Lexington, Kentucky, USA – May 16, 2021 – The final day of the Kentucky Spring Horse Show took place Sunday, May 16, welcoming athletes for the $35,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington. The conclusion to show jumping competition at the Kentucky Horse Park this week saw 35 horse-and-rider pairs enter the Rolex Arena eager to notch a win under their belt. Olivia Chowdry (USA) and Chuck Berry 8 marked a memorable night together, earning their first grand prix win since the start of their three-year partnership. Chowdry and Chuck Berry 8, owned by Aatlas Equine Holdings LLC, put down an impressive jump-off round to best the field of international competitors and ride home with the unforgettable blue.
Course designer Bernardo Costa Cobral (POR) concluded the week with a 13-obstacle track that utilized the eternity of the expansive Rolex Arena. With rails falling in various places on-course, only 11 horse-and-rider pairs managed to leave all of the rails intact within the allotted time allowed of 80 seconds.
Among them included the first to go clear, Canada’s Tiffany Foster (CAN), as well as David O’Brien (IRL), Amy Millar (CAN) with two mounts, Olivia Chowdry (USA), Sharn Wordley (NZL), Ben Asselin (CAN), Paul O’Shea (IRL), Alex Granato (USA), Daniel Cyphert (USA) and David Oberkircher (USA).
The shortened seven-obstacle jump-off round allowed riders to really showcase their skills through tight rollback turns and galloping lines. Cobral introduced an additional fence on course and asked tough questions for athletes and their mounts to master. Tiffany Foster (CAN) and Hamilton, owned by The Hamilton Group, were the pathfinder for the jump-off, setting the standard high with a quick and clean ride in 41.57 seconds. The few that followed could not overtake her lead until Chowdry entered the arena aboard her 14-year-old Hannoverian gelding. The pair’s strong partnership paid off as Chowdry demonstrated finesse around the course, finishing in an impressive 37.50 seconds to move into the lead.
Though four other competitors would execute clear rounds, no one could match Chowdry’s time, ultimately lending her the first place finish. Stopping the clocks three seconds behind Chowdry to claim second place was Sharn Wordley (NZL) riding Della Wordley’s Mick Jagger to a 40.28-second jump-off.
David Oberkircher (USA) and Upper, owned by Southfield Farms LLC, rounded out the top three just out of reach for second place, crossing the timers in 40.43 seconds.
It was a momentous occasion for Chowdry and Chuck Berry 8, as their top finish marked the pair’s first grand prix win together. Chowdry balances international show jumping competition with studying for her masters in MSW and Social Impact at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. Chowdry credits her success to her strong partnership with Chuck Berry 8 and the support of her team at Plain Bay Farm. She looks forward to a long and prosperous career aboard her trusted partner Chuck Berry 8.
Show jumping competition for the Kentucky Spring Classic at the Kentucky Horse Park will kick off Wednesday, May 19, beginning at 8:00am and featuring the $37,000 1.45m Welcome Speed CSI 3*.
Olivia Chowdry – $35,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix winner
On her win:
“This is my first grand prix win. This one really belongs to my team at Plain Bay Farm. I am pursuing a masters at the University of Pennsylvania. I am doing a dual masters of MSW and Social Impact Investing through the Wharton School. I didn’t ride for one month between [the Winter Equestrian Festival] and coming here to Kentucky. They are such wonderful horsemen and great teachers, so this one really belongs to them. They really got [Chuck Berry 8] to where he needs to be. Thanks to my team Katie Prudent, Paula Randal and my groom, Eveyln.”
On Chuck Berry 8:
“He felt incredible. I have had him for about three years. When I first got him, I think I fell off probably once or twice a weekend. He spins with traffic and it took me quite a while to get through to him. I think of any horse I have ever had in my entire career, he has taught me the absolute most. I would not give him up for the world, he is such a wonderful partner. He has taught me so much, and has really taught me that whatever you do on top of him, you get out. If I give him the shot to jump clear, he will do it for me everytime. He is naturally quite a fast horse. I usually suffer a little bit with the rideability the second day. I went quite fast in the 1.45m, but he was wonderful today. He was nice and rideable. He was fantastic and I am super excited.”
On the first round:
“I think [Chuck Berry 8] jumped beautifully. I am a little bit loose in the tack because I have not ridden, and he really covered that up for me there. I think the time allowed was not a concern for me because he is quite quick naturally. He is careful and we have been together for three years and he has taken me places I never thought I would go. I jumped my first CSI5* with him with only one rail down and he has just been really really wonderful.”
On her plan for the jump-off:
“[Chuck Berry 8] is naturally quite a quick horse. Tiffany [Foster] went first and really laid it down. Her horse [Hamilton] spends a little bit more time in the air than mine does. My trainer [Katie Prudent] really just told me to attack ones that I could and get slowing down at the vertical. I thought the turn back to the double was quite good and everywhere else, he really just followed me and did everything that I asked him to do.”
On Kentucky Horse Shows:
“It has been wonderful! The weather is so fantastic, everything is green. My prep today was different from when we were in FEI – we got to just take [Chuck Berry 8] out and give him a good gallop on the cross country field. It is a really awesome atmosphere for the horses and people.”
Final Results – $35,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington
1) Olivia Chowdry (USA) & Chuck Berry 8 – 0 / 0 – 37.505
2) Sharn Worldey (NZL) & Mick Jagger – 0 / 0 – 40.287
3) David Oberkircher (USA) & Upper – 0 / 0 – 40.439
4) Tiffany Foster (CAN) & Hamilton – 0 / 0 – 41.573
5) Ben Asselin (CAN) & The Freshman – 0 / 0 – 42.269
6) Alex Granato (USA) & Disco Superfly – 0 / 0 – 43.027
7) Amy Millar (CAN) & Christiano – 0 / 4 – 39.499
8) David O’Brien (USA) & El Balou Old – 0 / 4 – 39.688
9) Daniel Cyphert (USA) & Alma Z – 0 / 4 – 44.835
10) Paul O’Shea (IRL) & Havall H – 0 / 7 – 52.046
11) Amy Millar (CAN) & Ericson – 0 / 13 – 58.078
12) Gigi Moynihan (USA) & Blixten – 2 / 81.385
Source: Press Release by Allyson Lagiovane from Phelps Sports for Kentucky Horse Shows
Photos: © Allyson Lagiovane