Temecula, California, USA – May 20, 2021 – Riders turned up the volume on day two of competition at Nilforushan Equisport Events’ Temecula Valley National I, presented by Interactive Mortgage. Returning to the Grand Prix Arena for another night of nail-biting competition, 27 horse-and-rider pairs gave it their all in Thursday’s $10,000 1.40m Speed Classic sponsored by CWD.
With only one chance around Guilherme Jorge’s (BRA) 14-obstacle course, competitors were turning and burning in hopes of snatching the lion’s share of the prize. After a hard-fought battle for the first place podium, it was ultimately Jamie Taylor (USA) and Quatar who emerged victorious.
While speed proved to be no issue for the competitors, rails plagued the pack as they rushed for the blue ribbon. After several valiant, but unsuccessful attempts to make it around the course clean, it was Francie Nilforushan (USA) who stepped up to the plate laying down the first clear round within the time allowed of 82 seconds.
Tripping the timers at 70.935 aboard Ali Nilforushan’s, My Love Carthago, the duo secured an early lead in the class. After being shut out of a podium position in Wednesday’s 1.35m Welcome Stake, Nilforushan carved away at the tricky track aboard the 10-year-old gelding, shaving off precious milliseconds that would prove to her advantage as the class rolled on.
Many of the riders in the middle of the pack appeared to potentially have what it took to take over the top spot, but the final fence proved to be their downfall as many took down a rail in their mad dash for the finish line. Carley Morrison was the first to break the dry spell of clear rounds aboard MJ Kaplan’s 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Crunch K. Though the duo was effortless over the fences clearing them with ease, their conscious effort to be careful on course left them with two time faults and no podium position.
Cassio Rivetti (BRA) and Chattanooga gave their best efforts on course, leaving all of the rails intact. Opting to take wider turns than their fellow competitors, the duo were only able to secure a time of 79.738, which would be good enough to settle into third place. Though they were far behind Nilforushan’s pace, Rivetti and HF Farms LLC’s 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding were only the third ride of the class to gallop away with no faults.
When it appeared that no one would be able to catch Nilforushan’s allusive time, Jamie Taylor (USA) took the challenge head-on aboard JT Equine LLC’s 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding, Quatar. As the $5,000 Spruce Meadows 1.35m NEEd for Speed Qualifier winner at Temecula Valley National Premier II, the California native knew how to put the pedal to the metal. The duo’s heartstopping pace proved to be fast enough, skyrocketing them to the top of the leaderboard with a time of 66.323.
Returning for a second time on course, this time with Lindsay Maxwell‘s 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood, Gerko III Van De Zeilhoek, Charlie Jones (GBR) showcased a different strategy on course. Having already had one go-around, Jones opted to heavily rely on his experienced 5* level mount’s extreme handiness. Jones kept his mount collected and chose to keep a shorter stride allowing him to aggressively slice the fences creating a new track that proved to be nearly as fast as Taylor’s new leading time. Though his efforts were good enough to secure a podium position, it would not be fast enough to take the top as he settled into second place.
Returning for yet another trip on course as the final round of the night, Taylor locked herself into the first place position. With a bonus shot at a podium and nothing to lose, Taylor (USA) and Spyglass Hill’s 11-year-old Zangersheide gelding, Cocoliche Of Greenhill Z, tore around the course as the crowd roared them on. Though their time of 78.407 was not fast enough for a podium position, Taylor’s ride abroad Quatar proved to be the best of the night ensuring a victory gallop and a blue ribbon.
Jumper competition comes to a head with the $40,000 Interactive Mortgage Grand Prix. Leading up to Saturday’s premier class, competitors will battle it out all Saturday long with the $5,000 Spruce Meadows 1.35m NEEd for Speed Qualifier and the $20,000 Professional Amateur Equitation Cup 3’3”.
Jamie Taylor – $10,000 CWD 1.40m Speed Classic Winner
“Quatar is 11-year-old and I have owned him now for a little over two years. He has really sort of become an old shoe, he is just so comfortable. We jumped around our first 1.50m class together, we jumped around our first 1.60m class together, he really is just an incredible horse and he is really hard to catch. He is very fast.”
On her strategy for the class:
“My goal was just to not screw it up for him. He is just a winner and my biggest problem is going too fast. It is so easy. His natural footspeed can win most classes so I just have to keep myself in check.”
On the course:
“I thought the course was excellent as always. Guilherme Jorge does a beautiful job and it was nice because if you were on a younger, greener horse there were options to just have a nice round, but if you were on a competitor there were inside turns and long lines you could really take advantage of.”
On her plans for the rest of the week:
“Qatar will get ready for the $40,000 Interactive Mortgage Grand Prix on Saturday and hopefully we will see the same result!”
On Nilforushan Equisport Events:
“The show is amazing. Every time you come here they have improved something. There is always the standby saying that the show has great footing, but every time you come here there is something else noticeable that has improved. It is a really good feeling to see a horse show manager want to make the best horse show he can.”
Final Results – $10,000 CWD Speed Classic 1.40m
1) Jamie Taylo (USA) & Quatar – 0 / 66.323
2) Charlie Jones (GBR) & Gerko III Van De Zeilhoek – 0 / 67.84
3) Francie Nilforushan (USA) & My Love Carthago – 0 / 70.935
Source: Press Release by Olivia Airhart from Phelps Sports
Photos: © Emma Miller