Boasting the largest purse of the 2020 Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors LLC, thus far, the $137,000 Four G Surfaces Grand Prix CSI3* was the finale event of Week Five of the six-week series. The contest attracted 47 entries hailing from seven nations, including Colombia, Ireland, Israel, Canada, Puerto Rico, Japan and the United States, with only four pairs turning in fault-free performances to earn eligibility for the short course. As the lone double-clear team, Margie Engle (USA) and Dicas, co-owned by Storm Ridge Capital and Gladewinds Partners LLC, separated themselves from the pack to emerge victorious and capture valuable points towards the CaptiveOne Advisors $30,000 Leading Jumper Rider Bonus.
The first round of competition featured a 16-effort track designed by Peter Grant (CAN), which saw the cream of the crop rise to the occasion as only a select few managed to master the pattern. Paul O’Shea (IRL) and Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu were the first to successfully complete the course without incurring any faults as the seventh in the order-of-go, and another clear round did not follow until sixteenth in the start list, when the always-formidable Kent Farrington (USA) navigated Kaprice to the second clear trip of the class to force a jump-off. Though a series of competitors fell victim to a difficult three-stride line in the latter portion of the course, Engle and Dicas were not one of them, logging the third penalty-free ride of the day. It looked like it was going to stay a three-horse jump-off until the final contenders in the first round, Catherine Tyree (USA) and BEC Lorenzo, added their names to the list as the fourth and final qualified pair.
Trimmed to eight fences, the jump-off course included a series of rollbacks and long gallops, offering a number of chances for exhibitors to take risks to shave time off the clock. The first to return, O’Shea and Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu completed the course on a quick pace, but tripped the timers in 48.080 seconds with 4 faults to their name. Farrington and Kaprice substantially improved upon their peers’ time as they broke the beam in 44.700 seconds, but likewise lowered a single fence towards the end of their performance, opening the door for the final two pairs to jump to the lead if they could keep the rails in their cups. Laying down the first clear performance of the jump-off, Engle jockeyed Dicas to a careful round and crossed the finish line in 47.63 seconds, jumping to the top of the leaderboard and putting the pressure on the final challengers. Last to go, Tyree and BEC Lorenzo moved quickly, but faced the same fate as O’Shea and Farrington with one rail down to rack up 4 faults, keeping them off the top of the podium.
As the only duo to ride to two penalty-free rounds, Engle and Dicas earned the lead spot in the victory gallop, followed by Farrington aboard Haity McNerney’s Kaprice in the runner-up spot. The next-fastest of the 4-faulters, Tyree and her own BEC Lorenzo claimed third place overall with a time of 44.76 seconds. O’Shea and Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu, owned by Machu Picchu Partners LLC, finished in fourth.
Sunday marked the completion of FEI competition for the seventh week in Traverse City, leaving riders four more weeks of chances to earn points towards the CaptiveOne Advisors $30,000 Leading Jumper Rider Bonus. The coveted prize money will be awarded to the highest-scoring rider of the 2020 series following the conclusion of the $213,300 CaptiveOne American Gold Cup Grand Prix CSI4* on September 13. Since Week One, Jonathan Corrigan (IRL) has maintained the top spot, and his 9-point lead over the next-closest contender, Shane Sweetnam (IRL), almost ensured he would retain his spot by the end of the day. Of the top six challengers, only fifth-place Rich Fellers (USA) and sixth-place Kristen Vanderveen (USA) competed in Sunday’s feature FEI class. Though Engle’s win Sunday earned her points towards the bonus, Corrigan will stay on top headed into the final week of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival.
During the awards ceremony of the contest, the M. Michael Meller Style Award was awarded to Fellers, who was hand-selected by Meller as a representative of the attributes of a true horseman and sportsman. The M. Michael Meller Style of of Riding Award is presented to the rider who best demonstrates the values of horsemanship, skill and presentation in the show ring. Meller established the award in 2011 in memory of his friend and an integral member of the equestrian community, Kate Nash Boone.
Sunday’s festivities concluded Week Five of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors LLC. The show will return to Flintfields Horse Park for the last week of riding beginning Wednesday, Aug. 5.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Margie Engle (USA) – $137,000 Four G Surfaces Grand Prix CSI3* winner
On the top four in the jump-off:
“It was a good group of horse-and-rider combinations, and I was glad to be amongst them!”
On riding Dicas:
“It’s been close to five-and-a-half months [since Dicas has competed]. He feels nice and fresh and I thought maybe it was a little too early. I wasn’t sure if he was going to be good enough, but I have to give credit to both Bernie Maier and Lisa Wilcox at home who kept him fit thanks to all the flatwork and all the dressage they did. He didn’t get up here until about a week ago. They are the ones I owe all the credit to.”
On her jump-off strategy:
“I knew that [Kent’s} horse was going to be way quicker than mine, and I thought mine was going to be a little bit empty after doing the first round because he has not jumped a big course in a while. I knew he was going to be faster, and I was just trying to put enough pressure on and go clean to see that the chips lay where they may.”
On whether she thinks this result sets her up well for the American Gold Cup in September:
“I’m just happy with today. I’m thrilled that he went well here today and he showed what kind of heart he has going around like that after not showing for so long. I’m just happy with today, who knows what tomorrow brings?”
Source: Press Release