Temecula, Calif. – May 23, 2018 – The second installment of the Temecula Valley National Horse Show series commenced Wednesday morning, with a record number of horses stabled at Galway Downs to compete in Nilforushan Equisport Events’ inaugural circuit. With an even larger field in each class than Week 1 due to heightened entries, competition was in no short supply in any ring. The Audi Grand Prix Arena hosted day one’s big winner John Pearce, who rode Firestone S and Chantico to the greatest payout of the day as the $5,000 Moon Valley Nursery 1.35m Welcome Stake champion and runner-up, while Hugh Mutch and Not To Worry rode to the early lead in the Performance 3’6” Hunter division with two blue ribbons over fences.
Facing a large field of contenders, entries in the $5,000 Moon Valley Nursery 1.35m Welcome Stake couldn’t afford a mistake during the first go around course designer Frédéric Cottier’s (FRA) 13-effort track if they hoped to earn a spot in the victory gallop. With 17 pairs mastering the course and staying in the ring for an immediate jump-off after a clean first trip, riding the abridged track conservatively was not an option. Second in the ring, Mandy Porter and WT Ca Pow! were the early pathfinders, crossing the timers in a quick jump-off time of 29.119 seconds to set the standard for the rest of the class. Porter and Wild Turkey Farm, LLC’s gelding enjoyed a 10-trip lead, but were eventually overtaken by John Pearce and Nicole Teague’s Firestone S with a fiery time of 27.805 seconds. Nine more horse-and-rider combinations qualified for the second phase of riding, with only Pearce himself even coming close to breaking the beam quick enough.
Riding his own Chantico, Pearce was one of the last of the field still in the hunt for the lead. Slicing around turns in the jump-off, he and 13-year-old Chantico ultimately crossed the finish line in a quick and clear 28.596 seconds, earning the pair second position with only a few left to ride. With the remaining contenders dropping rails, Pearce was solidified as the one-two winner of the $5,000 Moon Valley Nursery 1.35m Welcome Stake during Week II. Ariel Black and Eminent, owned by David Murdoch, clinched the third position with a double clean ride in 28.902 seconds.
Earlier in the day, hunter competitors were eager to head into the grass Grand Hunter Arena to kick-off competition. Hugh Mutch aboard Sarah Hellman’s Not To Worry led the way in the Performance 3’6” Hunter division after topping the leaderboard in both over fences rounds. Making the long drive from San Francisco, California, the talented gelding is a new mount for Mutch, and he aims to maintain his status atop the judge’s card Thursday to clinch the tricolor.
Coming in second behind the pair in the first over fences round was Peter Lombardo on Skyline, owned by Kristi Siam, and in third place was Gabriella Zupancic on Swagger. In the second over fences round, Gary Striker rode Carson Wayte’s Carpaccio into second place and Nick Haness on At Last, owned by Ally Marrinan, earned the yellow ribbon.
In the Green 3’6”/3’9” Hunter division, Jenny Karazissis rode to the lead on Dulcie Lou Morris’ Big Shot after placing first and second in the first over fences classes. Following closely behind in the standings is Lombardo on Skyline, who will try to overtake the early leaders Thursday after winning and placing third in the over fences classes during their second division of the day.
The Temecula Valley National Horse Show will return to Galway Downs for the second day of riding Thursday, with the $30,000 Voltaire 1.40 – 1.45m Speed Classic taking center stage in addition to the first batch of hunter champions being crowned.
FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE
John Pearce – $5,000 Moon Valley Nursery 1.35m Welcome Stake champion
On the two horses he competed:
“The horse that I won on, I got him a few months ago. He is a nice horse and has a good show record. I am learning the partnership with him and it is going very well so far. Chantico, I have had for a while and brought him along pretty much from scratch. He didn’t start jumping until he was 8 years old and he is 13 years old now. I have brought him up the ranks and we have won a couple grand prix.”
On winning both first and second place:
“I am one of those people that go in and does the best I can do and hope that I get the best result. I didn’t feel like I had to win today, it just happened to be. I’m a competitor by nature and every time I go in the ring, no matter what class, I try to win. I didn’t really have a plan to win, I just always plan to win.”
On if his first ride influenced his ride on Chantico:
“They are like apples to oranges. The second horse I rode is a bit of a difficult horse at the best of times, especially the first day in a new environment. He can be very difficult to ride and very spooky and temperamental. It’s like opening a box of cracker jacks with him because I never know what I am going to get day to day. It’s hard to plan with a horse like that. But he gave me a nice first round so I knew he would give me a decent jump-off.”
On supporting the Temecula Valley National Horse Show:
“The biggest reason is that Southern California is in dire need of a new venue. We have some good venues but they are overused. It’s really nice to have a new atmosphere, venue and manager. Everything is different and new. Another reason is that Ali [Nilforushan] has a good attitude about making shows enjoyable for the exhibitors. He really wants to do the right thing and make shows more fun again. Growing up we used to have so much fun at shows. It wasn’t just about competing and winning; it was a lifestyle. I can see Ali trying to bring that back, which I really support. He’s a very enthusiastic young man. I also only live 15 minutes from here so it’s perfect. It wouldn’t matter if I was far away though, I would still come and support Ali and new venues. It’s something different. It’s a great location with lots of trees and the footing is wonderful.”
Hugh Mutch – Performance 3’6” Hunter leader
On winning both over fences classes on the grass ring:
“It’s nice riding on a grass field that has an uphill and downhill terrain. I am from Virginia so this type of riding comes very naturally for me. I worked for Rodney Jenkins for years and his farm in Orange, Virginia; it had a huge hill on it so I’m very comfortable in this terrain when a lot of people aren’t. It reminds me a little bit of Upperville [Colt & Horse Show] and it is so nice to be among trees and on grass. It isn’t something we see very often in Southern California.”
On competing at the Temecula Valley National Horse Show:
“I am so excited to have another venue here in California! It’s a long way for me, coming from San Francisco, but it is a first-class horse show. I really want to support Ali and his organization because I feel that he is trying to do great things for the sport — what he is trying to do for the exhibitors and the footing is as good as we have ever had in California. There are a lot more people here for this second set of shows and that is because he has proven that he can provide a first-class environment. We need more of those so we can get out of the same routine that Southern California has had with the shows that currently exist.”
On Not To Worry:
“This is a relatively new horse for me, and this is the first time that I have shown him in the 3’6” division. It was nice to have him go as well in the grass as he goes in the dirt. This horse has a mannerism and way of going that is very steady. He isn’t the traditional beautiful mover but he has presence across the ground and a big stride that worked in our advantage today.”
$5,000 Moon Valley Nursery 1.35m Welcome Stake
Place / Rider / Horse / Owner / R1 Faults / R2 Faults / Time
1. John Pearce / Firestone S / Nicole Teague / 0 / 0 / 27.805
2. John Pearce / Chantico / John Pearce / 0 / 0 / 28.596
3. Ariel Black / Eminent / David Murdoch / 0 / 0 / 28.902
4. Lindsay Archer / Jarpur / Rhys Farms / 0 / 0 / 29.055
5. Mandy Porter / WT Ca Pow! / Wild Turkey Farm, LLC / 0 / 0 / 29.119
6. Carolyn Salas / Acapulco / Dusty Blackwood / 0 / 0 / 29.828
7. Michelle Parker / Bella Sofia / Antonio Ramos / 0 / 0 / 29.833
8. Francie Nilforushan / Clarinius / Ali Nilforushan / 0 / 0 / 29.854