Jumpers converged at HITS Post Time Farm on Sunday in Week IV of the Ocala Winter Circuit to compete for the money and a blue-ribbon victory in the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix, $7,500 U-Dump Jr/A-O Classic and the $1,000 S.A. Comunale Adult Jumper Classic.
$50,000 HITS Grand Prix
The $50,000 HITS Grand Prix featured an international group of riders on Sunday. Isabelle Lapierre of Levis, Quebec, riding her own Cescha M, was the faster of only two double clears to take home the blue. German native Matthias Hollberg from Middleburg, Virginia, riding Aletta, owned by Olympic Dreams LLC was second. Mathew Williams, from Wellington, Florida, a two-time Olympian for the Australian team was third on Zephyr, owned by Michael Dorman & Wyndmont, Inc, and fifth riding Valinski S for the same owner. Andre Thieme from Plau am See, Germany was fourth on his own Cellisto.
Forty-three riders contested Sunday’s Grand Prix held in the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium. Olaf Petersen, Jr., from Muenchen, Germany, designed a course of 16 jumping efforts set at 1.50 meters. The course challenged the skills of both horse and rider with multiple striding options and wide spreads followed by balancing distances.
First to test the shortened course was Williams on Valinski S. They had a rail at fence 11B for four faults in a time of 42.791. Next up, was Thieme on Cellisto. The winner of the Saugerties $1 Million Grand Prix and the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix in Ocala, had four faults and a time of 42.675 to take over the early lead.
Andrew Kocher of Lake St. Louis, Missiouri, on Ora Del Te Di La San Giorgio owned by the Ora del te LLC, had the second and third fences down for eight faults in a time of 42.298 to take seventh-place. Holloway followed and had a rail both A and B of the combination, to finish with eight faults in a quick time of 41.465 to take sixth.
Three remained in the jump-off and still no one was clear, until Hollberg stepped in to the ring on Aletta. The partnership with the 11-year-old Dutch mare is only four weeks old, but the team looked seasoned as they jumped the first clear round in a time of 45.551 to set the Great American Time to Beat.
Williams returned on his second horse, Zephyr and easily had the time, in 42.603, but a rail at the second fence gave him and the third- place finish.
Last to go was LaPierre aboard Cescha M. “I always do well when I get to go at the end, I know my horse is fast so I wasn’t thinking about going fast I was just thinking about going clear,” said LaPierre.
The pair galloped to a clean round and the victory in 43.528 seconds, as the crowd cheered for another great finish.
$50,000 HITS Grand Prix
Place/Horse/Owner/Rider/Prize/R.1/Faults JO/Faults/JO Time
1 Cescha M/Isabelle LaPierre/Isabelle LaPierre/$15,000/-/-/43.568
2 Aletta/Olympic Dreams LLC/Matthias Hollberg/$11,000/-/-/45.551
3 Zephyr/Michael Dorman Wyndmont/Matthew Williams/$6,500/-/4/42.603
4 Cellisto/Andre Thieme/Andre Thieme/$4,000/-/4/42.675
5 Valinski S/Michael Dorman Wyndmont/Matthew Williams/$3,000/-/4/42.791
6 VDL Bravo S/Hays Investment Corp/Hunter Holloway/$2,500/-/8/41.465
7 OraDelTe Di La SanGiorgio/Ora Del Te LLC/Andrew Kocher/$2,000/-/8/42.298
8 Spirit of Alena/Thinkslikeahorse/Aaron Vale/$1,500/4/-/-
9 Bon Giorno/Showcase 81 LLC/Bryn Sadler/$1,500/4/-/-
10 Liratus/Devin Ryan/Devin Ryan/$1,000/4/-/-
11 Le Conte/Andrew Kocher/Andrew Kocher/$1,000/4/-/-
12 Quidams Good Luck/Troy Glaus/Aaron Vale/$1,000/4/-/-