Saugerties, New York, USa – July 29, 2022 – The fifth week of Hits-on-the-Hudson is in full swing, with the Grand Prix Stadium hosting national and international riders during Friday’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix. Great Britain’s Amanda Derbyshire (GBR) dashed to an unbeatable jump-off time with her veteran partner Cornwall BH to claim the winning title as she aims the talented gelding towards September’s Hits Championship and the $400,000 Grand Prix FEI CSI5*.
“I’m aiming him at the big grand prix in September,” she noted after her win. “I’ve had a lot of success in that event. He’s very careful, he’s good in this ring and it’s a big money class, so that’s what we are focusing on.”
Thirty-seven athletes contested Friday’s main event, where Florencio Hernandez used the expansive ring to test riders during both rounds. Twelve combinations advanced to the tiebreaker, where they began over a tall vertical before rolling back to a vertical-vertical double combination. The remainder of the jump-off featured four new fences, including a new line and a rollback to the final delicate vertical going past the in-gate. Only five were able to master the second round without error.
Seth Vallhonrat (USA)and Electrico were the first pair to advance to the short course and once again left all the fences intact, but opted for a conservative pace of 51.522 seconds, which would be good enough for fifth. Derbyshire was the next to go double clear, and although she was still very early in the order, a quick pace, quick turns and once less stride set the Great American time to beat at an uncatchable 40.103 seconds.
François Lamontagne (CAN) and Chanel du Calvaire were the next pair to produce a double clear, clocking in at 42.863, which would hold up for third place. Steven Bluman (ISR) and Biblou du Perron slipped into the fourth-place position with a clear time of 49.158 seconds.
One of the final pairs to jump-off, Carly Anthony (USA) and Heavenly W came the closest to catching Derbyshire with a fault-free time of 42.098 for second place.
“My plan was to go neat and fast,” said Derbyshire. “He’s a naturally quick horse, and he’s been on a bit of a winning streak lately, so I trusted him. I left out [a stride] in one of the lines, and I got a good turn back to the last, so I think that’s maybe where I got it. I thought I would have been beaten, but I held the lead through the whole class, so it was really fun!
Derbyshire was happy to be back competing in the Grand Prix Stadium at Hits Saugerties, concluding, “I love a big ring, and this is one of the biggest. We always have a nice show here. It’s very laid back and we’re enjoying that.”
Final Results – $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix
1) Amanda Derbyshire (GBR) & Cornwall BH – 0 / 0 – 40.103
2) Carly Anthony (USA) & Heavenly W – 0 / 0 – 42.098
3) Francois Lamontagne (CAN) & Chanel du Calvaire – 0 / 0 – 42.863
Source: Press Release by rebecca Wlaton for Hits Horse Shows
Photos: © Hits Horse Shows – Rebecca Walton – ESI Photography