Saugerties, New York – July 22, 2023 – Mark Bluman (COL) was back on top Saturday afternoon to finish out Week 1 of the international jumper competition during the new Hudson Valley Jumping Tour. Bluman and his mount, Ubiluc, nabbed their second FEI victory of the week in the $145,500 Alliant Grand Prix CSI 3*, marking Bluman’s first CSI3* Grand Prix win. The winning partnership – who captured blue in Thursday’s SummitMax Equine Welcome CSI 3* – finished more than two seconds ahead of second-place finishers Jonathan McCrea (USA) and Fantasy BB. Delaney Flynn (USA) and her mount Julieta placed third with the only other double-clear performance during the tiebreaker.
“It feels awesome – I still cannot believe it. Believe it or not, I have been jumping grand prix classes for over 12 years, and this is actually my first Grand Prix CSI 3* win. I am very happy to have it here at Hits as it is basically my backyard because I live in North Salem – to win in the first international event with the new management team is an honor. The atmosphere is special and everyone has done an amazing job and made it special for us to come here,” explained Bluman.
Canada’s Meghan Rawlins (CAN) set another exciting first-round course that tested many riders across different parts of the course – including the vertical oxer double combination in the first half of the round. Many riders who made it clear through the double and triple combinations left with defeat after having rails late in the last line. After 37 horse and rider combinations completed the course, seven pairs made it through to the shortened fast track.
Mark Bluman (COL) and Ubiluc went in the second half of round one, which proved to be a big advantage in Blueman’s strategy, as only two riders had gone clear at the halfway point.
“We acquired Ubliuc when he was 6 – Over The Top Stables has been a long-time supporter of ours, myself and my cousin Daniel, and Daniel had the ride until basically this year when I took it over,” said Bluman. “We were second in the Grand Prix CSI 4* at Old Salem Farm and won the Grand Prix qualifier at Upperville and then the Welcome class here on Thursday – so it’s been a great partnership and I am really happy to be here. Ubiluc’s quirkiness is really what makes him unique – always bucking, always playing. That is what makes him who he is and I think he is a superstar.”
The jump-off round started with a new jump not featured in the first round before rolling back at fence seven and eight then moving onto the shortened triple combination. The riders then finished with galloping a bending line towards the in-gate.
In the second round, Bluman and Ubiluc returned right behind Jonathan McCrea (USA) and Fantasy BB, the first pair to go double-clear. Bluman knew what he had to do to beat McCrea after being in a similar situation on Thursday.
Making up time in their tight turns and galloping to the finish, they ended on zero faults in a time of 37.79 seconds.
“The course today was amazing. Today was a very tough track – it proved itself with only 7 clears out of 37 which is a pretty great number. The jump-off track was very suitable for my horse with long gallops – he has a huge stride so I took that to my advantage. I knew there were some pretty good riders behind me so I put enough pressure on them that they would maybe make a mistake and it paid off today,” added Bluman.
McCrea and Fantasy BB finished second on a clear jumping effort in 39.57 seconds.
Delaney Flynn (USA) and Julieta snagged the third podium spot in 41.56 seconds.
Competition at Hits-on-the-Hudson IV concludes Sunday as jumper and hunter riders will vie for one last chance to capture the division championships and take top placings in respective classic rounds. International showjumping competition will continue next week at HITS-on-the Hudson V, which will feature CSI 2* classes and culminate with the $77,300 CSI2* Douglas Elliman Grand Prix.
Final Results – $145,500 Alliant Grand Prix CSI3*
1) Mark Bluman (COL) & Ubiluc – 0 / 0 – 37.79
2) Jonathan McCrea (USA) & Fantasy BB – 0 / 0 – 39.57
3) Delaney Flynn (USA) & Julieta – 0 / 0 – 41.56
Source: Press Release from Hits Horse Shows
Photos: © ESI Photography