Canada’s Erynn Ballard and Nanini van d’Abelendreef bested a field of 26 entries to win the $25,000 CSI4*-W 1.35m Blenheim EquiSports Jump-Off Classic, presented by Human Touch, on Friday, November 19, at the Las Vegas National Horse Show, held at the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa. Ballard and the 8-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare, owned by Ilan Ferder and Esperanza Imports LLC, were one of 11 entries to navigate the first-round, Guilherme Jorge-designed course without fault, making for a crowd-pleasing jump-off round.
When Ballard crossed under the Longines archway and entered the ring as the penultimate jump-off entry, the time to beat had been set at 29.13 seconds by the USA’s Karl Cook and E’Special P.S., owned by Signe Ostby. While Ballard felt that she and Nanini van d’Abelendreef could have shaved off further time had they opted to leave out a stride or two that others had, their time of 28.z89 seconds would prove to be just enough to clinch the win. With Cook finishing in second place, third place went to Laura Hite of the U.S., and Chattanooga, owned by HF Farms LLC.
“It worked out for me tonight,” said Ballard, who will also contest Saturday’s $50,000 CSI4*-W Las Vegas National Winning Round Classic with Nanini van d’Abelendreef. “I left the window open for somebody else to beat me, but on the flip side, Nini’s getting ready to jump her biggest class tomorrow, so the more confident we can go into the night class the better.” Ballard has had the ride on “Nini” for the past year, and for her, the Las Vegas National CSI4*-W presents an ideal opportunity for the young mare.