San Juan Capistrano, California, USA – April 11, 2021 – The Oaks International Grand Prix Field at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park hosted the inaugural $75,000 1.50m ‘Ticket to Ride’ Grand Prix, sponsored by Interactive Mortgage during Blenheim Spring Classic III. Twenty-nine entries contested the first of three 1.50m Grand Prix that make up the High-Performance Jumping Series.
The sixteen-effort track, designed by Oscar Soberon (USA), saw only two horse & rider combinations jump clear in the first round, and triumphing the competition was Olympian Will Simpson (USA) aboard his own Chacco P. The Interactive Mortgage ‘Ticket to Ride’ High Performance Jumper Series was created by Gregg and Evette DeLong in an effort to give riders the opportunity to compete at the top level at a lowered entry fee
Gregg DeLong expanded on his intent with the series: “For each class, the entry fee is only $500, which for a grand prix level course is very inexpensive. You can jump for a total of $270,000 in prize money for only $1,500. The goal is to bring out the top riders of the West Coast and see if we can entice a few people from the East or Midwest to compete for good prize money as well as show them the rest that Blenheim has to offer. It is more than just top-end show jumping, it is a whole package.”
Soberon built a true 1.50m level course consisting of specific key elements: the California flag wall at fence two, the signature Interactive Mortgage fence set as a narrow vertical as jump three, a triple combination as fences nine a, b, and c, and a liverpool to end the course as fence thirteen. He said in a pre-show interview that “there are enough questions out there for a good group of riders” and with the way he spread out all the questions, Soberon planned for every detail to be a factor in figuring out who would win.
President of Blenheim EquiSports, Robert Ridland, was very impressed with the course and level of competition that was demonstrated in the class. He praised Soberon for keeping the standard while creating a track that was still very jumpable and safe for competitors.
“This, to me, is what jumping at this level is all about,” explained Ridland. “We are keeping true to the standard. Grand Prix classes at this level are instrumental in improving competition across the country. This is the type of track you jump on the worldwide stage.”
The order of go was determined by the latest Rolex/USEF Show Jumping Ranking List, resulting in Simpson competing next to last in the first round. Until then, the only other pair to master the course was eventual runner-up Michelle Parker (USA) and Cross Creek Farm’s Easy Does It, so the pressure was on to jump clear and to force a jump off. Over the shortened track Chacco P put in another flawless effort adding yet another win to their resume that also includes a victory in the $40,000 Gold Tour Speed Stake held during Blenheim Spring Classic II. Simpson stated he is thrilled with Chacco P’s performance.
“We have been showing quite a bit and for him to come back and jump a double clear today is something that I am really proud of. It was a great feat that he came up with. I have a team behind me, the barn and everything runs really smooth, and everything is going great, and it has been a wonderful two weeks here at Blenheim.”
The new grandfather credits his success to his granddaughter of two-months as she was present during both victories. He also dedicated his win to her.
Rounding out the top three was Kyle King (USA) as the fastest of the first round four faulters at 85.076 seconds aboard Elizabeth Kilham’s Magic Mike.
The next ‘Ticket to Ride” High Performance Jumper Series opportunity will be during Showpark Ranch & Coast Classic held at the Rancho Mission Viejo riding park May 11th – 16th where riders can compete in another $75,000 1.50m Grand Prix with the $25,000 Markel Insurance Jumper Classic serving as the opening feature event. The final ‘Ticket to Ride’ Grand Prix will be held in September during the International Jumping Festival and has a prize pool of $100,000. The program also consists of a $20,000 Leading Rider Bonus divided out amongst the top three riders of the series.
Final Results – $75,000 Interactive Mortgage 1.50m
1) Will Simpson (USA) & Chacco P – 0 / 0 – 46.448
2) Michelle Parker (USA) & Easy Does It – 0 / 12 – 47.099
3) Kyle King (USA) & Magic Mike – 4 / 85.076
Source: Press Release from Blenheim EquiSports
Photos: © McCool Photography