Edited Press Release
The Lugano Diamonds Split Rock Jumping Tour (SRJT) opened three weeks of hunter, jumper, and equitation competition at the Kentucky Horse Park with its first year leading the Kentucky National. The event saw a full class lineup that was highlighted on the final day by the $50,000 Lugano Diamonds 1.50m Grand Prix where Savannah Hemby secured the only double-clear finish and the feature victory aboard her own Juju VDM (Toulon x For Pleasure).
The first-round track set by Eric Hasbrouck saw a majority of horse-and-rider pairs fall victim to its final line, a triple combination (vertical-vertical-oxer) to the Split Rock oxer. Olympic veteran Will Simpson was the first clear-round pathfinder, piloting Two Socks Farm LLC’s Quentin VA (Quarz x Cash and Carry) to a faultless finish that proved difficult to match. The youngest competitor in the class, 17-year-old Stephanie Garrett and Ibera v/d Hagenhorst (Chacco Blue x Indoctro), owned by Postage Stamp Farm, LLC, came close to contesting Simpson with a second round as the duo navigated the fences fault-free, but it came at the expense of one time fault. Simpson’s lead would remain safe for several rounds to follow until Hemby entered near the end of the starting order to guarantee the long-awaited jump-off.
Simpson knew he needed to put the pressure on his only challenger as he set off with a swift pace in the second round, but an unfortunate and costly rail would leave the door open. Hemby knew all she needed to do was secure a clear finish and did just that. Simpson would settle for second place while Garrett would round out the podium in third.
Jumpers were not the only group highlighted at the Kentucky National, as the week also drew in equitation athletes for several regional equitation championships. The feature of which was the NHS ASPCA Maclay Region 4 Championship where the junior riders were challenged over a technical track before returning for further testing on the flat. It was ultimately Blythe Goguen who emerged victorious riding Ashland Farms’ Class Act. Earlier in the week, the Hamel Foundation NHS 3’3″ Equitation Midwest Regional Championship was crowned to Maddie Figgie riding Levanto, owned by Wolfstone Stables & Sales, Inc.
SRJT continues its tour in Lexington, Kentucky for two more weeks of competition with the Split Rock Hunter Jumper Fall 1 & 2 CSI3* which will continue to host hunter, jumper, and equitation classes for all levels.