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Nicole Haunert dominates early Markel series grand prix

Special to the Horsetrader

Rider Nicole Haunert, here on winner Concolue, took first and second at the April 13 $25,000 Markel Insurance Grand Prix. (Amy McCool photo)

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO—An enthusiastic crowd enjoyed a beautiful Southern California afternoon, cheering on 19 entries at the April 13 $25,000 Markel Insurance Grand Prix. After five went clear and advanced to the jump-off, Nicole Haunert and Concolue, owned by Cherokee Show Horses Inc., topped the field. Making the day extra special, she also placed second aboard Jamaico Drum van de Breepoel, owned by NJK Show Jumpers.

The course was designed by Olaf Petersen Jr. of Germany, who earlier in the week was selected to be the course designer at the upcoming FEI World Cup™ Jumping Finals Las Vegas in April 2020. Petersen built the 1.45m track with 16 jumping efforts, including a triple combination oxer/vertical/vertical toward the in-gate.

First to ride in the jump-off was Zume Gallaher and Certain VD Begijnakker, who set a solid pace but pulled a single rail on fence No. 4. Gallaher was followed by Haunert on Concolue, who laid down a fault-free time of 43.138 seconds that won the competition.

Two rides later, it looked like Lindsay Ramar-Costigan might steal the lead with a very quick pace aboard Mr. Harrison, but the last fence fell to the moans of spectators.

Knowing she had the win, Haunert returned on Jamaico Drum van de Breepoel and rode a careful, fault-free round. She later explained that her horse had thrown a shoe during the triple combination in the previous round and her team decided that their objective was to give him a confidence-builder and to simply focus on going clean.

This marked the third of 13 qualifying events in the Markel Insurance 1.45m Jumper Series to be held throughout the Blenheim EquiSports 2019 Horse Show Season, with the Final to be held during the Las Vegas National, Nov. 12–17.

More online: http://bit.ly/809A_Blen

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