Temecula, Calif. – June 2, 2018 – Equestrian competition resumed at Galway Downs for the second-to-last day of the Temecula Valley National Horse Show series Saturday, with Mandy Porter adding to her recent streak of wins aboard Milano and WT Ca Pow! by securing the victory, a third-place finish and the main share of the purse in the $40,000 Aon Grand Prix as the week’s big winners. Across the showgrounds, the Grand Hunter Arena played host to the first half of the Amateur-Owner divisions, concluding with Amy Gallagher and Knockout in the early lead in the Amateur/Owner 3’3″ 36 & Over Hunters thanks to a series of strong performances over fences and in the hack, while Sarah Hellman and Not To Worry finished the day ahead of the rest in the Amateur-Owner 3’3”/3’6” 18-35 Hunter division.
During the $40,000 Aon Grand Prix, the highlight class of the week, Olaf Petersen, Jr.’s (GER) 16-effort track looked to be the most technical grand prix design of the three-week series, asking horses and riders to maneuver the sweeping 1.50m course within a tight 84-second time allowed. Fence 12, a liverpool oxer serving as the penultimate obstacle of the track, proved to be the bogey fence of the afternoon, with a sizable portion of the field clipping the front rail. Of the more than 30 hopeful entries, only an elite five pairs qualified for the jump-off with clean and clear first rides, led by Kenneth Vinther and his own Colicchio, Thursday’s $20,000 EquiFit 1.40m – 1.45m Jumper Classic champions, as the first pair to successfully leave the course intact.
Porter and Abigail Archer’s Milano, last weekend’s winners of the $60,000 KindredBio Grand Prix, followed suit to ensure a jump-off, and Shawn Casady aboard Highpoint Farm, LLC’s Durango VDL added their names to the list shortly thereafter. Solidifying herself as the best bet statistically to win, Porter navigated her second ride of the class, the Wild Turkey Farm, LLC’s Week II $30,000 Voltaire 1.40 – 1.45m Speed Classic champion WT Ca Pow!, to a clear round, while the final challengers of the evening, Lindsey Archer and Rhys Farms’ Jarpur, rounded out the talented field of short course contenders.
Knowing that a skilled and accomplished pack of competitors would be chasing them down, Vinther and Colicchio completed Petersen, Jr.’s lengthy 9-fence jump-off course in a brisk time of 46.876 seconds, riding to a fault-free trip to set the bar high for the remaining duos. Though Vinther and Colicchio looked to have completed the tightest rollback turn possible from fence 5b to fence six, followed by a bold gallop to the final oxer, Porter and Milano quickly snatched away the early leaders’ hope of victory with an even faster clear trip in 45.873 seconds, one whole second quicker. Casady and Archer attempted to surpass Porter and Milano’s breakneck time, and although they left all the rails in the cups, they were not able to make the time.
Guaranteed the win, Porter returned to the Audi Grand Prix Arena with the reins aboard WT Ca Pow! to determine which of her mounts would nab the top spot. Adding the fifth and final double-clear trip of the night, Porter and WT Ca Pow! crossed the finish line in a more conservative 47.734 seconds to clinch the third place overall. Sandwiched between Porter’s two top placings was owner-rider Vinther and Colicchio, who maintained their status to finish as the reserve champions.
Prior to the feature class of the evening in the Audi Grand Prix Arena, California-based Larry Langer of Langer Equestrian Group was awarded a commemorative plaque mirroring that of the one added in his honor to the Show Jumping Hall of Fame by Ali Nilforushan, the President of Nilforushan Equisport Events.
After sweeping red ribbons in all three phases of Saturday’s Amateur-Owner 3’3″ 36 & Over Hunters division, Amy Gallagher and Knockout will be heading into the final day of competition in the lead. Gallagher made the long haul from Scottsdale, Arizona, to debut her new 7-year-old Warmblood gelding in the first competition in their partnership and they started off with a bang.
In the Amateur-Owner 3’3”-3’6” 18-35 Hunter division, Sarah Hellman of Sonoma, California, rode her 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding Not To Worry to the top of the leaderboard in both of the over fences rounds and third place in the under saddle phase. After purchasing Not To Worry last September, Hellman gained experience with him during the winter season in Wellington, Florida, and they have flourished as a duo.
The Temecula Valley National Horse Show III will return Sunday to Galway Downs for the final day of competition of the series. Prize money will be abundant, with plenty of classics offered for both hunters and jumpers of all levels to conclude the third week of the circuit.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Mandy Porter – $40,000 Aon Grand Prix Champion
On her strategy in the jump-off:
“The strategy after watching Kenneth [Vinther] go, was to go quite fast. He had an amazing tight turn so I knew that I had to go fast. That was my goal on Milano, and on WT Ca Pow! I wanted to go fast but not rush him because he doesn’t quite have that experience yet and I didn’t want to overface him.”
On her winning streak at the Temecula Valley National Horse Show:
“I feel very, very lucky. I have great horses and a great team backing me including great sponsors and owners. I can’t complain.”
On the $40,000 Aon Grand Prix course:
“I think the track was a little trickier than we have seen here previously. The oxers were a little wider and there were a couple of careful spots you needed to be aware of. The jump-off also had some long runs which often aren’t what makes me the most comfortable, but I am trying to get better at it and I thought Olaf [Petersen, Jr.] did a nice job and there was a good number in the jump-off.”
Olaf Petersen, Jr. – $40,000 Aon Grand Prix Course Designer
On his course design:
“In the 1.40m Jumpers I could see that we had some really strong horse-and-rider combinations, and we had a nice result with 11 pairs in the jump-off, so now was the time to raise up the level a little bit, which is the target now in California. With a course like this [in $40,000 Aon Grand Prix], I didn’t give them much time to think in between fences. I really want them to have a plan when they come in. I think everything will be difficult with the narrow jumps, light rails, the challenge of the triple bar with the solid rails – the horses won’t really be able to see the middle – and the triple combination, but I don’t think that I built the triple combination in a way that will be too challenging on this track. It is my hope that we have nice, fluid riding and good sport.”
On his opinion of the Temecula Valley National Horse Show:
“This is one of the nicest shows that I have been to. There is amazing footing – one of the best I’ve seen – and they really take good care of it and maintain it well. The size of the ring is very nice and compact for a grand prix, and the jumps are nice and more narrow than normal jumps, which for me reflects the more modern aspects of our sport. You can see it in Aachen, on the big field, where there are some narrow jumps because the horses jump more carefully. Also, as a course designer, it gives me more opportunities to design a good course.”
Amy Gallagher – Amateur-Owner 3’3″ 36 & Over Hunters leader
On her rounds:
“This is the first time I’ve ever shown him, I got him several months ago. The first round was more consistent, the second round I had variants in my pace. He has spectacular form, so I have no concerns with his ability. It has to do with regulating his pace – because he’s so green we either have too much or not enough, so it’s just managing that and having him be comfortable.”
On what makes Knockout special:
“He is very honest. He’s green, but he has a big heart. He’s a lot of fun to ride and has a lot of jump. He comes from a very good bloodline, so that’s why we got him. His personality is great, he’s very kind and forgiving. He loves his job!”
On the Temecula Valley National Horse Show:
“It’s a beautiful facility and it’s been very well managed. This is our first time here so we are just taking it all in. It’s very well organized and the surrounding area is beautiful.”
Sarah Hellman – Amateur-Owner 3’3”/3’6” 18-35 Hunters leader
On her rounds:
“I feel really good. He was such a good boy. This is our second week out here and he was wonderful in the grass. I haven’t ridden on grass a ton, being from California. It’s so nice to come out here to ride in a grass arena and have it go so well. I’m really looking forward to many years with him to come.”
On Not To Worry:
“He is very even-keeled. He is a fantastic babysitter for me as an amateur. He is so good to me. We will be coming up to a jump and he will see one distance and I’ll see another. He’ll go with mine and make it beautiful, that’s what I love about him.”
On competing at the Temecula Valley National Horse Show:
“I had not competed here earlier this year, but my sister did in April. She loved it and I wanted to see what the new show in California was all about. I’m so glad that I did! It’s a fantastic show.”
$40,000 Aon Grand Prix
Place / Rider / Horse / Owner / R1 Faults / R2 Faults / JO Time
1. Mandy Porter / Milano / Abigail Archer / 0 / 0 / 45.873
2. Kenneth Vinther / Colicchio / Kenneth Vinther / 0 / 0 / 46.876
3. Mandy Porter / WT Ca Pow! / Wild Turkey Farm LLC / 0 / 0 / 47.734
4. Lindsey Archer / Jarpur / Rhys Farms / 0 / 0 / 48.742
5. Shawn Casady / Durango VDL / High Point Farm LLC / 0 / 0 / 49.718
6. Shawn Casady / Cicomein / HKC Collection LLC / 4 / 80.066
7. Michelle Parker / Cupilor / Cross Creek Farms Inc. / 4 / 80.506
8. Mitchell Endicott / Ideal de la Hasse / Alex Trubey / 4 / 81.248
9. Natalie Dean / Chacco’s Goldy / Natalie Dean / 4 / 81.330
10. Shota Ogomori / SIG Rooney IV / SIG International / 4 / 82.776
11. Molly Talla / Complete Luck / Molly Talla / 4 / 83.531
12. John Pearce / Firestone S / Nicole Teague / 4 / 83.650