Aiken, South Carolina, USA – November 13, 2021 – Crowds gathered Saturday at Bruce’s Field to watch the venue’s second-ever FEI Grand Prix as the Split Rock Jumping Tour (SRJT) returned to Aiken to host the $100,000 1.50m Grand Prix CSI 3*. The feature event also marked the conclusion of the week’s FEI competition as thirty combinations set forth to challenge Peter Holmes‘ (USA) technical track.
It was once again an international victory at the SRJT Aiken International as Brazil’s Santiago Lambre raced to the top spot aboard Mario Onate‘s Comtess 202. The first-round track, consisting of 16 jumping efforts, challenged athletes with several delicate verticals including a triple combination (vertical-vertical-oxer) ahead of the final oxer on course. Michelle Braun (USA) was the first to answer all of the questions over the fences with Split Rock Farm’s Quinn, but crossed the timers just over the 83-second time-allowed on 83.17 to finish on one time fault. A clear effort was not delivered until sixteenth in the order when Brooke Kemper (USA) entered the ring with Arpeggi after which four combinations would follow.
Jump-off competition saw five combinations return to contest Holmes’ shortened track of 7 elements. First to go was Kemper, who was also in jump-off contention during Thursday’s $50,000 Restylane Welcome CSI 3*. The pair succumbed to an early rail on course, leaving the field wide open for the remaining four competitors. After a double-clear effort from Chloe Reid (USA) and Crossover 4, Thursday’s winner Aaron Vale (USA) tried his hand aboard Elusive. Vale, a crowd favorite in Aiken, crossed the timers at 38.14 seconds to take over the provisional lead.
However, his position wouldn’t last as Santiago Lambre (MEX) entered the ring next with Comtess 202, a 10-year-old Westphalian mare by Comme Il Faut 5. Utilizing not only immense speed between fences, Lambre also impressed the crowd with tight turns in all areas of the course, finishing it off with a long gallop to the last fence to stop the clocks at 36.87 seconds.
Jonathan McCrea (USA) was last to go with Fantasy BB, and despite a good fight through the course, fell just shy of Lambre’s time to ultimately claim second place on the podium, with Vale ending in third.
“First I would like to say thank you to Derek for putting on these shows. They are always at the best facilities and well done so I always try to make it to these shows,” commented Lambre. “The grand prix today was a really nice design – there were not so many clears and so five in the jump-off was perfect for a three-star. Jump-offs are always tough and I just try to do my best and today it paid off. I was glad that Aaron [Vale] didn’t go after me, because if he goes last he always finds places to take the time off. It’s important to go at the end and today was my lucky day for that! It’s wonderful weather here and it was so nice to have a supportive crowd so I just want to say thank you to everyone and all the sponsors.”
The Aiken International CSI 3* will continue into Sunday, November 14 for its final day of competition which will highlight the $20,000 Restylane 1.35m National Prix scheduled for 1 p.m. The final stop of the year for the Split Rock Jumping Tour will see FEI Jumping World Cup™ competition take center stage at the Fort Worth International CSI4*-W in December while the season will continue into 2022 with our newest location in Sarasota, hosting a CSI 2* rating and taking place January 26-30. Visit our website to learn more about our exciting tour and to complete entries for all tour stops.
Final Results – $100,000 Split Rock Jumping Tour Grand Prix CSI 3*
1) Santiago Lambre (BRA) & Comtess 202 – 0 / 0 – 36.870
2) Jonathan McCrea (USA) & Fantasy BB – 0 / 0 – 37.970
3) Aaron Vale (USA) & Elusive – 0 / 0 – 38.140
Source: Press Release from Split Rock Jumping Tour
Photos: © SRJT / Four Oaks Creative / Winslow Photograpy