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    John French wins WCHR Professional Finals

    From the Newstrader - November 3rd, 2011 - Newstrader

    UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — The best six hunter riders in the country this year – Scott Stewart, Kelley Farmer, John French, Jenny Karazissis, Hunt Tosh, and Elizabeth Boyd – competed in the WCHR Professional Finals presented by the John R. Ingram Fund. The head-to-head unique competition saw John French, of San Juan Bautista, jump to the top of the leaderboard Oct. 7 for his third win in the history of the class.

    French was the picture of consistency, as he rode through four rounds with no score lower than 87.33. In his first round, he posted an 87.33 riding Kennzo De Conte, owned by Kristen Abbatiello-Neff. He received the same average score from three panels of six judges in the second round, riding Mamba owned by Haven Farm LLC. His third round score of 88.25, riding Kaile Rudy’s Serendipity, put him in second place going into the final handy round.

    French may have had the luck of the draw in the handy round, riding Scott Stewart’s VIP Z. He received his highest score of the night, an 88.66. This gave him a total score of 351.57. VIP Z was named the High Score horse of the night.

    “Hunt was definitely in the lead after the first three rounds,” French said. “I was in second place so I just thought, ‘Be safe, make a couple of the turns,’ but there were a few turns that other people did that I didn’t want to try and sort of blow it. I thought the only place to really show off was the hand gallop. Maybe that would be good enough. So that was my plan.”

    Tosh barely missed the win, as French beat him by just 8/100ths of a point. Like French, Tosh had consistently high scores, starting with an 87.83 on Serendipity. His second round received an 87.66 on VIP Z, and he rode Capilin II, owned by Georgie Maskray Segesman, to a score of 89. His final handy round on Ostentacious, owned by Sheila Motley, scored an 87 for a total of 351.49.

    Tosh noted, “We’re all obviously competitive and want to win. But we’re out there having a great time. I want to thank Karen Healey for giving me a horse this morning and all of the owners.”
    Jenny Karazissis was sixth with scores of 81.66 (Mamba), 84.33 (Serendipity), 86.16 (VIP Z), and 87 (Capilin II) for a total of 339.15.

    “It was fun,” she said. “I thought the courses were terrific and it ran so smoothly.”

    While this was French’s third win in the finals, he still was excited to win and share it with his friends and family. “I live in California, and my parents live here in Maryland, so it is easy for them to come to the horse show. They never get to see me ride.”

    For his win tonight in the WCHR Professional Finals, French was presented with the “All the Way” trophy. The Far West Farms Perpetual Trophy donated by the Karazissis Family was given to Scott Stewart’s VIP Z. French also won an Arc de Triomphe saddle, the WCHR Official Saddlery Sponsor, presented by Jean Pierre and Rebecca Bissilliat. WCHR Official Cooler Sponsor, Blue Ribbon Blankets by Royal Riders, gave a custom blanket. Merial is another supportive WCHR Contributing Sponsor.

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