Traverse City, Michigan – August 13, 2021 – Friday’s $36,600 Welcome Stake CSI3* featured 30 world-class athletes from nine nations competing during the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF), presented by CaptiveOne Advisors. Three combinations produced double clear efforts in the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring ahead of Saturday’s $137,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Grand Prix CSI3*, but it was Olivia Chowdry (USA) who scored the victory with Balkana du Tillard. Schuyler Riley (USA) piloted Sandilot PS to second place, while Ireland’s Simon McCarthy (IRL) and Gotcha earned the third place honors.
The first round of Alan Wade’s (IRL) technical 12-obstacle track featured a triple bar, an oxer-vertical double combination early in the course and a vertical-oxer-vertical triple combination in the final line. Only three athletes cleared the course without error to advance to the tiebreaker, while five combinations crossed the finish line with all the rails intact but incurred time faults. For the jump-off, combinations had to make three tight turns and complete the double combination again before a bending line to the final oxer.
Chowdry (USA) was the first to return for the jump-off as the pathfinder during the first round with Atlas Equine Holdings LLC’s 10-year-old Selle Francais mare Balkana du Tillard. With two riders to follow her, Chowdry (USA) wanted to put on the pressure, taking a risky slice through the middle of the ring and quickly galloping to the final oxer to clear the course in a quick 35.28 seconds.
Simon McCarthy (IRL) entered the ring prepared to challenge Chowdry’s (USA) round with Gotcha, a 10-year-old Holsteiner mare owned by Rock Ridge Farms. They had the pace to win, slicing both of the verticals, but their pace came at the expense of the penultimate fence as they crossed the finish line in 34.64 seconds with 4 faults.
Schuyler Riley (USA) was the final athlete to enter the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring with Esperanza Imports LLC’s 9-year-old Oldenburg stallion Sandilot PS. The duo easily left all the rails intact, but their pace was not quick enough to catch Chowdry (USA), breaking the beam in a clear 37.20 seconds for the second place prize. Chowdry (USA) would lead the lap of honor with her quick double clear effort, while McCarthy (IRL) rounded out the top three.
Chowdry (USA) began riding Balkana du Tillard two years ago, earning multiple CSI2* and 3* victories thanks to the talented mare’s careful and quick way of going. They purchased her from Axel Verlooy after a summer in Europe, originally planning to just lease her for a few months and compete in the 1.30m divisions, but it became clear that Balkana du Tillard was going to be a top horse for Chowdry (USA) and they have never looked back. The team at Plain Bay Farm with Katie and Henri Prudent has helped the duo grow together, and Chowdry feels thankful to have such a talented group helping her at the ring and at the barn.
Chowdry’s (USA) win has helped her move into fourth place on the coveted CaptiveOne Advisors Open Jumper Rider Bonus Leaderboard with 32 points. It is Australia’s Katie Laurie who continues to maintain her strong leading position with a total of 42 points she garnered after consistent success during the three-week Traverse City Spring Horse Show series. After his win during GLEF VI’s $36,600 Winning Round CSI3*, as well as consistent top placings throughout the GLEF series thus far, Kyle King (USA) sits in the second place spot on a total of 38 points. Karl Cook (USA) holds the third place position on a total of 37 points after multiple grand prix wins during the Traverse City Spring Horse Show and GLEF. Offering show jumping competitors the chance to accumulate points throughout the 12-week Traverse City Horse Shows series, the bonus is awarded to the athlete with the most points at the conclusion of the 2021 $230,000 American Gold Cup Grand Prix CSI5*, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors. The CaptiveOne Advisors Open Jumper Rider Bonus is a highly sought-after prize among the field of international competitors that attend Traverse City Horse Shows.
Show jumping competition during Week VI of GLEF will culminate Saturday with the highlight event of the week, the $137,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Grand Prix CSI3*, set to take place at 2pm in the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring.
Winner’s Circle – Olivia Chowdry (USA) $36,600 Welcome Stake CSI 3*
On Balkana du Tillard:
“She is an absolute diamond in the rough. We were in Europe a couple years ago and I had brought two horses for the FEI level and my second horse was a wonderful mare, Cosma 20, who was on her way down and we [wanted to] take some pressure off of her. We really thought [Balkana du Tillard] was going to be a 1.30m lease for the summer, but then she jumped double clear in the 3* at Dinard in the Grand Prix on the grass. My mom came and saw her and she said ‘I’ve never seen you light up like you do when you are on this horse.’ She just has proven to be so much more than we thought. She has given us everything and more. When she doesn’t know she just tries hard – she jumps higher, she goes faster and she’s a wonderful character.”
On the jump-off:
“I ride with Katie and Henri Prudent. Katie is a rider who knows how to win and she’s also a rider who can teach other riders how to win. [Balkana du Tillard] has a little bit of a shorter stride – I wouldn’t say super short, but where some would have done six in the first line we did seven so we could do a tighter turn on the back and she did exactly what I asked. She was great to the double and great coming home. I thought maybe I left the door open because I added an extra stride, but I was just so pleased with her to have such a wonderful result. This has been a really great circuit, but she has done a lot of jumping for me and I am so happy to get to end on this win.”
“Getting to be in Traverse City is really special. Last summer, given the environment of the world, it was difficult. I would never like to say we take this for granted, but we get so conditioned going to shows every week and when we were really forced to take some rest I came back and really appreciated what I have in my horses so much more. I think that the Morrisseys have done a fantastic job. I appreciate that economically they have put most of the impact into making the footing the same in all of the rings. It holds up with gale force winds and rain. It’s super fun to be here. You can go out on the water in the evenings, there are lots of fun restaurants, the horses like it, you can trot out on the field – it’s a great environment to be in.”
Final Results – $36,600 Welcome Stake CSI 3*
1) Olivia Chowdry (USA) & Balkana du Tillard – 0 / 0 – 35.28
2) Schuyler Riley (USA) & Sandilot PS – 0 / 0 – 37.20
3) Simon McCarthy (IRL) & Gotcha – 0 / 4 – 34.64
4) Ali Wolff (USA) & Quirie – 1 / 75.13
5) Victoria Heurtematte (PAN) & Flying Dutchman – 1 / 75.14
6) Martien van der Hoeven (USA) & Morris Horta – 1 / 75.16
7) Wilhelm Genn (GER) & Bugatti – 1 / 75.50
8) Kendall Gath (USA) & Jamica van Kattebeek – 2 / 80.18
9) Ali Ramsay (CAN) & Bonita vh Keizershof Z – 4 / 70.55
10) Kyle King (USA) & Coffee to Go – 4 / 71.19
11) Nicolas Pizarro (MEX) & Oak Grove’s Enkidu – 4 / 71.79
12) Mark Bluman (COL) & Noortje vd Windheuvel – 4 / 72.3
Source: Press Release by Rebecca Walton / Phelps Sports for Traverse City Horse Shows
Photos: © Andrew Ryback Photography