Temecula, Calif. – April 21, 2018 – Michelle Parker’s name topped the leaderboard twice during the penultimate day of competition at the Temecula Valley National Horse Show, which brought the elite of the week’s exhibitors to the Grand Prix Arena. She kicked off the day with a win in the $10,000 1.35m Shires Speed Classic aboard Bella Sofia, and then returned for an even bigger win when she topped a 9-horse jump-off during the $40,000 Snapbac National Grand Prix with Cupilor.
Renowned course designer Anderson Lima’s (BRA) track challenged 31 competitors, each of whom attempted to take home the biggest check of the week during the $40,000 Snapbac National Grand Prix. Nine athletes advanced to the tiebreaker, which required horses to be quick and careful with a very long gallop to the final vertical. Parker was the first to return with Cross Creek Farms’ Cupilor, and with eight entries left to challenge her she did not hold back. Leaving out a stride in one of the early lines and picking up a blazing pace for the final fence, the duo stopped the clock in an unbeatable 39.776 seconds.
John Perez & Utopia
The last athlete to tackle the tiebreaker was John Perez riding Daniel Rihan’s Utopia, who came the closest to catching Parker when he and Utopia broke the beam in a clear 40.514 seconds, which would be good enough for second place. The third place honors went to Molly Talla with her own Complete Luck, who were also faultless over the course with a time of 41.400 seconds.
Parker’s win with Cupilor comes less than a year after the 11-year-old gelding underwent colic surgery. The pair have been partnered together since Cupilor was just 4 years old, and they were able to pick up right where they left off, competing in the AIG $1 Million Grand Prix during HITS Coachella earlier this year. Now the duo is stronger than ever and happy to be back in the ring during the Temecula Valley National Horse Show and leading the victory gallop during the show’s main event.
Michelle Parker (USA) Bella Sofia
The show jumping action kicked off earlier in the day with the $10,000 1.35m Shires Speed Classic, and with ten double clear efforts it was once again Parker who proved to have the quickest effort, this time aboard Antonio Ramos’ Bella Sofia in a fiery 29.828 seconds. Kaitlin Campbell and Enjoy Life, owned by Sweet Oak Farm, took home the second place honors with a time of 30.587 seconds, while Russell Morgan and Jeronimo Bisschop rounded out the top three when they broke the beam in 31.612 seconds.
Michelle Parker (USA) & Cupilor during the awards ceremony
From the Winner’s Circle:
Michelle Parker – $40,000 Snapbac National Grand Prix champion
On her jump-off strategy:
“I think the first thing I did that not everyone was planning to do was from [fence] 2 to [fence] 15 I did an eight-stride line, and I was galloping but he was jumping really well. I was trying to get him to go because he felt a little tired and I got in a little tight and I just thought ‘leave it up.'”
“I’ve had him since he was 4 years old. He’s won his whole life, he’s always competitive and fast. He is so sweet around the barn. He actually just came back from colic surgery, and when he was laid up he was just like a little pet in the barn, but he is always focused on jumping. His colic surgery was in August, so he just started back the second half of Thermal. He went right into the 1.35m division, and I was doing the Grand Prix by the third week and he did the $1 Million Grand Prix.”
On Bella Sophia:
“She’s owned by a client named Antonio Ramos, and we’ve had her about nine months. I don’t ride her on a regular basis like most of mine, but she’s always great when I do get to compete on her. She’s the whole package.”
On both of her wins on Saturday and the Temecula Valley National Horse Show:
“It’s great to win at an inaugural event and we always love winning the big money classes. I had one rail down in the $20,000 but had the time and ended up tenth, so it’s very exciting that we pulled it off today. We are very impressed so far; we love the main ring, the super footing and atmosphere. They are trying really hard to get everything just the way it should be. We are definitely coming back!”
Place / Rider / Horse / Owner / R1 Faults / R2 Faults / Time
1. Michelle Parker / Cupilor / Cross Creek Farms / 0 / 0 / 39.776
2. John Perez / Utopia / Daniel Rihan / 0 / 0 / 40.514
3. Molly Talla / Complete Luck / Molly Talla / 0 / 0 / 41.400
4. Keri Potter / Diabolical C / Jung Cho / 0 / 0 / 42.485
5. Everado Hegewisch / Ircos IV / 0 / 0 / 43.644
6. Jeffrey Fields / Bybalia SMH / Stal Minion / 0 / 0 / 44.408
7. Lane Clarke / McLord’s T.K.O / Mickey Hayden / 0 / 4 / 39.990
8. Kenneth Vinther / Colicchio / Kenneth Vinther / 0 / 4 / 42.028
9. Soehnke Theymann / Cypress VF / Morgan Evans / 0 / 4 / 42.485
10. Mandy Porter / WT Ca Pow! / Wild Turkey Farm, LLC / 4 /78.275
For more information, please visit www.jump-NEE.com.
Source: Press Release by Rebecca Walton / Phelps Media Group for Temeculla Valley National Horse Show
Photos: © Phelps Media Group / Rebecca Walton