Traverse City, Michigan, USA. – July 19, 2019 – The third week of the 2019 Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF), presented by CaptiveOne Advisors, LLC, welcomed the first week of FEI competition at the Flintfields Horse Park, with international challengers taking to the Grand Prix Ring on Friday to compete for the top spot in the $35,700 Welcome Stake CSI 2*. After a hard-fought class, Hardin Towell (USA) and Carlo emerged victorious to claim the class win and the greatest share of the prize money.
For the first FEI-rated welcome stake of the season, veteran course designer Guilherme Jorge (BRA) presented exhibitors with a technical track that eight pairs, out of the original start list of 24 entries, mastered to qualify for a spot in the jump-off. Following the first round of riding, Andrew Welles (USA), Lauren Tisbo (USA), Gavin Moylan (CAN), Ailish Cunniffe (USA), Michael Morrissey (USA) and Towell each were still in contention for the first place prize after clear initial trips aboard their respective mounts. Statistically, Towell and Tisbo posed the greatest chances of claiming the class win, each with two horses apiece returning for the tiebreaking round.
The first to tackle the abridged jump-off pattern, Welles set a high bar with his ride on Itasca Group LLC’s Serpico, crossing the finish line fault-free in 40.340 seconds to serve as the early pathfinders. Their reign would not last long however, as Tisbo and Tequestrian Farms LLC’s Jeleena de Muze usurped the early leaders by leaving all of the fences intact with a slightly faster time of 39.040 seconds to take the lead with the majority of the returning pack still yet to ride.
As the field chased them down, none were able to better the leading pair’s efforts until Towell and Ann Thompson’s Carlo, the final contenders of the afternoon. They took to the Grand Prix Ring and efficiently sliced across the track to finish fault-free in 39.000 seconds, less than one-tenth of a second ahead of Tisbo and Jeleena De Muze, to capture the win in the $35,700 Welcome Stake CSI 2*. Tisbo and Jeleena de Muze settled for second place, while Welles and Serpico rounded out the podium in third place overall.
Now with a series of upper-level classes complete, riders have been able to accumulate points towards the new $25,000 CaptiveOne Open Jumper Rider Bonus, which will be awarded at the conclusion of the circuit in August. Points are calculated based on prize money earned throughout the six-week festival in Open Jumper classes 1.45m and above, and fans and athletes can follow along and check the $25,000 CaptiveOne Open Jumper Rider Bonus leaderboard, posted on www.greatlakesequestrianfestival.com, to track their favorite riders and see who is leading in the standings. Though Towell’s win on Friday earned him valuable points towards the season-ending prize, Wilhelm Genn (GER) maintained the top spot in the rankings thanks to multiple victories in earlier welcome stake and grand prix competitions during Weeks I and II.
Additional FEI show jumping highlights for GLEF Week III include the $71,200 North Face Farm Grand Prix CSI 2* set to take place on Sunday, July 21, at 2 p.m. FEI competition will continue at GLEF for three more weeks, with Week IV holding a CSI 2* rating and Weeks V and VI touting a CSI 3* rating.
Winner’s Circle – Hardin Towell
About his horse:
“Carlo is owned by Ann Thompson, and we have had him for about a year. I competed with him at Spruce Meadows in the 1.45m and 1.50m and he got some really nice ribbons there. He did the ‘Reach for the Sun’ Derby last week and he was quite good. I ran out of gas a little bit so he had a couple [rails] down there, but he is just a lovely horse. He is very versatile and it was hot today so I had to kick a lot — I am sweating! He was so great. He was great on the turns. I didn’t meet everything like I like in the jump-off, but he tried as hard as he could, so I am very proud of him.”
On his strategy:
“I had two in the jump-off. My first one, [Tupac Van De Vrombautshoeve Z], is naturally very fast but he is not the greatest at turns because he is still very green but he is getting much better. Overall, my plan was to be quite quick and a little bit wide, but we unfortunately had one down. Carlo is not as naturally quick across the ground but he turns really well, so early in the course I was a bit conservative, but then for the last two verticals I really turned him back very sharp. I know he tried as hard as he could to jump them and he did it.”
On the $25,000 CaptiveOne Open Jumper Rider Bonus:
“I have heard of the CaptiveOne rider bonus. I was here last week riding some horses, but I am just getting to know the horses so I wasn’t very competitive in the grand prix. This week I am here, but unfortunately I have to leave as I have other commitments to train at [the Adequan®/FEI North American Youth Championships]. If I have a good Sunday, I might come back for the last 3* class. Honestly, I think it really comes down to the last two weeks. Wilhelm [Genn] has won two $50,000 [classes] and a $35,000 [class] in the last two weeks, so he is already around the $130,000 mark. The winner of [the last two grand prix] is going to be right up next to him. If a rider comes and wins both of them, then I think they could run away with it. I think it really comes down to the end. He is off to a great start for sure, so we will have to see who comes into town to take the big money.”
On Traverse City:
“I love it. Last week was great. I had a long Spruce Meadows and all of my horses went well in addition to my big result in the [$500,000 ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup], so it was sort of a vacation week here last week. I could take a deep breath and just catch-ride some horses, which was fantastic. Last week I got to golf a lot and take a mini vacation. Now it is back to work so hopefully we can keep it going!”
Results – $35,700 Welcome Stake CSI 2*
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Owner / R1 Faults |Time / Jump-off Penalties | Time
1. Hardin Towell (USA) & Carlo – 0 | 72.640 / 0 | 39.000
2. Lauren Tisbo (USA) & Jeleena De Muze – 0 | 72.120 / 0 | 39.040
3. Andrew Welles (USA) & Serpico – 0 | 70.870 / 0 | 40.340
4. Gavin Moylan (CAN) & Balous Diamond – 0 | 72.110 / 0 | 42.470
5. Ailish Cuniffe (USA) & Baloucento 2 – 0 | 69.830 / 0 | 43.720
6. Hardin Towell (USA) & Tupac Van De Vrombautshoeve Z – 0 | 70.370 / 4 | 38.830
7. Michael Morrissey (USA) & Sam 1091 – 70.690 / 4 | 39.410
8. Lauren Tisbo (USA) & Casco 11 – 0 / 73.580 / WD
9. Kirsten Ostling (USA) & Hollywood Be Good – 1 | 74.410
10. Willie Tynan (IRL) & Fancy Girl – 4 | 71.240
11. Andrew Welles (USA) & Primo Troy – 4 | 72.920
12. Gavin Moylan (CAN) & Gabbistar – 5 | 75.580
Source: Press release by Elaine Wessel / Phelps Media Group for GLEF – Great Lakes Equestrian Festival
Photos: © Andrew Ryback Photography
Categories: CSI 2*