Edited Press Release
Culpeper, Va. – August 21, 2022 – Sometimes, a new partnership comes together right from the start, and on Sunday that proved to be the case for Evan Coluccio with his new mount Christian D’Or. The 9-year-old Belgian Warmblood owned by Sea Sporthorses LLC arrived at Coluccio’s farm just 10 days ago, and the $20,000 HITS Open Prix marked their competition debut. They showed their new partnership is a winning one by besting a five-horse jump-off to take home the top prize, kicking off an exciting future together.
“This was my very first class with him ever,” expressed Coluccio. “He is a really good horse, and I feel like I can really trust him. I think he can jump very big jumps, and I think very highly of him – he’s got a big future. Once I got going, I was like, ‘Okay, this is easy. We can cruise around.’ He couldn’t have been better. He was just with me and he listened great – he did everything I asked of him. I was a little unsure of what to expect in the beginning, but he was awesome!”
Catsy Cruz set a technical track for the day’s main event in the Grand Prix Ring at Commonwealth Park. The first round started with a bending line, and the end of the course demanded accuracy with an oxer-vertical-vertical triple combination before the final line, which featured a vertical-oxer double combination before the final oxer headed towards the gate. Five advanced to the jump-off, which also began over a bending line and finished over the same double combination to the oxer after a fast gallop around the final turn.
Tracy Magness was the first to return with her veteran mount Intenz Van HD, clearing the course and setting the Great American Time to Beat at 41.326 seconds. Coluccio was next with his first mount of the day, Diabolo De La Roque. The duo beat Magness’ time, but it came at the expense of a rail for 4 faults in 39.062 seconds. Juliana Thorbecke was able to leave all the rails intact with Andromeda Z, but they were slower than Magness after crossing the finish line in 41.954.
Coluccio returned to the ring with his plan in place, relying on his new mount’s large stride and ease over the fences. He and Christian D’Or left out a stride in the first two lines and easily made the turn to the final line, galloping home in a faultless 39.103 to go straight to the top of the leaderboard. Magness had one last chance to bring home the win with Chopin Du Chateau Hollogne Z, and while they had the time, luck was not on their side. With several rails down they settled for fifth place. Coluccio and Christian D’Or’s debut performance proved perfect, claiming the win, while Magness placed second with Intenz Van HD, and Thorbecke rounded out the top three with Andromeda Z.
“I didn’t know how well [Christian D’Or] could turn or things like that, but I did know he had a big stride, so I did one less stride in the full first line,” explained Coluccio. “Then there was an inside turn, but no one else in the class did it. I did it on [Diabolo De La Roque], but that’s where I had one down, but I thought, ‘OK, I can still do it on him too.’ He felt right with me, so I figured I was there, and he did it, and he did it great!”
Coluccio hopes Sunday’s victory is the first of many for the new combination. “I think he’s a really good horse,” he smiled. “I rode him, and we just clicked right off the bat. In the first 10 jumps, I was like, ‘Okay, I love the horse.’ I had no idea what to expect [today], so it was great that I was able to slip up here and get this done. He’s a sweetheart – he’s such a genuine horse.”
HITS Culpeper has always proven to be lucky for Coluccio, and Sunday proved to be no exception. “I showed here a ton as a junior, and I have always had good luck here and always had success,” he concluded. “It’s also quite convenient for me, which is very helpful. The ring is big and nice, and it’s laid back. It’s really good to bring young horses and get some experience. It was super, [Christian D’Or] had a nice positive experience and was able to come jump a nice course.”