Lexington, Kentucky, USA – September 30, 2022 – The Split Rock Hunter Jumper Fall I CSI 3* kicked off on Wednesday, September 28 for its debut series at the Kentucky Horse Park. Marking the fifth stop of the 2022 tour, the Lugano Diamonds Split Rock Jumping Tour (SRJT) will host two weeks of competition for hunter, jumper and equitation athletes. Friday was highlighted by the $50,000 BetHorseSports.Com 1.45m Welcome CSI 3*, in which Aaron Vale (USA) and Prescott saved the best for last in a field of 57 to take the lion’s share of the prize money.
Anderson Lima’s (BRA) 16-effort first-round track offered an inviting course, with 15 combinations navigating fault free. Although two pairs elected not to return for the second round, the jump-off proved competitive as 13 combinations challenged the course with tight rollbacks and sharp slices across standalone verticals where many fell victim to rails. Only four combinations emerged double-clear with Daisy Farish (USA) leading the way on Etonemoi del Cabalero in a time of 43.02 seconds. However, her time would quickly prove beatable as each clear rider improved on the previous.
Victoria “Tory” Ketchum (USA) edged just ahead in 42.41 seconds aboard Extasy (Quadros x Clearway), but they were quickly overtaken as Darragh Kerins (IRL) immediately followed on Valentino Tuiliere (Diamant de Semilly x Silvio) in a time of 39.7 seconds.
With the first and the final entries, Vale would ultimately save the best for last on the Thinkslikeahorse-owned 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Lordanos x Unknown). Vale and Prescott shaved a mere eight-hundredths of a second off of Kerins’ time to capture the victory in 39.62 seconds. Kerins would ultimately settle for second place, followed by Ketchum in third.
No stranger to the top of the SRJT podium, Vale noted how he consistently kept Prescott inside the track pattern of the previous riders before him to capture the top time: “It’s 8 strides from [fence] 1 to 2 and I actually got there a little too early, but I used that to my advantage and was able to turn and maybe get inside everybody’s tracks on the way to 3. I caught that very fast and back to the next oxer [at fence 4], I was definitely inside of everybody’s tracks. I wanted to make sure I cleared that vertical, but I took a chance there at the oxer and it came up just right with a beautiful distance off the tight turn – I was maybe 3 or 4 feet inside tracks I could see so I definitely saved some time there.”
Competition at the Split Rock Hunter Jumper Fall I series will continue through the weekend with the week’s feature event being the $100,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix CSI 3*, presented by Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, on Sunday, October 2.
Final Results – $50,000 BetHorseSports.Com Welcome CSI 3*
1) Aaron Vale (USA) & Prescott – 0 / 0 – 39.62
2) Darragh Kerins (IRL) & Valentino Tuiliere – 0 / 0 – 39.7
3) Victoria Ketchum (USA) & Extasy – 0 / 0 – 42.41
Source: Press Release from Split Rock Jumping Tour
Photos: © Winslow Photography