Blenheim Spring Classic III welcomed the return of the Bronze Tour to the Oaks International Grand Prix Field at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park. Oscar Soberon (West Palm Beach, FL) designed beautiful courses ranging from 1.30m to 1.35m all week long for the three events. Winning the feature event of the Bronze Tour, the $20,000 1.35m Bronze Tour Classic, was Mary Frances Looke’s Guapa ridden by Hillary Ridland. Whoop De Doo, owned by Coxe Horses LLC, and Olympian Will Simpson claimed the win in the $10,000 1.35m Bronze Tour Speed Stake on Friday; and Jason McArdle rode Fairbank Valley Farm LLC’s Elicole to victory on Thursday in the $5,000 1.30m Bronze Tour Two-Phase.
$20,000 1.35m Bronze Tour Jumper Classic
As the feature event of the Bronze Tour, the $20,000 1.35m Bronze Tour Classic saw thirty entries navigate the fifteen-effort course. Eight riders returned for the shortened course and in the end it was Hillary Ridland (Irvine, CA) aboard Guapa who emerged victorious. With a clean ride and jump-off time of 41.922 seconds they took home the lion’s share of the prize pool plus additional awards provided by Shady Lady, SmartPak and Topline Design Ribbon Wreaths.
Guapa was purchased two years ago from Stal Hendrix in an auction in Holland. Ridland has steadily brought the horse up the ranks and hopes to start competing the mare at the 1.50m level in the near future. The ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare thrived across Sunday’s track.
“For her that was a great course because you just picked up a roll and kept galloping and that’s what she loves doing. Hence how fast she can be in the jump off, she just loves to gallop. Even last week when it was technical in the 1.45m, she rose to the challenge. I mean she really just keeps surprising us,” explained Ridland.
The West Coast Jumping Tours are an addition to the Blenheim EquiSports Show schedule. The Tour provides classes at varying heights and prize money allowing plenty of options for riders to compete at different levels. Ridland competed in the tours during both weeks they were available during the Blenheim Spring Classic series.
Besides the enhanced prize money offered, Ridland expanded on the benefit of the tours: “These tours provide the tools to develop and meet goals. Regardless if you are a rider, owner, or developing a horse they provide the benchmarks needed to succeed; they set a standard of excellence that can be measured. Combined with the new Ticket To Ride Jumper Series & Rider Bonus Program, for us out here in California, we now have various programs which allow us to plan our year, just like that of an Olympic athlete.”
Stopping the clock at 42.826 seconds in the classic to finish second was Brian Morton (Calgary, AB) and Chili Pepper. Chili Pepper is a twelve-year-old gelding owned by Spruce Meadows LTD. Taking home third with a jump-off time of 45.575 seconds was Shawn Casady (Harriman, TN) and Kaiser Van Het Lambroeck, owned by Camille Lebond.
$15,000 1.35m Bronze Tour Speed Stake
On Friday, thirty-three entries contested the $15,000 1.35m Bronze Tour Speed Stake. The fourteen-effort track featured two double combinations and an option at fence eight. Speeding to victory was Whoop De Doo, owned by Coxe Horse LLC, with Will Simpson (Westlake Village, CA) at the reins. The duo crossed the timers at 67.404 seconds to claim their victory.
Clocking in at 68.017 seconds to claim the second-place position was Trent McGee (Granada Hills, CA) with Mashallah, owned by Mashallah Horses LLC. Lisa Carlsen (Okotoks, AB) aboard Livestream 2, owned by the Livestream Group, rounded out the top three with a time of 70.487 seconds.
$5,000 1.30m Bronze Tour Two-Phase
Thirty-six entries challenged the $5,000 1.30m Bronze Tour Two-Phase Thursday afternoon. Emerging victorious was Elicole and Jason McArdle (Rancho Santa Fe, CA). Elicole is a twelve-year-old Dutch Warmblood owned by Fairbanks Valley Farms LLC. Second place honors were awarded to Jeffery Fields (Redwood City, CA) and Sherlina Ale, owned by Sahana Ganesan. Mr. Miracle Man owned and ridden by Katie Kehring (Woodside, CA) claimed the third place honors.
All Photos: McCool Photography