Jonathan McCrea and Twisther Speed to Victory in $12,000 Welcome Stake

The Jumper Classic, presented by Fidelity Investments and Audi of America, hosted their $12,000 Welcome Stake today at the Silver Oak Equestrian Center, Hampton Falls, New Hampshire. The winner of the $12,000 Welcome Stake was Jonathan McCrea of East Windsor, CT, on Twisther, owned by Candy Tribble and Windsor Show Stables.

There were five classes held in the Coldwell Bankers Previews Grand Prix Field today, and the courses were designed by Olaf Petersen, Jr. of Munich, Germany. There were 22 entries in the $12,000 Welcome Stake, and riders had the option to ride their jump-off round immediately following their first round or to return at the end of the class.

The $12,000 Welcome Stake was a qualifier to determine the Order of Go for Sunday’s grand prix class. McCrea and Twisther rode their jump-off immediately following their first round and were able to lower the winning time to 34.539 seconds with a clear round.

Jonathan McCrea and Twisther  (Tammy Hardy photo)
Cody Parker and Ambitious (Tammy Hardy photo)
Francesca Bolfo and Venus TR (Tammy Hardy photo)

McCrea just beat his wife, Christine, who rode Victor E to a clear jump-off in 36.000 seconds. Third place went to Candice King on Louisburg Farm’s Whistler. They completed the jump-off fault-free in 37.158 seconds. Rounding out the double clear rounds were McCrea and his second mount Colorado (37.743 seconds) for fourth and Michael Dorman on Seventh Fee in fifth with a time of 39.004 seconds.

McCrea has ridden Twisther, a 12-year-old KWPN stallion by Farmer x Zevenster, for six months and took over the ride from Christine McCrea after the horse had six months off. “I started him up for a little bit and she was supposed to take him back, but thank God she didn’t,” he said with a smile.

Twisther is a breeding stallion and comes with success as the winner of the “Sires of the World” competition in Lanaken, Belgium, as a seven-year-old. The McCreas purchased him as an eight-year-old, and while Christine had success with him, it wasn’t an easy ride for her. Jonathan got the ride on Twisther, and Christine took over riding duties for his horse Victor E.

“Chris had him and she won a bunch of stuff with him, but just never really got along with him. We traded horses,” he explained. “I let him be himself. He jumps in great technique, but he wants to be kind of hunterish. It was a hard thing to learn. Watching Chris and how she struggled with him, it came to me. He doesn’t want to go like that. When I flat him at home, it’s like trail riding every day. No draw reins or anything. He’s super careful, and he tries every time he goes in the ring.”

The Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper divisions started today, and the opening class was the $1,500 Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers with 37 entries. Riding to the win with a clear jump-off time of 32.129 seconds was Cody Parker of New York, NY, on Ambitious, a seven-year-old KWPN-NA mare. Parker bred Ambitious herself out of her retired jumper, Kolumbina, and Ambitious is by Indoctro. “It worked out pretty well!” Parker expressed.

Parker started Ambitious when she was four years old, and they show lightly during the year. The pair started at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival this winter and have shown four times this summer, but they had a two month break from competition before The Jumper Classic. Parker said, “I probably went faster than I was supposed to go. I’ve been working a lot so I haven’t shown her in two months. I was excited to go. I was really long to the first and second jumps, and she turned back really fast at the fourth jump.”

The $1,500 High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper class was also held in a jump-off format, and New York City’s Francesca Bolfo piloted Venus TR to the win.

In today’s class, Bolfo wanted to acclimate Venus TR to the grass field in preparation for Sunday’s $15,000 Equine Insurance Services Speed Stake presented by Great American. “It’s the beginning of the week and we’re aiming for the speed class on Sunday. It was nice to take her in and show her around. She’s great on the field. We got her jumping legs up,” Bolfo explained.

Bolfo has ridden Venus TR, a 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare by Skippy II, for five years. She described, “She’s a blast. I’ve never had so much fun showing a horse. She’s as much of a competitor, if not more, than I am. I think if you showed her a course chart, she could do it on her own! She’s got a lot of heart, a lot of blood, and she’s just great.”

Starting out the morning was the $3,500 1.40m Jumpers. The class was held in a faults converted format, and the fastest for victory was Zephyr, ridden and owned by Michael Dorman.

Jeffery Welles was able to come away with the win in the $2,000 1.30m Jumpers out of 29 entries riding Valdano, owned by Laura O’Connor. Coming in second place was Feeling, ridden and owned by Tammy Marek. Third place went to Raccoon, ridden by Molly Ashe Cawley for McLain Ward.

Additional winners in the GGT Footing Ring Two today were:

$500 Holistic Animal Healing Clinic Masters Jumpers: Foxgate’s Joker, Christine Blair, John Blair

1.10m Jumpers: Revelstoke, Annie Phillips, Annie Phillips

1.15m Jumpers: Super G, Paul Halpern, Kathleen Kamine

$750 Sidelines Magazine 1.20m Jumpers: Don Pedro, JJ Lavieri, Jessica Herman

$500 Watershed Farm Low Children’s/Adult Jumpers: Shades of Bay, Sidney Gerken, Sidney Gerken


Final Results: $12,000 Welcome Stake

1 Twisther, Jonathan McCrea, Candy Tribble

2 Victor E, Christine McCrea, Christine McCrea

3 Whistler, Candice King, Louisburg Farm

4 Colorado, Jonathan McCrea, Jonathan McCrea

5 Seventh Fee, Michael Dorman, Michael Dorman

6 Lincourt Gino, Peter Leone, Monica Carrera

7 Tilghman, Sarah Segal, Horatio Street Ventures

8 Wriomf, Molly Ashe, Jolly Group


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