San Juan Capistrano, California, USA – August 28, 2021 – Hillary Ridland (USA) and Wonder Kid topped the $25,000 1.45m Silver Tour Markel Insurance Grand Prix on Saturday, August 28, as the only pair to successfully navigate the course without fault.
Ridland (USA) and the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, owned by Carole and Mary Frances Looke, were the third entry on the Oaks International Grand Prix Field at the Showpark Summer Classic, and they set the clear standard to beat that would prove unmatchable.
Finishing in second place on four faults and a time of 82.412 seconds were Trent McGee (USA) and his own Boucherom, while Jason McArdle (USA) and Elicole, owned by Fairbanks Valley Farms LLC, rounded out the top three with four faults and a time of 84.968 seconds.
“[Wonder Kid] does whatever we ask him to do and then some, as you saw today,” said Ridland, who has been bringing the horse along since he was purchased from the Netherlands four years ago.
The pair have earned top results throughout the summer at Blenheim EquiSports, including a second-place finish in the $25,000 Markel Insurance Grand Prix on July 3 and three additional top 10 finishes in the Markel Jumper Series, and Saturday’s course finally proved to be their winning one.
“I thought the course was great,” continued Ridland, in speaking of the track set by two-time Olympic course designer Leopoldo Palacios. “It was just a nice test of keeping a good rhythm. All the other horses jumped well too. I think the ones that had four faults just had light rubs.”
For the win, Ridland was presented with a Shady Lady face covering and a $50 SmartPak gift certificate, and the Looke’s received a $50 Topline Design Ribbon Wreath gift certificate as the winning owners.
Ridland was joined in the winners’ circle by her husband, Robert Ridland, the president of Blenheim EquiSports and the U.S. Show Jumping Chef d’Equipe. Also joining in the family victory celebrations was the Ridland’s son, Peyton, who is home in California from the University of Washington.
“[Peyton] moved out of his apartment in Seattle yesterday, so we surprised Robert last night. It’s always fun having him here,” said Hillary.
In addition to her special awards and the victor’s share of the prize money, Ridland earned top points toward the Markel Insurance Jumper Series standings.
The 15-part series concludes on Thursday, September 23, during the International Jumping Festival, before ultimately culminating in a $30,000+ finale at the Las Vegas National Horse Show in November.
In addition to the prize money up for grabs, the winner of the final will be presented with a Flexi-Equine “Jumper” locker and a Solea Equestrian Boutique custom show coat. The Leading Lady and Leading Gent will each additionally receive a cash bonus of $2,100 plus additional add back money.
Thus far, more than 70 riders have accumulated points toward the series standings, with the top 25 ultimately earning a spot in the final event. Leading the way in the standings heading into Saturday’s class was Jason McArdle with 72 points, and Nicole Haunert sat in second place with 66 points. The full series standings are available to view here.
Final Results – $25,000 Silver Tour Markel Insurance Grand Prix
1) Hillary Ridland (USA) & Wonder Kid – 0 / 85.143
2) Trent McGee (USA) & Boucherom – 4 / 82.412
3) Jason McArdle (USA) & Elicole – 4 / 84.968
Source: Press release by Blenheim EquiSports
Photos: © McCool Photography