Saugerties, NY (July 27, 2016): When Liubov Kochetova entered the Grand Prix Stadium atop URUS Z on Sunday, July 23, she was the seventh and final rider to advance into the Jump-Off for the $50,000 Horze Equestrian Grand Prix. She would need to be quick and clear to beat the only double clear round. URUS Z was her second mount over the shortened course. Aboard VENENO, three rides earlier, she had collected four faults, which had placed her fourth.
The shortened course, set by Bernardo Costa Cabral of Lisbon, Portugal, proved daunting to several top High Performance riders resulting in an uncharacteristic fall which eliminated Tracey Fenney. Then Laura Chapot collected an unusual 19 faults, and both Roberto Teran and Shawn Casady had 4 faults. Only Debbie McCarthy Connor aboard ZIM were fault-free in the Jump-Off.
Kochetova and URUS Z have now been together for four years, so they know each other pretty well. What appeared challenging to the previous contenders was made to look easy by Kochetova and URUS Z as the pair moved in perfect unison over the shortened Track which had a series of inside turn options, coupled with long gallops. Kochetova’s close relationship with URUS Z gave her the confidence to choose steep angles across jumps to help shave seconds off their time. As the finish neared, onlookers held their breath as Kochetova accelerated through the latter half of the course to finally soar high above the last jump, a massive oxer, to stop the clock in 44.909 seconds, for the win.
“He is amazing. He jumped clean both Friday, and today,” remarked Kochetova. “He feels good and loves this big arena. I am so happy with him.” Kochetova brilliantly took home a total of three ribbons in the top Twelve: First, Fifth, and Eighth.
Kochetova said URUS Z will next go to Bromont, then HITS again,down to Old Salem, and then, most likely, back up to HITS-on-the-Hudson for the Saugerties $1 Million.