a beautiful, balmy night in northeast Florida, Kyle King and his ten year old Hanoverian mare, Finnete, won the $25,000 Jacksonville Winter National Grand Prix by making a tight, fast turn to the last line in the jump-off and thrilling the cheering crowd.a beautiful, balmy night in northeast Florida, Kyle King and his ten year old Hanoverian mare, Finnete, won the $25,000 Jacksonville Winter National Grand Prix by making a tight, fast turn to the last line in the jump-off and thrilling the cheering crowd.
On a beautiful, balmy night in northeast Florida, Kyle King and his ten year old Hanoverian mare, Finnete, won the $25,000 Jacksonville Winter National Grand Prix by making a tight, fast turn to the last line in the jump-off and thrilling the cheering crowd.
The Jacksonville Winter National Grand Prix is hosted by the North Florida Hunter Jumper Association during the Jacksonville Winter National Show. The National is week three of the five week Jacksonville Winter Series held from January 4 through February 5 this year in Green Cove Springs, Florida.
The first round course had twenty-five horse and rider combinations testing their skill on a design set by Anthony D’Ambrosio. King noted, "Anthony is one of the best course designers. When I saw the course, I thought, ‘I’m gonna like this.’." He added, "The jumps were quite a bit lower than last week, but there were enough traps. I really liked it because you could attack the jumps." At the end of the first round, there were eleven clear rounds and six with just one rail down.
The first clear in round one and the first to return for the shortened course was Bill Lowry and Winsor Farm Sales, Inc.’s Rio Corde. Unfortunately, they had a rail down with a time of 38.377. The jump-off gave riders the opportunity to make one inside turn, which all but one took in an effort to reduce their time. Following Lowry was Vick Russell on Shiloh’s Gasherbraum, owned by Dave Robinson, who managed a clear second round with a time of 40.122, taking the early lead.
Next in was Loro Piana Gorgias, ridden by Erin McCabe for the Gem Stables. The pair pulled a pole on a skinny vertical and finished with four faults and a time of 40.122. Following McCabe, Trillion and owner/rider Mary Elizabeth Moore flashed around the course and became the new leaders with a clear round and a time of 39.589.
Kyle King won last week’s $15,000 Welcome Class and finished sixth in the $65,000 World Cup Qualifier. His first ride for tonight’s grand prix was Finnete, owned by Robin Cox. "This is a new horse for me. This is only the fourth time I’ve shown her. She came from a very good rider in Mexico. Hopefully, she’s the horse of the future for me," said King.
Their future looks bright as they shot around the jump-off using the inside turn for a clear round and a pace setting time of 33.943. David Jennings and Amy Lefferdink’s Costa Sur were the next to attempt the jump-off. Jennings and the ten year old Westphalian stallion were fast, making the inside turn and angling to the jumps as much as possible. They finished clear but with a time of 34.567, missing King’s time by .624 seconds. This currently placed them in second place.
Next in the ring was Tommy Feigel riding La Paz for owner Don Stewart. The pair flashed around the shortened course but caught a rail and finished with four faults and a time of 35.323. Polygraaf, owned by Winsor Farm Sales, Inc. and ridden by Bill Lowry, cruised around the jump-off in 37.497 but pulled a rail and finished in the group with four faults.
Bringing Estival, his second mare, into the jump-off for owner Kathryn Hall, Kyle King blazed around the course in the fastest time of the evening Ð 33.337. Unfortunately, the pair pulled a pole at the third vertical and again at the vertical going into the last line for a total of eight faults. Owner/rider Tracy Magness and Kilpatrick were next in the ring and conquered the jump-off with a fast time of 37.574 and no faults to move into third place. The final trip of the evening was Gerona 92, a ten year old Hanoverian mare who began her career in the hunter ring. Ridden by Mary Lisa Nicholson-Leffler for Rolling Acres Farm, Gerona 92 conquered the shortened course with a time of 39.569 and no faults to move into fourth place.
King confided that he had hurt his back several days ago while hacking another horse and hadn’t ridden again until the Grand Prix. He said, "I was pretty lucky I could ride. But this horse has very good technique Ð I made a little mistake, she saved me. I can gallop to the verticals on her." He added, "She’s had a lot of experience. She’s won ten or eleven Grand Prix. It’s taken me a while to get used to her, but she’s a treat to ride." Tonight gave him a taste of how nice that treat can be.
Official Results: $25,000 Jacksonville Winter National Grand Prix
- Finnete, Kyle King, 0/0/33.943
- Costa Sur, David Jennings, 0/0/34.567
- Kilpatrick, Tracy Magness, 0/0/37.574
- Gerona 92, Mary Lisa Nicholson-Leffler, 0/0/39.569
- Trillion, Mary Elizabeth Moore, 0/0/39.589
- Shiloh’s Gasherbraum, Vick Russell, 0/0/40.122
- La Paz, Tommy Feigel, 0/4/35.323
- Polygraaf, Bill Lowry, 0/4/37.497
- Rio Corde, Bill Lowry, 0/4/38.377
- Loro Piana Gorgias, Erin McCabe, 0/4/39.042
- Estival, Kyle King, 0/8/33.337
- Contendress, Tommy Feigel, 4/77.887