Twenty-seven horse and rider combinations came to play on the grass field at the Del Mar Horse Park in the Thursday afternoon $25,000 Markel Insurance 1.45m Jumper Classic. An impressive group, eleven of the pairs cleared the first round fault-free, and returned for a thrilling jump-off. Six riders finished double clean, but Keri Potter and Hannah Loly’s Ariell La Sirene were the fastest, beating second place finishers Bjorn Ikast and Classini by a mere .011 seconds. Julia Nagler and her own mount Patrol V topped the concurrent $2,500 Blenheim EquiSports U25 Jumper Classic.
The track, engineered by FEI course designer Catsy Cruz of Mexico, involved forward lines and delicate combinations, as well as a triple bar set on the far side of the field.
Fifth to go in the jump-off, Potter had a plan. She rode Ariell La Sirene with speed and agility, slicing rollback turns and galloping between jumps, stopping the clock over a second faster than the leading time.
“This particular jump-off, I really only had two turns where I could make up time,” said Potter. “I tried, on both of those turns, to really cut them more than I had seen other riders do.”
Her strategic approach made the speedy pair difficult to catch, though Ikast made an excellent effort.
Two qualifiers remain in the Markel Insurance 1.45m Grand Prix Series, where the 25 riders who have earned the most points for the season are invited to the Markel Insurance 1.45m Series Final at The Las Vegas National, CSI 4*-W.
Julia Nagler Again Tops the $2,500 Blenheim U25 Jumper Classic
Fresh off a win in last week’s U25 Jumper Classic, Julia Nagler and Patrol V finished with four faults to pick up the top prize in the U25 and ninth place in the Markel Insurance Jumper Classic. The U25 division will conclude at the Blenheim Fall Tournament in September with the $20,000 Blenheim EquiSports U25 Championship Classic.
Stay tuned for more action in the jumper arena this week, with the $50,000 1.50m Grand Prix of Showpark, presented by EquiJet, on Saturday afternoon.