Alex Granato & King van het Keizershof Claim the Crown at the Split Rock Jumping Tour Championship

Sarasota, Florida, USA – January 29, 2023 – The Lugano Diamonds Split Rock Jumping Tour (SRJT) highlighted the final day of the Split Rock Sarasota CSI 2* with its inaugural $300,000 Split Rock Championship Series taking center stage in the main arena at TerraNova Equestrian Center. With nearly 140 combinations contesting Sunday’s new events, the winners were awarded at heights of 1.35m, 1.25m and 1.15m to Alex Granato (USA), Caelinn Leahy (USA), and Aaron Vale (USA), respectively.

The new championship series operated under a winning round format with the top 25% of each section returning for the second shortened round in reverse order of qualification from the first round as each championship tackled a new track set by Canada’s Peter Holmes.

An exciting afternoon concluded with the $100,000 1.35m Championship that welcomed 32 entries, allowing slots for 8 combinations to return in the second round. The higher fences proved to add more difficulty for riders with only half of the top 8 jumping a clear round across the first track.

As the only championship to see four-fault finishers return, the pressure was on from the start in round two. However, the clear rounds picked up in the second round and they only got faster as the starting order worked its way through. Martien Van Der Hoeven (USA) and Daytona S.E were the first of the round-one clears to return, jumping around in a conservative time of 44.368 seconds. 

Haley Hammer (USA) followed, stepping up the pace and crossing the timers with Royale du Rouet in 42.466 seconds, where she was quickly matched by Kaitlyn Williams (USA) and Cassio Melloni who edged just ahead in 42.041 seconds.

Always a quick contender and the last to go, Alex Granato (USA) and King Van Het Keizershof (Clearway x Phin Phin), owned by Kisma Equestrian, blazed across in 38.079 seconds to take the win by more than four seconds. The top four would remain unchanged from the first round with Granato taking the win, Williams in second, Hammer in third and Van Der Hoeven in fourth.

“I’ve been lucky enough to see Derek [Braun] start with his one day shows at his home farm and seeing what he’s developed just here in the U.S. with a new idea every year, a different leg, and the addition this series…it helps [the riders] with a great payoff,” said Granato.

Final Results – $100,000 1.35m Championship

1) Alex Granato (USA) & King Van Het Keizershof – 0 / 0 – 38.079

2) Kaitlyn Williams (USA) & Cassio Melloni  (USA) – 0 / 0 – 42.041

3) Haley Hammer (USA) & Royale du Rouet – 0 / 0 – 42.041

Source: Press Release from SRJT – Split Rock Jumping Tour

Photo: © SRJT / Winslow Photograpy