Susan Hutchison and Ziedento Zip to the Win in the $40,000 Blenheim Spring Classic II Grand Prix
Article excerpted from Blenheim Equisports press release
San Juan Capistrano, CA - April 6, 2014 - On a perfect southern California afternoon, twenty-nine horse and rider pairs jumped in the International Grand Prix Field in the $40,000 Blenheim Spring Classic II Grand Prix, presented by Orange County Register at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park at San Juan Capistrano. The speedy pair of Susan Hutchison and Ziedento (St. Bride's Farm, owners) set a precedent that couldn't be beat.
Susan Hutchison and Ziedento
Canadian Peter Holmes designed a track that asked a variety of questions of horse and rider including a double combination (5a-b) and a triple combination (8a-b-c), a three stride line just past the in-gate (9-10), and a long bending line of three jumps away from the gate to finish (11-12-13).
"We have a very strong field of riders today. I set 1.50m verticals, 1.45m oxers, and 1.50m for the oxer at fence 12. There are a couple of long striding lines and a couple of short striding lines, so where one part of the course can suit one horse it may not suit another horse. That way it doesn't favor only one type of horse."
Elements of the red, white and blue triple combination came down a total of 13 times, fence 9 right past the in-gate came down six times, the skinny at fence 11 was lowered five times, plus the blue and yellow oxer at 5b as well as the final fence at 13 each fell three times.
However, the first to go, veteran Hutchison and Ziedento, had all the correct answers to the questions and were fault free. Seventh to go local favorite Joie Gatlin was clear on Miss CashCall (Gregg DeLong, owner). Fifteen and sixteen rounds later, tall and talented Egyptian rider Nayel Nassar aboard Lordan as well as last week's winners, Brazilian Josephina Nor Lantzman and Chello Z both rode their mounts without fault. Hutchison slipped in another clean round on SIG Zuleika to make a total of five in the jump-off. Canadian Jenna Thompson answered all the questions but a little too slowly, stopping the clock over the time allowed for a heartbreaking one time fault, and ultimately sixth place.
First to return, Hutchison lived up to her winning reputation, going clean and fast in 41.08. Trying to catch the leader, Gatlin took a daring angle on the fourth effort in the jump-off but had a refusal and later a rail, picking up the fifth place ribbon. Nassar had the skinny jump down early on for four faults in 41.45, ending up third. Nor Lantzman was clean in 43.14, earning the second place spot. Hutchison had a late rail on SIG Zuleika for a score of four in 42.69 and fourth place.
Huchison was pleased to be riding her former young horse. "I am really excited to have Ziedento back. I had him as a six, seven and eight-year-old and won the eight-year-old finals on him. I started riding him again during the off week of Thermal so were just getting our partnership back together. This is our first win since, and it feels really good."
Riders placing seventh through twelfth had four faults each. Rusty Stewart and Grey Fox Farm's Bristol had just 5b down in a fast time of 77.80 taking home seventh. Just .36 of a second separated eighth through twelfth place. Alec Lawler and Agamemnon lowered fence 9 for four in 79.17, Jeffrey Fields and KEW Farms' Already tipped 8a for four in 79.37, Michelle Parker and Cross Creek Farm's Socrates de Midos took down fence 11 in 79.47, Joie Gatlin on High Voltage Farms LLC's Charly had just 8c in 79.48 and Enrique Gonzales lowered 8b in 79.53.
Susan Hutchison and Ziedento pictured with (l-r) Jean Yves Angers, Lauren Davis,
Melissa Brandes, Eric Morgan, RJ and Adrienne Brandes, and Robert Ridland
Photos courtesy of McCool
Blenheim EquiSports, an equestrian event management company based in San Juan Capistrano, CA, produces over thirty events per year in three locations: San Juan Capistrano, Del Mar and Las Vegas, NV. The events include 18 USEF "A" or "AA" rated hunter-jumper shows featuring several World Cup Qualifying Grand Prix events, USHJA International Hunter Derbies, Pony Finals, Medal Finals and more.