Upperville, Virginia, USA – June 12, 2021 – It was all about speed Saturday afternoon at the Upperville Colt & Horse Show (UCHS) with international athletes taking aim at the $37,000 Upperville Speed Stakes CSI 4*, presented by GW & Wade. Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) and Venice Beach won their second FEI class of the week, besting USA’s McLain Ward with Blossom Z and Grace Debney (GBR) aboard Boheme de La Roque who finished second and third, respectively.
Marina Azevedo (BRA) built the 13-effort track, which included two double combinations and several inside turns, as well as long approaches to make up time as they raced to the finish line in hopes of topping the leaderboard. Thirty-five top international athletes vied for first place honors over Azevedo’s speed course with 21 combinations finishing on zero faults.
Ward was third in the ring with Blossom Z, an 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare owned by Heller, Wyndmont and Ward. They set the pace to beat, wearing a target on their back after breaking the beam in 58.10 seconds.
The rest of the field tried to catch them, with 17-year-old Debney of Great Britain coming close midway through the class with Boheme de La Roque, a 10-year-old Selle Français mare owned by Temple Equestrian LLC. Debney stopped the clock in 58.42 seconds with all the rails intact to finish just behind the Olympian, Ward.
However, Pessoa and Venice Beach, an 11-year-old Hanoverian mare owned by Artemis Equestrian Farm LLC, had the luck of the draw in their favor. As the penultimate combination to enter the ring, Pessoa was able to watch Ward’s round and better it by half a second, cruising through the finish line a faultless 57.74 seconds to capture the victory, while Ward would settle for second and Debney rounded out the top three.
Pessoa was confident in his mare and knew that she could rise to the occasion again this week. Venice Beach is known for excelling in speed class and after watching most of the class, Rodrigo knew exactly what he had to do for them to be victorious yet again.
International competition at the Upperville Colt & Horse Show concludes Sunday at 2:30 p.m. with the highlight event, the $213,300 Upperville Jumper Classic CSI 4*, co-sponsored by Ethel M. Chocolates and Lugano Diamonds.
Final Results – $37,000 Upperville Speed Stakes CSI 4*
Place / Rider / Horse / R1 Faults | Time
1) Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) & Venice Beach – 0 / 57.74
2) McLain Ward (USA) & Blossom Z – 0 / 58.10
3) Grace Debney (GBR) & Boheme De La Roque – 0 / 58.42
4) Brianne Goutal-Marteau (USA) & Tanael Des Bonnes – 0 / 59.25
5) Lillie Keenan (USA) & Agana Van Het Gerendal Z – 0 / 59.34
6) Molly Ashe Cawley (USA) & Berdien – 0 /59.60
7) Katherine Dinan (USA) & Dougie Douglas – 0 / 59.65
8) Amy Millar (CAN) & Christiano – 0 / 59.83
9) Nicky Galligan (IRL) & Castelissimo – 0 / 60.29
10) Schuyler Riley (USA) & Sandilot PS – 0 / 61.41
11) Gavin Harley (IRL) & Corbawido PS – 0 / 62.02
12) Schuyler Riley (USA) & Quilimbo – 0 / 62.67
Source: Press Release by Ally Shaffer / Phelps Media Group for Upperville Colt & Horse Show
Photos: © Phelps Sports Ally Shaffer