Wellington, FL – Kaitlin Campbell and longtime mount Rocky W added another win to their extensive partnership, as the duo captured the $25,000 Equiline Holiday I Grand Prix on Sunday, December 13, at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).
Campbell, of Springfield, PA, and Rocky W crossed through the timers in 52.192 seconds to take the lead from Irish rider Darragh Kenny and Zabel D who finished in 54.507 seconds, while Abigail McArdle, of St. Charles, IL, and Harriri V.D. Maltahoeve collected third place honors with a time of 54.87 seconds. Competition at PBIEC will continue today with the start of the ESP Holiday II including the $10,000 Pony Up Treats Open Stake and the $25,000 Pony Up Treats Holiday II Grand Prix on Thursday, December 17.
Campbell and her own Rocky W, a 1998 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Libero H x Mona Liza), made easy work of the first round track, set by Hector Loyola (PRI), and dashed to an exciting finish in the jump-off round, where the duo finished nearly two seconds faster than Kenny and Zabel D. With a knack for finding the fastest routes on course, Campbell commented that Rocky W’s ability to cover ground and remain balanced through tight turns offered her the opportunity to push for the win.
This is his first big class down here and he’s usually pretty on it when he knows we’re back in the International Ring. He was being incredibly careful today. I knew that I could go for it and he would stay off the rails,” commented Campbell. “He’s so quick though the turns that you really only need to think turn and he’ll get there. He was really fast through the second turn and I think that’s where we made up the time.”
The duo have been together for quite some time, earning a number of top wins including the $25,000 Nutrena® Grand Prix hosted at PBIEC in March 2015. As Rocky continues to be competitive at the top levels of the sport, Campbell is sure to keep her partner’s happiness and well being a priority. She explained, “I try not to waste classes and jumps on him. We don’t jump at home too much and I always try to pick classes where I know he can be successful,” explained Campbell. “I’m not aiming him for 5* Grand Prix classes. It’s more about finding classes that I know he can succeed in. It keeps him mentality sharp.”
After an incredibly successful career together, Campbell and Rocky W have established a bond, which allows them to fully trust each other when taking risks on course. Campbell’s gutsy ride through the jump-off round showcased the duo’s relationship and proved rewarding, as they secured another grand prix win at PBIEC. The experience the pair has gained together throughout the years has been incredibly beneficial and Campbell hopes to continue their success this season.
“He knows he’s the best in the barn and sometimes takes advantage of it,” laughed Campbell. “We’ll do some of the smaller FEI Speed classes this year because I don’t want to push him and over face him. He’s so fast that I think they’ll be a perfect fit for him. We’ll see how he’s feeling throughout circuit and play it from there,” she continued.
Darragh Kenny and Zabel D Take $10,000 Open Stakes Class
Darragh Kenny capped a banner weekend with Zabel D, owned by Kerry Anne, LLC, after the duo captured the $10,000 Open Stakes class on Friday, December 11, and then placed second in the $25,000 Equiline Holiday I Grand Prix on Sunday.
The duo took top honors in the $10,000 Open Stake with a time of 42.318 seconds, finishing the class with one of four double clear trips. Peter Wylde aboard Aimee finished in 43.862 seconds, while Heather Caristo Williams and Cosmopolitan 30 rounded out the top three with a time of 46.00 seconds.
Final Results for $25,000 Equiline Holiday I Grand Prix
CHRISTOPH SCHROEDER, Marion Heard: 0/4/59.339
Competition at PBIEC continues today with the start of the ESP Holiday II Series, which will conclude on Thursday, December 17. The ESP Holiday III Series will begin on Friday, December 18, and conclude on Sunday, December 20. Please visit www.pbiec.com for a full weekly schedule of competition events and to view daily results.