Gulfport, Miss. – Mar. 18, 2018 – The grand finale of the 2018 Gulf Coast Winter Classic, the $25,000 Beau Rivage Resort and Casino Grand Prix took place Sunday. Despite the weather, the competition went off as scheduled on the world class grass grand prix field.
“It was raining pretty hard and honestly, you weren’t slipping at all on the field,” commented Shannon Hicks.
Liz Atkins of Hampshire, Illinois and Benchmark Stables, LLC’s Rodeo VDL were the first horse and rider to tackle the course designed by Paul Jewel of Lambertville, New Jersey. The pair went clear in 75.433 seconds, well within the time allowed of 84 seconds.
Dallas, Texas’ Gabby Walley, in the irons of her own PM Jaguar followed and also went clear in a time of 80.222 seconds.
Their round was followed by yet another clear, this time by Happy Comly of Sachse, Texas and Comley Sport Horses’ Clock-Wise CSH, in 73.756 seconds. Hicks and Helen Gilbert’s Emir D followed with their clear first round in a time of 79.916 seconds.
Alpharetta, Georgia’s Christina Fisher and her own Conero followed with a clear round in a time of 80.921 seconds and Atkins returned to the field, this time in the irons of Benchmark Stables, LLC’s Carletta and turned in the last clear first round in a time of 76.980 seconds.
A sudden weather turn intensified the rain and management opted not to hold the jump off round and award the class based on the first round results. Since all were clear, the prize money was split among them. “The rounds were clear, but unfortunately, the skies were not. We saw more weather coming in and we just decided to pin it off the first round,” commented Gulf Coast Classic Company President Bob Bell. “The horses jumped incredibly well. This was a group decision between the riders and management and everyone was happy with it,” said Bell.
Hicks commented, “Everything was just so wet and the real issue was visibility! I was very pleased with the decision not to hold a jump off. Show management was sensitive to the safety and well-being of the horses and riders and the decision was a good one,” she added.
“We had an amazing run here this year,” continued Hicks. “We went double clear in every grand prix. Emir was amazing and we also had three other circuit champions. Vegas Degravalo was the 3’3″ Large Junior Hunter Champion, Addico was Medium Jr. Amateur Jumper Champion and Emir was Grand Prix Circuit Champion,” she said. “We will be here again next year!” she added.
Title sponsor, Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi is a world class resort and casino, complete with beautiful lodging overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. The Beau Rivage Resort and Casino is elegant, sophisticated and offers world class shopping, restaurants and gaming. The Gulf Coast Classic Company appreciates their continued support.
Liz Atkins Takes Top Four Placings in the $7,500 Welcome
Week VI wrapped up the jumper competition on a good note for Liz Atkins Benchmark Stables, LLC’s Rodeo VDL when they galloped to the win in the $7,500 Welcome, besting a field of ten horse and riders.
Atkins was the only rider to pilot three mounts to a second round opportunity where the time allowed was set at 43 seconds.
Her first ride, her own Good Vision went clear in a time of 33.710 seconds and set the pace. She beat that time with her next ride, Benchmark Stables’ Undine in a time of 32.864 seconds. Her final ride, Benchmark Stables, LLC’s Rodeo VDL cleared the timers in 31.964 seconds and took the class, leaving her with a trifecta win with Undine in second place and Good Vision in third. She also rode Benchmark Stables’ to a fourth place finish for their fault free first round in a time of 78.090 seconds.
Fifth place was awarded to Christina Fisher of Alpharetta, Georgia and her own Conero. The pair earned one time fault in their otherwise clear first round in a time of 83.326 seconds.
Happy Comly and Comly Sport Horses’ Clock-Wise CSH took home sixth place for their four fault first round effort in a time of 77.134 seconds.
Fellow Texan, Dallas’ Gabby Walley and her own FM Jaguar earned a seventh place ribbon for their four fault first round in at time of 78.188 seconds. Comly returned for an eighth place ribbon with her own A & B Balthazar for their four fault first round effort in a time of 79.251 seconds and Isabella Bleu Baxter of Wright City, Missouri wrapped up the class with a ninth place finish in the irons of her own Jahil after posting a first round effort in a time of 86.249 which earned them four time faults.