Temecula, California, USA – April 30, 2021 – Back for day two, Nilforushan Equisport Events’ Temecula Valley National Premier II, presented by Interactive Mortgage, resumed Thursday at Galway Downs. The late afternoon schedule featured the $10,000 Tack of the Town 1.40m Speed Classic where a field of 26 horse-and-rider combinations took to the Interactive Mortgage Grand Prix Arena for a shot at the lion’s share of the pot. Ultimately, it was a battle between Lorcan Gallagher (IRL) and Susan Artes (USA), who each had two horses in the top four as they raced to attempt the speediest clean trip of the class. In the end, Gallagher emerged victorious in the very last round of the day.
Lorcan Gallagher (IRL) first horse of the class, Cana Van De Blom, became the pathfinder for the remainder of the field after she laid down an impressively quick, clean round in 61.25 seconds in Oscar Soberon’s 12-track course. Typically ridden by one of Gallagher’s students, Alexis Sokolov, the 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare, owned by Hot Horses LLC, and the Irish rider only partnered earlier last week, forming a fast partnership potentially strong enough to secure a win.
Fellow competitors knew they had a challenge ahead of them, and Susan Artes (USA) attempted to beat his leading time only three rides later on Alix Fargo’s California Sunshine. The 8-year-old Bavarian Sport Horse mare jumped a smooth, clear round but unfortunately was two seconds too slow, ending in a time of 63.49 seconds.
Artes was determined to top the field, and overtook Lorcan Gallagher (IRL) and Cana Van De Bloom with what seemed an unbeatable clear performance of 59.96 seconds on her second horse of the class, Laurence Z, a 10-year-old warmblood stallion also owned by Fargo.
With spectators at the edge of their seats, Lorcan Gallagher (IRL) entered the ring for the final round of the evening, this time in the irons aboard Sokolov’s Fasole Du Seigneur. Saving the very best for last, the nimble 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare shaved off less than a quarter of a second from Artes’ lead to trip the clock in a breakneck time of 59.72 seconds.
At the end of the day, Gallagher rode away with a substantial percentage of the $10,000 purse with a win on Fasole Du Seigneur and a third place finish on Cana Van De Blom. Susan Artes (USA) ultimately claimed second place riding Laurence Z and fourth place on California Sunshine.
The Temecula Valley National Premier II will continue Friday at Galway Downs with the jumper competition resuming Friday morning with the 1.20m Jumpers at 8:00 a.m., followed by the 1.30m Jumpers and the Junior/AO/AA divisions later in the day. Friday’s featured class will be the fan-favorite $5,000 1.35m NEEd for Speed Qualifier. The week’s highlight event, the $20,000 Interactive Mortgage Grand Prix, will take place Saturday afternoon.
From the Winner’s Circles
Lorcan Gallagher – $10,000 Tack of the Town 1.40m Speed Classic winner
On the course:
“The course today had a super design for a speed class. There were options right off the bat from fence two to three where you could leave one out and do seven strides. I saw a few people do that, but on all three of mine I did eight strides as you had to turn back quite tight to the in and out. It walked quite short and I don’t like getting in too quick. After that it was just following the plan and staying tight. There were quite a few rollbacks as well. The rollback before the double on all three of mine I turned quite tight and I think that saved me a lot of time.”
On Fasole Du Seigneur and Cana Van De Blom:
“I rode them both last week for the first time. [Fasole Du Seigneur] is super. She is kind of feisty and she is a real mare, but you just let her do it. She is super competitive and she has a pretty good record from Europe. I think Alexis [Sokolov] is going to have a lot of fun with her. Cana is also one of Alexis’ as well that trains with Craig and Tina [Yates] at Highpoint Farm. Honestly, I just sat on all of these horses last week so I just did a few smaller classes last week like the 1.30m and 1.35m, and then this week I did the speed class today and then I will do all three [Fasole Du Seigneur, Cana Van De Blom and Siegfried 68] again on Saturday in the Grand Prix. They are all lovely animals straight across the board from the six-year-olds all the way up they have got a great team of horses, and I am quite lucky to get to ride them.”
On Alexis Sokolov:
“Fasole Du Seigneur is a horse owned by Alexis Sokolov. She campaigns it herself, but she had an accident at the end of Thermal. She is back riding now, so I am just doing this show and then she takes over the reins again at the next show back here in a couple of weeks, and then will be aiming for the [FEI North American Youth Championships] this year.”
On Nilforushan Equisport Events:
“It is a fabulous show. It is my first time over here on the West Coast, and it is great even between the weeks. Ali [Nilforushan] and his team have done a great job. For us down there [in Wellington, Florida] it is a really busy time of year. You are running around all day every day basically from ring to ring, so it is nice to come out here. It is a really, really nice show, and a great show to get to know the horses. Ali has done a fantastic job. Great rings, great jumps, and the VIP has been very good to us as well.”
On his plans for after Temecula Valley Premier II, presented by Interactive Mortgage:
“I just finished a previous job after WEF [Winter Equestrian Festival] in Florida and I am starting up my own business. It is an exciting time. Craig and Tina Yates are expecting another kid, so Tina is out of action, and I am here showing her horses. I fly back Saturday night to go to Wellington and then I pack up and early next week I am heading to Lexington, Kentucky, and then these horses come back in that direction.”
Final Results – $10,000 Tack of the Town 1.40m Speed Classic winner
1) Lorcan Gallagher (IRL) & Fasole du Seigneus – 0 / 59.717
2) Susan Artes (USA) & Laurence Z – 0 / 59.96
3) Lorcan Gallagher (IRL) & Cana Van De Blom – 0 / 61.251
4) Susan Artes (USA) & Calofornia Sunshine – 0 / 63.495
5) Francie Nilforushan (USA) & My Love Carthago – 0 / –
6) Kaitlin Campbell (USA) & Lucky Luke – 0 / 72.501
7) Jamie Taylor (USA) & Cocoliche of Greenhill Z – 4 / 60.491
8) Jamie Taylor (USA) & Quatar – 4 / 61.492
9) Simon Schroeder (GER) & Alie B – 4 / 61.5
10) Lorcan Gallagher (IRL) & Siegfried 68 – 4 / 63.549
11) Francie Nilforushan (USA) & Valentino Z – 4 / 64.071
12) Nicholas Choi (USA) & Grand Desert – 4 / 64.071
Source: Press Release by Annan Hepner / Phelps Media Group for Nilforushan EquiSports / Temecula Valley National Horse Show
Photos: © Phelps Sports / Annan Hepner