Simonne Berg & Cooper Soar to Second in $20,000 Speed Classic at Temecula

Temecula, California – October 21, 2021 – Closing out competition Thursday afternoon in the Grand Prix Arena was the $20,000 1.40m Speed Classic, sponsored by EquiFit, at Galway Downs for Nilforushan Equisport Events’ Temecula Valley National Fall Week II. All seven classes held in the expansive arena were set in the USEF Table II Section I format, encouraging riders to go pedal to the medal for a clear round to earn the win. With only one shot in the ring to claim victory, the riders battled it out, leaving nothing on the table. The atmosphere was lively with spectators gathering to watch the field of top competitors vie for top honors. In the end, it was Cassio Rivetti (BRA) and Kandella who topped the leaderboard with the quickest clear round.

Course designer Peter Grant (CAN) set forth a track fit for the 1.40m Speed Classic competition, offering a 14-obstacle course that utilized the entire arena, giving horse-and-rider combinations room to take tight turns and gallop long distances. Though built specifically for speed, Grant’s track proved deceptively difficult with the addition of multiple rollbacks and two combination lines. Riders with a rail could still take the prize if they were fast enough, but Rivetti and Kandella found the balance of speed and agility to take the spot at the top of the leaderboard.

While speed proved to be no issue for the competitors, rails plagued the pack as they rushed for the blue ribbon. Rivetti (BRA) entered the ring aboard Kandella, an eight-year-old Warmblood mare owned by Delaney Batter. The pair navigated the course using tight turns and rollbacks to put in a fault-free round in a time of 69.604 seconds. Rivetti and Kandella’s strong partnership played in their favor as they remained unbeaten for the entirety of the class, ultimately taking home the lion’s share of earnings for the day. 

Simonne Berg (USA) and Cooper, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Berg Equestrian Enterprises LLC, gave their best efforts, opting to take slightly wider turns than their fellow competitors and approaching jumps with caution. The pair’s technique to the twists and turns of the demanding course paid off, stopping the timers in just 70.292 seconds with no faults. Though Berg’s tactful efforts would not be enough to push her to the lead, the time would be enough to secure her the second place position on the leaderboard.

As the competition neared the end of the line-up, Jeffrey Fields (NZL) and Sherlina Ale, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare owned by Sahana Ganesan, came in eager to earn a top spot on the podium. The pair kicked it into high gear, seamlessly navigating the course with ease. They sliced and diced their way through the course, stopping the clock at a faultless 70.616 seconds, just shy of the coveted winning time, settling them into the third-place spot.

Competition at the final week of the Temecula Valley National Fall Series takes a fun and exciting turn Friday, October 22, with the $5,000 NEE Hunter/Jumper Team Challenge, which will be held in the Grand Prix Arena in full costume. Top show jumping competition comes to a dramatic conclusion Saturday with the $10,000 NEEd for Speed Derby, sponsored by Multi Radiance Super Pulsed Lasers, and the highlight event of the week, the $50,000 Grand Prix, sponsored by First National Bank of Pasco, held concurrently with the $1,000 U25 Jumper Classic, sponsored by Equine Discounts. 

Final Results – $20,000 1.40m Speed Classic

1) Cassio Rivetti (BRA) & Kandella – 0 / 69.60

2) Simonne Berg (USA) & Cooper – 0 / 70.29

3) Jeffrey Fields (NZL) & Sherlina Ale – 0 / 70.61

4) Matthew Williams (USA) & FR Yandoo Pennsylvania – 0 / 71.42

5) Patrick Seaston (GBR) & Skipio K – 0 / 73.79

6) Keri Potter (USA) & Bisou – 0 / 74.17

7) Keri Potter (USA) & Ariell La Sirene – 0 / 77.32

8) Ashley Stannard (USA) & Isaac – 0 / 80.00

9) Francie Nilforushan (USA) & Florencio – 0 / 80.40

10) Jamie Taylor (USA) & Cocoliche of Greenhill Z – 4 / 69.06

11) Jamie Taylor (USA) & Chaman Semilly – 4 / 73.05

12) Eric Navet (FRA) & Tizian 79 – 4 / 73.39

Source: Press Release by Olivia Airhart / Phelps Media Group for Nilforushan Equisport Events

Photos: © Olivia Airhart