By Sydney Lowe
THERMAL, Calif. – March 14, 2021 – Sunday was Classic Day across every ring at the Desert International Horse Park as the grand prix arena featured the Junior/Amateur Owner Jumper Classic 1.35m sponsored by Charlebois Farm, the Junior/Amateur Owner Jumper Classic 1.45m sponsored by Kask and the $25,000 Open Classic 1.40m sponsored by Vita Flex. It was Jeff Campf and Fugon that lead the victory gallop in the feature class of the day.
Course designer Peter Grant (CAN) created the tracks for the day with bending lines and S-turns, allowing competitors to tour the entire ring. Grant set a triple combination next to the new open water jump that was just installed for the North American Youth Championship Trials, which take place during Week VIII of the Desert Circuit.
In the $25,000 Open Classic 1.40m, seven of the 27 starters moved on to the shortened jump off course, which allowed riders to gallop and leave strides out in the bending lines and make tighter turns. Three of the seven put in double clear rounds with Campf having the advantage of two horses in the jump off. Returning first on Tender Star, owned by OZ Investments, Campf of Canby, OR, got the opportunity to test out the track but racked up four faults in the process. Campf returned on Fugon, owned by OZ Investments, and put the pedal to the medal this time stopping the clock at 41.866 for the win and check for $7,500.
“It’s really a great luxury when you get to ride around the jump off twice,” said Campf. “I was really surprised I had the first jump down on [Tender Star] but after that then it was just go for broke. I would say my second horse [Fugon] is the faster horse of the two, it has a bigger stride and a bolder gallop. I felt I still had my best opportunity coming at the end. I will say I did not think I could go faster than Mark [Kinsella] went but today was my lucky day and the jumps just came up forward for me.”
Campf was grateful for his team along with Ali Nilforushan and his wife, Shelley, who matched him with the horse, “I think it always takes a great horse,” added Campf, “so I am grateful for that.”
“The improvements they continue to make here are impressive,” added Campf. “Working with us on the scheduling and the influx of different prize money in different areas and the ability to spread it around to let us develop young horses rather than just the prize money for one big class really helps us out and I really appreciate that.”
Coming in a nickel’s worth slower with a time of 42.444 was Mark Kinsella aboard Chaplin 92, who took home the second place award. Chaplin 92, the 2007 Hanoverian gelding by Chacco-Blue, is owned by Realy Stable. Kinsella is based out of LaQuinta, CA, and represents Ireland in International competition.
Just fractions of a second behind Kinsella was Trent McGee on his Dutch Warmblood mare, Boucherom, with a time of 42.698. McGee hails from Granada Hills, CA, and works for Archie Cox’s Brookway Stable. McGee won his first Grand Prix in 2020 and just turned professional in February of this year.
In the Junior/Amateur Owner Jumper Classic 1.45m, Brooke Rose Morin, 17, of Laguna Beach, and her NKH Carrido were the best in the class of 19 competitors with only four getting the opportunity to head to the jump off. Morin was the only rider to put in a clear round in the jump off, landing her in the winner’s circle.
Morin has had her eleven-year-old stallion a year now and says he is the most perfect horse ever. She will be participating in the North American Youth Championship Trials (NAYC) during Week VIII and is looking forward to jumping the new open water jump in the grand prix ring. Morin rides with Bridgeport Farms based in San Juan Capistrano, CA.
Stella Wasserman had the fastest time of 43.113 on her Iphigeneia De Muze but added 4 faults to their score to land in second place. Cate Tomlinson was just behind Wasserman with a time of 43.331 but added 8 faults to her jump off round to take home third place.
Leading the pack in the Junior/Amateur Owner Jumper Classic 1.35m was Maison McIntyre and Cadeau, the fastest of only two double clear rounds. With a time of 42.451, McIntyre edged out Sean Summers and Florence by a second for the win. Rounding out the top three was Serena Anand and Cochabamba, who had the fastest time in the class but added four faults to their jump off score. Seven riders overall tried their efforts in the jump off out of 33 horse and rider combinations.
McIntyre is 14, of Palo Alto, CA and rides with Willow Tree Farm and trainers Guy and Butch Thomas.
“I was super excited and I just wanted to get a nice smooth double clear round to end the weekend and that’s exactly what we did. We basically lead the whole way, we went third, early in the order. I just got this horse in July and we just moved up to the 1.30m a month ago I’m really happy with him,” explained McIntyre.