Saugerties, NY – August 4, 2017 – Thirty-eight vied for victory in today’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix at HITS-on-the-Hudson VI. Of the 38-entries in the First Round, twelve mastered fault-free performances, three of which belonged to Laura Chapot.
The First Round consisted of 12-elements, including both a Triple and a Double Combination, with a total of 15 jumping efforts. For the shortened course, Mark McGowan of Great Britain, HITS VI Course Designer, opened the eight-jump track with fence number 10 from the First Round, a big orange-white-and-blue railed oxer flanked in HITS Endurance standards. Each of the competitors rode strong to this wide Square Oxer which faced directly at the VIP Pavilion, followed by a hard right turn to the Ice Cream Cone vertical, which had been 11b in the First Round. After the Ice Cream Cone vertical, competitors were presented with a hard choice – whether or not to roll-back to the big Antares oxer by cutting in between the Horseflight vertical and the Ice Cream Cone standards, or the safest route around the Horseflight oxer to get a direct, straight line to the Antares oxer. After the Antares oxer, the track then rolled back to 4b and c from the original Triple Combination, followed by a long gallop across the Stadium and a hard right turn away from the in-gate to a bold yellow Square Oxer framed with scenes from an African Safari. The last two fences in the Jump-off, the blue-and-white Smartpak vertical followed by a hard left to the final fence, the Horseware Ireland Oxer, proved the trickiest as it faced the Leader Board where Riders could clearly see their victory, or not.
First to re-enter the ring was Laura Chapot and Thornhill Kate, one of her three Jump-off rides. The powerful pair and had a rail at the first fence, then, uncharacteristically, caught another rail, and so fell the hopes of this win.
Next, Juan Manuel Luzardo of Uruguay entered the Stadium aboard his stately dark bay Quidandro. Luzardo opted for the inside hairpin turn from the Ice Cream Cone Vertical to scale the Antares Oxer. When the clock stopped in 42.791, he had managed to shave a full second off Chapot’s wider track with Thornhill Kate in 43.985 seconds.
Third in the Stadium for the Jump-off proved a charm for David Raposa who piloted Iliona, a feisty dark chestnut Mare, into the lead with a smooth and fault-free round in 43.477-seconds.
The next four entries each collected four faults, until Emir, ridden by John Perez, wowed onlookers as they floated high above the rails in an exquisite demonstration of scope to jump clean in a time of 48.500 and move into second place with three more to go.
When Cassandra Kahle atop Wallstreet entered the Stadium, the pair revved up as they approached fence one, then kept the accelerator engaged to the echoes of ‘Gallop gallop, gallop!’, resonating from coach Emil Spadone. Kahle finished in 42.417 seconds to tak the lead and raised the bar for the two remaining and formidable competitors, Dorothy Douglas and Laura Chapot.
Douglas, atop S & L Elite caught a rail at the Ice Cream Cone Vertical which the left the door open for Chapot and her longtime partner, Quointreau Un Prince, a Selle Francais gelding she co-owns with McClain Ward.
From the moment Chapot set foot in the Stadium, silence befell the crowd as she and Quointreau Un Prince got away with a few hard rubs before they stopped the clock in 40.365 seconds for the win.
After the win presentation, Chapot treated her Prince to handful of peppermints. Of his performance, Chapot remarked, ‘Well, my horse was just super in the jump-off, he really lit up. It was obviously a fast class at the end, and we really had to go for broke and he really came through especially at the that last turn to the final oxer.
Today’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix marked the third major win at HITS-on-the-Hudson VI for Chapot who on Wednesday, won the $5,000 Johnson Open Welcome on Umberto, and placed second on Thornhill Kate. On Thursday, Chapot won the $10,000 Kindred Bio Jumper Classic Out of Ireland, as well as collecting second, fourth, and fifth prizes.
Press release: HITS, Inc.
Photos: ESI Photography