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SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — Jim Ifko claimed the first place prize in the $50,000 Blenheim Spring Classic IV Grand Prix aboard Eventyre Farms Ltd.’s Un Diamant des Forets. In front of a full audience of fellow equestrians and local fans, Ifko delivered two swift, faultless rounds that secured him the win by over 2.5 seconds against five others in the jump-off. Robert Blanchette and his own Coupis picked up second place as the only other double clear finisher.

The excitement took place over a course built by FEI Course Designer Oscar Soberon. The 16-effort track included a first fence by the in-gate, double and triple combinations, a triple-bar fence, and numerous bending lines and rollbacks. Six of thirty-four riders were able to navigate the course without accumulating faults. Lane Clarke did so first with BrookeLane Farms’ Romeo du Paradis, and although the pair completed the shortened course with four faults, their blazing time of 42.65 earned them a third place finish. Blanchette jumped off next and held the lead through two more trips until Ifko executed his winning ride. The final pair, Mattias Ekeroth and his Hautesse Van’t Zorgvliet, caught Ifko on the clock in 43.30, but incurred a heartbreaking four faults.

A young horse that Ifko has been bringing along, Un Diamant des Forets has made big strides in his progress.

“Today was quite a step up for him from what he has been doing,” Ifko said of his 9-year-old stallion partner. “But we’ve been here for three weeks and he’s felt fantastic, so I thought I’d give it a try and he was phenomenal.”

Ifko, an experienced show jumper from Canada, has a history in international competition. He has shown extensively in his home country up to the CSI5* level and chose to spend the spring season in California at Blenheim EquiSports.

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