 80.815 / 4 / 48.705
8. Emma-Lee / Stefanie Collier / The C and C Group / 0 / 74.419 / 9 / 52.499
9. Ypsilon / Shannon Hicks / Helen Gilbert / 2 / 83.752
10. Clearwater 5 / Shannon Hicks / Helen Gilbert / 4 / 75.966
11. Zephyr / Elizabeth Lang / Elizabeth Lang / 4 / 76.481
12. Freaky Liefhebber / Jacqueline Steffens / Jacqueline Steffens / 4 / 78.022