MIDAS IS GOLDEN! WINS THE $15,777 USHJA INTERNATIONAL HUNTER DERBY
The hunters were out in full force Week IV of the Gulf Coast Winter Classic in beautiful Gulfport, Mississippi. The $15,777 USHJA International Hunter Derby welcomed twenty four horse and rider teams to the beautiful grass grand prix field over a course designed by Nancy Wallis and Paul Jewell of Lambertville, New Jersey.
Accolade Farm’s Holly Shepherd aboard Margaret Camp’s Midas and Jordon Lubow riding her own Anthemis Z vied for the top honors in the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby.
Holly Shepherd and Midas, Photo by Alison Hartwell
Lubow and Anthemis Z won their first USHJA International Hunter Derby Week II of the Gulf Coast Winter Classic and were primed to try to add another to their roster of wins.
The Classic round saw Lubow and Anthemis Z take the lead with a score of 178 while Shepherd and Midas finished up their Classic round right behind them with a score of 176.5. Thom Brennan and Anita Ledsinger’s Able followed with less than a ten point spread with their Classic round score of 169 and Shepherd and Barbara Risius’ Longstreet earned a 166 as did Christina Fisher and her own Levland.
The bonus options made all the difference in the Handy Round. Shepherd and Midas earned 16 handy bonuses and 6 option bonus points for a total Handy Round score of 196. Lubow and Anthemis Z finished up only two points shy of the winning score after earning six option bonus points and 14 Handy bonus points for a total score of 371.5, finishing in second place.
“Midas is only 6 years old and this is only his 3rd Derby. He’s very handy and has a lot of heart. I knew my coach Dennis Murphy would want me to go for it and not hold back. Both Jordan and I had the same game plan,” said Shepherd.
Photo by Alison Hartwell
“The horses were good. They are both [Midas and Anthemis Z] super scopey and brave,” commented Shepherd. “There were more rails down as is expected as in any International Derby, but the course was just beautiful and the footing was great. There was a hard trot fence and the inside and outside options were all good. Honestly, I think the fact that I have a little more mileage in the jumper ring gave me the advantage. Jordan went around a jump whereas I took the inside turn. She [Jordan] rode really well and you could just hear how impressed the crowd was watching her go. It was just an excellent day for both of us, a spectacular day for the horses and I hope that we continue to be neck and neck in future derbies,” said Shepherd.
“Jordan has been an awesome addition to the Accolades team and her horse is something special. She rides so well and she really came to the right place at the right time,” said Shepherd.
MADDRIX RIDES CYPRESS TO WIN $3,000 MARSHALL & STERLING CLASSIC HUNTER DERBY
The popular $3,000 Marshall & Sterling Classic Hunter Derby welcomed sixteen horse and rider teams to the course. It was a battle between well-known hunter riders Tim Maddrix of Leeds, Alabama and Missy Nolen’s Cypress and derby queen Holly Shepherd of Grand Bay, Alabama in the irons of Amy Valiollahi’s Energia. Shepherd has won the Marshall & Sterling Classic Hunter Derby for three consecutive weeks.
Tim Maddrix and Cypress, Photo by Alison Hartwell
Shepherd and Energia were in the lead after the Classic round with a score of 85. Maddrix and Cypress followed them and posted a score of 88, setting the new lead. Shepherd and Energia earned a handy score of 83 and then last to go Maddrix aboard Cypress, finished with a handy score of 86, taking the blue ribbon and leaving Shepherd and Energia in second place.
Maddrix commented, “I didn’t really see Holly’s handy round. I knew we were really close in our classic scores, so I just went in and tried to be as handy as I could. I got the insider turn to the trot jump and that was pretty tricky but it worked out well for us,” he said.
Maddrix has been riding Cypress for two years and they have just started their third year together. “He [Cypress] does the conformation hunters and the adult amateurs with Missy Nolen. He’s a pretty solid horse and just beautiful. He really jumps better on the outside course and it was designed beautifully,” he added.
“I had never done a Marshall & Sterling Classic Hunter Derby before but we already jumped the lines in the international derby. We got to use the whole field and there was lots of room in between the jumps to get a good gallop going. The jumps were beautiful and the weather was perfect,” he said. “It was a great day.”