Saugerties, NY – July 29, 2017 – Forty-five horses and riders turned out to compete for the top prize in Friday’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix at HITS-on-the-Hudson V.
Of the 45-entries, 15 mastered fault-free performances in the first-round which consisted of 12-elements with 15 jumping efforts. For the shortened course, Course Designer Florencio Hernandez of Mexico City, Mexico, introduced two new jumps bookending a seven-stride line placed in the center of the Grand Prix Stadium; fence 14, a vertical, and fence 15, an oxer. The approach to fence 14 followed a tight right-hand rollback away from the in gate; this three-rail vertical toppled more than any other in the eight obstacle jump-off.
First to re-enter the ring was Laura Chapot and Calafornia, the first of her two jump-off rides. They set the pace with a fault-free round in 42.748 seconds. Brian Moggre and Condero 3, second in the order-of-go, rode a tighter track and stopped the clock at 42.359 to take the lead. Moggre held the top spot until Chapot returned aboard her longtime partner Quointreau Un Prince and reclaimed the lead by a half-second margin in a time of 41.967 seconds.
When Kevin Babington galloped Double O Seven 7 through the start timer the big grey crossed the ground with a confident and swift turn of foot. Double O Seven 7 rose high over the first two jumps of the opening line. Then Babington gathered him in hand and hustled him through the mid-course rollbacks and turns. At the jumps, Double O Seven 7 focused and powered off the ground with an impeccable carefulness. Spectators held their breath as the dynamic pair accelerated through the last long gallop to a short left-hand turn to scale the final jump. When Babington and Double O Seven 7 patted the ground after clearing the massive blue and white SmartPak Oxer, the crowd erupted in cheers, and Babington’s wife and daughter high-fived at the sidelines. The clock stopped at 41.170 seconds. Babington had captured the lead.
Seven more riders would have a go at the course, including Moggre on his second mount, MTM Flutterby, a feisty chestnut mare who flew like an acrobat, slicing and twisting over jumps, and pivoting on a dime. It looked as if Moggre might have regained the lead, but the clock told another story with a time of 41.544 seconds, just fast enough for second.
Only one rider remained in the order with the opportunity to take away Babington’s lead, Tracy Fenney and her magnificent dappled grey MTM Reve Du Paradis. The twosome soared high through the air and turned in a clear round in 41.811 seconds to clinch third place.
The win was the second of the week for Babington and Double O Seven 7. The speedy pair won the $5,000 Johnson Horse Transportation Open Welcome on Wednesday.
Compared to the Open Welcome, Babington commented, “I thought he jumped just as well today, but he improved in the jump-off. In fact, he was super in the jump-off. He was a little bit on the muscle in the First Round from having run in the jump-off for the Welcome Stake the other day. This time, when he came back for the jump-off he really settled — and he really jumped super.”
Only fractions of seconds separated the top four competitors. Of this, Babington remarked, “I think it was such a fast class that I couldn’t overthink it. I just had to go in and go as fast as I possibly could and pray that the rails stayed up.”
Originally from Tipperary, Ireland, Babington is an Irish International Show Jumping rider and trainer who has successfully taken part in many major competitions, including the Olympics, World Equestrian Games, and European Championships.
$25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Owner R1 / TA:90 / JO / TA:57
1. Double O Seven 7 / Kevin Babington / IRL / Katznelson Jumpers LLC / 0 / 84.340 / 0 / 41.170
2. MTM Flutterby / Brian Moggre / USA / Major Wager LLC / 0 / 86.389 / 0 / 41.544
3. MTM Reve Du Paradis / Tracy Fenney / USA / MTM Farm / 0 / 86.768 / 0 / 41.811
4. Quointreau Un Prince / Laura Chapot / USA / Laura Chapot & McLain Ward / 0 / 82.474 / 0 / 41.967
5. Condero 3 / Brian Moggre / USA / DDM Equestrian, LLC / 0 / 86.438 / 0 / 42.359
6. Calafornia / Laura Chapot / USA / Mary & Laura Chapot / 0 / 82.335 / 0 / 42.748
7. ILIONA / David Raposa / USA / Donald Stewart / 0 / 87.347 / 0 / 43.494
8. STAKKO / Aaron Vale / USA / Thinkslikeahorse / 0 / 85.002 / 0 / 48.636
9. Quidandro / Juan Manuel Luzardo / MEX / Mauricio Guerra Colorado / 0 / 85.879 / 4 / 42.041
10. Canamera 2 / Peter Wylde / USA / Kathleen Kamine / 0 / 84.867 / 4 / 43.358
11. MTM Como No / Tracy Fenney / USA / MTM Farm / 0 / 85.893 / 4 / 43.468
12. Wallstreet / Cassandra Kahle / CAN / Redfield Farm / 0 / 88.285 / 4 / 43.723