San Juan Capistrano, CA – September 15, 2013 – On a sunny show jumping Sunday in San Juan Capistrano, Blenheim awarded Enrique Gonzales with the top prize in the $40,000 Fall Tournament Grand Prix, sponsored by EquiFit, inc., and Joie Gatlin the blue in the inaugural CashCall Mortgage Futurity Finals.
A total of twenty-five horse and rider combinations galloped onto the International Grand Prix Field in the two highlight events on this final day of the 2013 Blenheim grand prix season in Orange County. With tracks set by mastermind course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio, the challenges on course resulted in only two fault-free rounds in the twelve entry grand prix and three clean in the thirteen entry futurity finals.
Regarding the grand prix, D’Ambrosio explained his strategy, “I didn’t change the dimensions, this is a 1.50M track and people came here for a 1.50M course. Because the field was smaller than usual, I kept the distances relatively straightforward. I gave them some places where they have to move up and negotiate something that is a little delicate or they have to steady and negotiate something that is a little scopey. But I didn’t do anything to an extreme, like setting on the half stride. That’s how I accommodated the smaller field of horses rather than just making a 1.50M course lower.”
With internationally experienced show jumpers such as Frenchman Eric Navet, Enrique Gonzales of Mexico, Colombian John Perez, Gabrielle Salick of Israel, hometown favorite Joie Gatlin, California girl Ashlee Bond, and veteran Susie Hutchison, the competition was tough enough. Unfortunately, it wasn’t Navet’s day, as Quanto Fino 2 (Signe Ostby, owner) had a bad stumble after fence one. They recovered and continued but had three rails and time faults.
Third to go Gonzales led the way as first clean. Perez and Zeidler Farm’s Ranville had 12a down for four in 84.57, finishing fifth. Salick had just fence 11 down, the tall vertical at the top of the field heading home, for four faults in 83.90, the fastest four fault score. After her CashCall victory, Gatlin rode her relatively new high performance mount Charly (High Voltage Farm, LLC, owner) to an eight fault score. Similar to Perez, Bond and Little Valley Farm’s Agro Star also lowered the height of 12a in 84.35 for fourth place. Last to go, Hutchison ensured a jump-off going clean on SIG Zuleika.
In a two horse race, Gonzales applied pressure by producing a clean jump-off in 38.07. After having an early rail, Hutchison continued to try and beat the time, coming close in 38.68, just over half of second slower and with four faults for second place. The grand prix victory went to the only double clear of the day, Enrique Gonzales and Quilebo du Tillard.
Pleased with his mount’s performance, Gonzales has big plans for his horse, “He’s a nine-year-old French horse, I’ve had him since he was six. This year he had some really good results at Spruce Meadows and last year he went to Europe as a young horse. My plan for next year is to try and be on the team (Mexico) for the World Championships with him. He already has experience, the scope, and the jump to do it.”
He also commended D’Ambrosio. “For me, Anthony is a fantastic course designer. He has a lot of experience. There were a lot of very good riders in the ring today and he built a very nice, technical course.”