Jason McArdle & Elicole Race to Win $25,000 Markel Insurance Grand Prix

2019. Showpark CSN GP Jason McArdle & Elicole McCool Ph

San Juan Capistrano, California, USA – September 15, 2019 – Eighteen horse/rider combinations took to the field on Saturday afternoon to contest the second to last qualifying event in the $25,000 Markel Insurance 1.45m Jumper Series. Following a six-horse jump off, Jason McArdle emerged victorious abroad Elicole, owned by Fairbanks Valley Farm, LLC. Savannah Jenkins (USA) and Rahmannshof’s Bamiro, owned by Georgy Maskrey-Segesman finished close behind to take second place honors.

FEI 3* course designer Marina Azevedo (BRA) constructed a technical track on the Oaks International Grand Prix Field at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park at San Juan Capistrano. Azevedo’s 16-effort course was set with a very tight time, allowing riders only 80 seconds to cross the wire, fault free. After the first three riders were unable to navigate the course without a penalty, the time allowed was adjusted to 84 seconds. That modification gave the second rider of the day, Lisa McCluskey and Cavalos, a ticket to the jump-off round after they earlier posted a time of 83.819 seconds without incurring any jumping faults.

2019. Showpark CSN GP Savannah Jenkins & Rahmannshof’s Bamiro McCool Ph

Savannah Jenkins (USA) & Rahmannshof’s Bamiro

Lane Clarke (AUS) followed with the second clear round of the day, piloting Frodosi. In fact, Clarke rode clean on both of his Lighthouse Farms mounts, repeating on VF Epic Air. The three other fault-free rides in the opening round were turned in by Jamie Sailor and Cucky 3, Savannah Jenkins (USA) and Rahmannshof’s Bamiro and Jason McArdle (USA) with Elicole.

In round two, none of the first four riders managed their way to the finish line without a fault. With just two to go, Savannah Jenkins posted the first double clear, crossing the wire in 40.443 seconds. That left the final rider of the day, Jason McArdle, with a small window to steal the win. Showcasing Elicole’s quickness on the flat, McArdle edged out Jenkins by a fraction of a second, stopping the clock at 39.868 for the victory.

“I’m ecstatic! Over the last four months, Eli has been knocking on the door. Today, in the schooling ring, I could just tell she was on her game”, said McArdle after the win. “The jump-off shaped up in my favor. I saw Savannah do an inside turn from one to two; I did not. However, I was quicker everywhere else and it worked out.”

2019. Showpark CSN GP Cel Jason McArdle & Elicole McCool Ph

Jason McArdle (USA) & Elicole with Bob and Pam Buie of Fairbanks Valley Farm, LLC, Lauren Dendiu and Melissa Brandes and Robert Ridland of Blenheim EquiSports

The winning pair was also awarded the South Pacific Perpetual Trophy. Created by Joan Irvine Smith of The Oaks, the award is named  in memory of her champion stallion of the North American Holsteiner Breeding Program, South Pacific.

Riders who made it through to the jump-off were also racing to claim the SmartPak Fastest horse award of a $500 SmartPak Gift Certificate & Neck Ribbon. That prize went to Jamie Sailor (USA) aboard Cucky 3, owned by Christine Trstensky. After the pair clipped the first fence, they turned on the after-burners and managed to negotiate the second round faster than anyone else with a quick 35.718 seconds, placing third overall.

Next Saturday marks the final qualifying event of the Markel Insurance 1.45m Jumper Series before the Final that will be held during The Las Vegas National, November 11 – 17, 2019. The top 25 riders from the 2019 Series Qualifiers will be eligible for the Final, with a purse of more that $41,000 and still growing.

Results – $25,000 Markel Insurance 1.45m Grand Prix

Place / Rider  / Horse / Country / Owner / Faults/Time

1. Jason McArdle (USA) & Elicole – 0 / 0 – 39.868

2. Savannah Jenkins (USA) & Rahmannshof’s Bamiro – 0 / 0 – 40.443

3. Jamie Sailor (USA) & Cucky 3 – 0 / 0 – 35.718

4. Lane Clarke (AUS) & Frodosi – 0 / 4 – 37.61

5. Lisa McCluskey (USA) & Cavalos – 0 / 4 – 46.177

6. Lane Clarke (AUS) & VF Epic Air – 0 / 14 – 53.854

7. Bruno Diniz Das Neves (POR) & Adele XII – 4 – 76.779

8. Michelle Kerivan (USA) & Duc De Rohan – 4 – 81.49

9. Hillary Ridland (USA) & For His Glory – 4 – 82.165

10. John Pearce (CAN) & Seven Seas – 4 – 83.677

11. John Bragg (USA) & NKH Quanto – 4 – 83.834

12. John Pearce (CAN) & Chantico – 8 – 79.689

Source: Press release from Blenheim EquiSports

Photos: © McCool Photography