Luis Larrazabal and G&C Flash Top $10,000 Welcome Stake in Vermont

Venezuela’s Luis Larrazabal earned an exciting victory in the $10,000 Vineyard Vines Welcome Stake, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, on Thursday, August 2, at the 2012 Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.  The six-week Vermont Summer Festival is running at Harold Beebe Farm from July 4 through August 12.

Luis Larrazabal and G&C Flash  (David Mullinix Photography)

In a six-horse jump-off, Larrazabal and Gustavo Mirabal’s G&C Flash beat out Wednesday’s $5,000 1.40m winners, Darragh Kenny and Lipton De L’Othain, by one-tenth of a second for the win, with Callie Schott and Wrigley finishing third.

Michel Vaillancourt, of Aiken, SC, is the course designer in the grand prix ring for week five’s Manchester & the Mountains Horse Show at the Vermont Summer Festival, and had the task of setting the course for Thursday’s $10,000 Vineyard Vines Welcome Stake. Twenty-two entries began the class, with six clearing the first round course without fault to advance to the jump-off. An exciting display of power and speed ensued as five entries cleared the short course and raced against the clock.

Luis Larrazabal and Anabel Simon’s G&C Sacramento were the first pair to clear the jump-off course and finished the class in fifth place with a time of 34.05 seconds. Tracy Magness, of Baltimore, MD, went next and cleared the course in 33.77 seconds to earn the fourth place prize aboard M/M John Bartko’s Tarco Van Ter Moude. Ireland’s Darragh Kenny and Lipton De L’Othain, owned by The Wannahave Group, also cleared the course and finished in 31.49 seconds to take over the lead, but eventually placed second. Callie Schott, of Cazenovia, NY, went clear and earned the third place prize with her time of 32.26 seconds aboard John Madden Sales, Inc.’s Wrigley. Up next, Luis Larrazabal had his second mount in the jump-off with G&C Flash, and the pair edged Kenny out of the lead with their time of 31.32 seconds.

Another Irish rider, Paul O’Shea, was the last entry to make it to the jump-off riding Instant Karma, who he owns in partnership with Michael Hayden. O’Shea and Instant Karma had an unfortunate stop and then a rail at the last fence in the short course to incur eight jumping and three time faults and finished the class in sixth place.

Riding for G&C Farm, of Wellington, FL, Luis Larrazabal had two top placings in Thursday’s class, winning with G&C Flash and placing fifth aboard G&C Sacramento, owned by his mother, Anabel Simon. He also showed the horses G&C Lepanto and G&C Leroy, both owned by Gustavo Mirabal. It is a big job to show four horses in one class, but Larrazabal was up to the challenge and enjoys having multiple horses to ride.

“It was really nice for G&C to give me the opportunity to have more than one horse to do the big classes with,” Larrazabal said following his win. “For sure I have a bigger chance to win with all of these horses.  It is a lot of work, but we all work together to get it done.”

The winning horse, G&C Flash, is a ten-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Forrester x Grannus. Flash has had international experience competing in Europe on the Global Champions Tour and showing at the grand prix level with Olympic show jumping veteran Pablo Barrios. Flash is a new mount for Larrazabal this year, and this is their first big win together.

Speaking about his rounds, Larrazabal stated, “Flash was amazing; he was jumping really well today. This was his first class this week, so he was fresh and jumping really nice. I felt like it was easy for him to jump this. The course was tough and it is a new ring for us; this is our first time here, but the horse is jumping much better every day and we are getting better together.”

“He is not a difficult horse to ride,” Larrazabal added. “You have to go a little bit forward, but not have too much pressure and just let him jump, let him work and do his job.”

Fifth place finisher Sacramento is a 13-year-old KWPN gelding by No Limit x Ircolando that Larrazabal has had for three years and rode to the individual gold medal in the 2011 South American Young Rider Championships.

On riding the different horses, Larrazabal noted, “There is a big difference between Flash and Sacramento. Sacramento is a little bit lazy, but also more powerful. I have to put more leg on him and work him harder, so it is more difficult for me to ride Sacramento. Flash likes to give a little gap before the jump, but I am learning to ride him better. Flash, Leroy and Lepanto are all hotter horses; they build more to the jump, so for me they are easier because I am small. They are all different, but I just focus on each round with each horse.”

Owned by Gustavo and Carolina Mirabal, G&C Farm brought nine horses to Vermont for the next two weeks of competition with Larrazabal and 21-year-old Mark Bluman, of Colombia, as their primary riders. Larrazabal had four horses in Thursday’s class, and Bluman rode two others.

Larrazabal, 19, is originally from Caracas, Venezuela, and moved to the United States two years ago to pursue a career in show jumping.  Training for two years with Pablo Barrios, Larrazabal had great success as a young rider. He now rides for G&C Farm under the tutelage of Rodrigo and Helio Pessoa. With Rodrigo in London representing Brazil in the Olympic Games, Helio is in Vermont to train the G&C Farm horses and riders.

This is the first time showing in Vermont for both Larrazabal and Bluman. The two have been friends for almost eight years after meeting at a children’s show jumping championship in Ecuador, and now work together full time.

“Marky has helped me a lot and thanks to him this job has been easier for me,” Larrazabal acknowledged. “We help each other with everything. We do entries together, we add the horses to the horse show, he helps me with my horses and I help him. It is easier with him, I can tell you that.”

The decision to come to Vermont was made after G&C Farm decided to send the horses and riders up north for the summer. The group had great success in Saugerties, NY, and is now in Vermont for the final two weeks of competition.

“Gustavo wanted us to do some new horse shows up north and stay up here because the weather is better and he wanted us to see new places and have new experiences,” Larrazabal said. “I think it was a good opportunity to come here. It is better for the horses and better for us. We are experiencing new places, meeting new people, and I think we can learn more from this.”

For over 20 years, the Vermont Summer Festival has attracted exhibitors and their families to the Manchester region in southern Vermont. The Vermont Summer Festival is a proud member event of the Show Jumping Hall Of Fame, the Marshall & Sterling League, and the North American League (NAL).  For more information about the Vermont Summer Festival, please e-mail: or visit

$10,000 Vineyard Vines Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets

1  Luis Larrazabal, G&C Flash

2  Darragh Kenny, Lipton De L’Othain

3  Callie Schott, Wrigley

4  Tracy Magness, Tarco Van Ter Moude

5  Luis Larrazabal, G&C Sacramento

6  Paul O’Shea, Instant Karma

7  Stella Manship, Louisiana 123

8  Darragh Kenny, Bazooka De Muze