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Taken by storm

Weather lifts, and Perez, Haness shine at Spring Classic

Special to the Horsetrader - May 3rd, 2012 - Show & Event News

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO – A spring thunderstorm on Friday set the tone for a dramatic wrap-up weekend of the Blenheim Spring Classic series, as John Perez and Arezzo stormed to victory April 14 in the $50,000 Orange County Register Grand Prix.

After thunderstorms had rolled in at the start of the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, show management rescheduled Friday’s High Performance Hunter Challenge for under the lights Saturday evening.

With clear skies and the suitable footing, course designer Guilherme Jorge unveiled a demanding course on the grass field for the grand prix. A tight time-allowed made for some careful, clear rounds, including time faults. Only 10 horse-and-rider duos were able to return to the jump-off after a first round with two double combinations back-to-back, a water jump and a liverpool vertical.

Included on the jump-off list was crowd favorite Hap Hansen and Archie Bunker, who put up the first of five double-clear rounds in 43.594 in hopes of earning grand prix victory No. 100. Tiffany Sullivan and Haley Farms’ Tristan were able to kick it into gear and claim the lead in 42.793. Then came Rusty Stewart and his brave Bristol, owned by Grey Fox Farms, cutting corners and making it look easy to top the board in 39.077. With countless tight-turn slips and lucky fence chips, a faster time seemed near impossible. It was going to take guts and speed to better the top time, and Perez did exactly that by .3 seconds aboard Arezzo.

“I knew I had a really good horse,” said the Colombian rider. “I was just going to have to go fast and careful to win.”

“Guilherme Jorge is the best course designer,” he added. “Nothing too big, but very technical. It was great.”

Carla Diewert and Nippur De Legash went last and clocked without a fault at 40.798 for third place.

The course designer expected less to make the jump-off than the 10 who survived the first-round test.

“I was a expecting a few less riders to go clear, but the horses were jumping great out of the footing that held up pretty well after all the rain we had Friday,” he said. “In the end, I was happy.”

Later on Saturday, 26 high performance hunters took the stage for the Classic Round in the Blenheim Farms Indoor Arena for the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby. Hope Glynn of Petaluma locked in the top two standings with Roccoco and Chance of Flurries after the first round, followed closely by Nick Haness and his two mounts, Gelato and Montague. Course designer Scott Starnes offered multiple options for riders to demonstrate consistency and elegance in which the top 12 proved in more ways than one.

Hope Glynn led the way, riding four of the returning 12 horses for the Handy Round. With an immediate option at fence one, a trot into fence two, and a hand gallop to fence four, riders strategized for ultimate bonus points through unique approaches, style and handiness.

Refusals, rails, and unfortunate mishaps resulted in quite an intense Handy Round. The only rider to earn a score of 100, all 10 handy points, plus bonus points was Nick Haness and Conor Perrin’s Gelato, locking in the Handy Round for the title. Erin Bland and Weatherly moved up from fifth in the Classic Round with an exceptional Handy Round to take reserve.

Glenn received from Blenheim EquiSports the annual Arthur Hawkins Award of Excellence, given annually to the most significant contributor in the show hunter industry during the prior year.

“I was so surprised,” Glenn said after receiving the honor. “I was thrilled to have five horses in the class tonight, let alone go home with this award.”

The Blenheim EquiSports competition in Del Mar May 8-13 for the Showpark Ranch and Coast event with the $60,000 Grand Prix of California, and also from May 31-June 3 for the Showpark June Jamboree. The Blenheim season will return to San Juan Capistrano June 6-24 for the June Classic.

RESULTS ONLINE: See website http://bit.ly/25A_Blen

$50,000 Orange County Register Grand Prix
April 14, 2012 / San Juan Capistrano
Place/ Horse/ Rider/ Owner/ Score/Time
1 Arezzo/ John Perez/ John Perez/ 0/0/38.846
2 Bristol/ Rusty Stewart/ Grey Fox Farm/ 0/0/39.007
3 Nipper de Legash/ Carla Diewert/ Carla Diewert/ 0/0/40.798
4 Tristan/ Tiffany Sullivan/ Haley Farms/ 0/0/42.793
5 Archie Bunker/ Hap Hansen/ Linda Smith/ 0/0/43.594
6 Chianto/ John Pearce/ Forest View Farm/ 0/4/36.824
7 Fitzpatrick 2/ Theodore Boris/ Theodore Boris/ 0/4/44.373
8 Coral Reef Coloredo/ Vinton Karasch/ Coral Reef Ranch/ 0/12/39.707

$10,000 USHJA High Performance Hunter Challenge
April 14, 2012 / San Juan Capistrano
Place/ Horse/ Owner/ Score
1 Gelato/ Nick Haness/ Conor Perrin/ 372.5
2 Weatherly/ Erin Bland/ Erin Bland/ 354
3 Gabbano/ Jenny Karazissis/ Elizabeth McGillivay/ 349
4 GPS Bayside/ Carlton Brooks/ Stables at LaBocage/ 327
5 Small Persuit/ Katie Taylor/ Iwasaki & Reilly/ 323
6 Dinner For Two/ Hope Glynn/ Rebecca Reyes/ 318.5
7 Wood Stock/ Hope Glynn/ Sabrina Hellman/ 299
8 Montague/ Nick Haness/ Lily Blavin/ 283
9 Chance of Flurries/ Hope Glynn/ Helen McEvoy/ 262
10 Charming/ Mckenna Skelton/ Mckenna Skelton/ 25.5

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