He led the victory gallop in Del Mar a month ago on Calavda, and wins today on La Fleur 4

eduardo-menezes-blenheim-press-releaseSan Juan Capistrano, CA – June 9, 2013 – On yet another great day in Southern California, a small but stellar group of international competitors took on the challenge presented by world-renowned course designer Linda Allen in the $30,000 June Classic I Grand Prix, sponsored by St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort. Previous to this event, Hannah Heidegger dominated the final qualifier for the 2013 North American Junior & Young Rider Championships and young professional Nick Haness continued his prowess in the CashCall Mortgage Futurity series.

Allen attempted to set a track that fit the mix of experience among the entries. “It is a balancing act because the standard is set and the specifications are in the prize list. Taking into account that there are some less experienced horses, I tried to find a happy medium that meets the standards and isn’t too difficult.”

Today the time allowed of 96 seconds was the nemesis of four riders, while four had one rail and only two jumped fault-free. The second vertical element of the two-stride came down six times and the open water caused faults several times as well as two refusals.

Brazilian Menezes entered the arena first on the eight-year-old dappled grey, Le Fleur 4. The pair jumped around beautifully and paved the way for a clean round. Problems ensued for riders who tried to match his perfect score, including Menezes on another mount. Second to go, Saree Solanki on Olympiade Des Gres (Tomboy Farms, owner), were the first victims of the tight time allowed, as they didn’t lower the height of any obstacle but scored four time faults, finishing tenth for the day.

Fifth and sixth to go, veterans Rusty Stewart on Grey Fox Farm’s Bristol and Josephina Nor-Lantzman aboard the talented Chello Z, had no faults over jumps but got caught by the clock, ending with one time fault and three time faults respectively. Northern California resident Nicole Bloom on Think Big Van TL (Rhys Farms, LLC, owner) galloped in thirteenth and stopped the clock just .003 seconds faster than Nor-Lantzman for another score resulting in three time faults. Second to last to go, Paige Dotson on her own Rockford I, had a lucky rub at fence 5, stayed within the time and went clean. The final pair, New Zealand’s Guy Thomas and Peterbilt, had four faults, leaving the jump-off between Menezes and Dotson.

Menezes and the graceful grey mare galloped around the jump-off course fault-free, meaning Dotson had to be both clean and fast. After having a rail, the young rider pulled up, pleased to be second to the victorious Menezes.

After having won on his experienced thirteen-year-old mount Calavda in May, Menezes was equally pleased with his young horse. “This was actually her first grand prix. She is only eight years old but she has a big future ahead of her.”

Dotson also praised her trusty steed. “Honestly I was really nervous, most of the riders in the class have a lot of grand prix miles. My trainer (Keri Potter) has jumped clean on him many times so I knew that he could do it and would take care of me. I just had to make sure I stayed within the time allowed!”

Blenheim EquiSports full press release available here.