Temecula, California, USA – June 4, 2022 – The final weekend of the Nilforushan Equisport Events’ Temecula Valley National Horse Show got underway Saturday morning with a full schedule of jumper competition slated to take place in the Grand Prix Arena. An all day affair concluded with the feature class of the day where 39 entries tried their hand at the course designed by Anderson Lima (MEX) for the Spruce Meadows $50,000 National Grand Prix.
Just as it did in Friday night competition, the 1.45m Nilforushan Equisport Tournament (NET) Final ran concurrently in the Grand Prix Arena and gave qualified horse and rider combinations the opportunity to earn a share of $113,100 in extra prize money. Standing at the top of the leaderboard for both the Spruce Meadows $50,000 National Grand Prix and the $113,100 Nilforushan Equisport Tournament Final 1.45m at the conclusion of the class was Kaitlin Campbell (USA) and SWS Training and Sales’s Palina de L’Escaut behind an impressive performance in both the first round and the jump off.
Campbell and the 13-year-old Hanoverian mare had home field advantage that played to their benefit as they posted a double clear effort on a track that only saw five advance to the jump off round. Settled in the middle of the pack in the order of go, the duo was able to prepare effectively and learn from their competitors’ mistakes.
The pair posted the fastest first round time and carried that momentum into the jump off round, flying around the shortened track with ease in 40.757 seconds. The familiar footing and atmosphere definitely played into the winning duo’s success. Strategy was the name of the game for Campbell knowing Lima’s tendencies for course designs and she chose the mount she felt would perform best to those circumstances.
Joie Gatlin (USA) and Oakland Ventures LLC’s Uccello de Will were the first of the class of 38 to post a clear ride in the first round. Piggybacking off previous success this week, Gatlin felt confident going into Saturday’s class. Just as she did on Friday, Gatlin would also be competing for the extra prize money in the $113,100 NET Final. With Gatlin in the irons, the 14-year-old gelding powered through the 16 effort first round track efficiently. The pair came back and began the jump off round with a fault-free ride and a time of 41.202 that held until Kaitlin Campbell (USA) and Palina de L’escaut took to the shortened course.
Rounding out the leaderboard for the featured Spruce Meadows $50,000 National Grand Prix class was Ariel Marx and her own, Zella 2. Marx piloted the 10-year-old Rhineland mare to the only other double clear effort of the class. The pair had two flawless rides, but took a more careful approach than their fellow leaderboard competitors.
It was a big night for Campbell and Palina De L’escaut as they also secured big money taking the top spot in the $113,100 Nilforushan Equisport Tournament Final 1.45m, which ultimately awarded them $48,930. This unique format provided by Ali and Francie Nilfoushan really promotes the welfare of the sport and gives the athletes an extra incentive to compete for. Horse and rider combinations can qualify by paying an entry fee or can be considered a wild card by winning a qualifier class. With Gatlin and Uccello De Will’s second place win in the Grand Prix, they also took second in the NET Final behind a double clear effort. Angel Karolyi and Testigo LS put together a nice performance in the Spruce Meadows $50,000 National Grand Prix, but had a few unlucky rails in the jump off that kept them out of the top three. However, their performance was good enough to take third in the NET Final.
Winner’s Circle – Kaitlin Campbell – Spruce Meadows $50,000 National Grand Prix and $113,100 Nilforushan Equisport Tournament Final 1.45m
On the Spruce Meadows $50,000 National Grand Prix Plan:
“Anderson Lima was building this week and I’m a big Anderson Lima fan. Palina won one of the previous Grand Prix’s he built here, as well as another class he built in Fort Worth. I knew the track was really going to suit this horse today, so I just wanted to try and not make any mistakes in the first round and make it to the jump off.”
On the opportunity to compete for the $113,100 Nilforushan Equisport Tournament Final 1.45m:
“For our business, a lot of our expenses are won back on prize money so to have this opportunity so close to home is just a huge incentive for show jumping and Southern California.”
On competing at Galway Downs:
“Our barn is literally five minutes down the road. I live in Temecula so this is our home show. I know what horses suit this ring because we show here all the time. But, everything is always very well done here. The footing is great and the atmosphere – you couldn’t have asked for a better crowd on a Saturday night for this type of class and it just adds to everything.”
On what Ali and Francie Nilforushan are doing to improve horse showing in Temecula:
“I think the biggest difference with Ali and Francie is that they’re out here competing with us. It’s not like they’re exhibitors in their show management; they’re exhibitors and show management so there is a huge incentive for them to make it better because it makes it better for themselves as well.”
Final Results – $50,000 Grand Prix, sponsored by Spruce Meadows
1) Katlin Campbell (USA) & Palina de L’Escaut – 0 / 0 – 40.757
2) Joie Gatlin (USA) & Uccello de Will – 0 / 0 – 41.202
3) Ariel Marx (USA) & Zella 2 – 0 / 0 – 43.894
Source: Press Release by Sydney Jones / Phelps Media Group for Temecula Valley National Horse Show / Nilforushan Equisport Events
Photos: © Phelps Sports / Sydney Jones