Vale Edges Out Welles for the Win in the $30,000 Russell Fortune Memorial Grand Prix at Traders Point

The 2012 Traders Point Hunt Charity Horse Show and Country Fair continued on Friday with cooler weather and a momentary, passing shower. The horses were feeling fresh and ready for competition at Wild Air Farms in Zionsville, IN.

Andrew Welles and Tornado
Aaron Vale and Palm Sunday

Exhibitors and guests enjoyed the annual Paws to Applause dog show mid-day and exciting show jumping action in the jumper arena and the Russell Fortune Arena all day long. The coveted $30,0000 Mr. and Mrs. Russell Fortune Jr. Memorial Grand Prix, held at 5:00 p.m. was the highlight of the day and filled the tents around the grass arena with cheering crowds.

“We’ve got a pretty good field tonight, we have faces- plenty of folks who are ready,” said course designer, Phil DeVita. “The course this afternoon is a along the same theme that we’ve been doing all week”.

“I’m kind of a serpentine guy,” continued DeVita. I don’t do a lot of technical straight-line distances. I tend to keep turning you and bending you and making you steer and make you stay in control.”

“I make you stay out, I make you get straight, shape your turns and ride the track. If you don’t ride the track, you are generally going to catch one,” DeVita stressed. “I don’t try to do anything technical and difficult. It should be fun. We’ll enough clear in this class out of this group. This is a good test for Sunday- which will be pretty much a free-for-all. That will be a little more technical and a little more interesting. It should be a good fun class. We have a few here that aren’t as seasoned as some of the others and this will be a good introductory to a real 1.50m track”

And DeVita called it correctly. There were 31 in the class and eight went clean.

Andrew Welles was the first to go clean on Tornado, owned by Alexandra Duval. Three rounds later, Nick Novak riding Nancy Whitehead’s Rendezvous 22 and three more faultless rounds in a row from Taylor Land and Nepal owned by Jay Land, Quick and Easy owned and ridden by Claudia Billups, and Theo Genn and Bridlebourne Stables’ Winchester. Then, three trips later Andrew Welles aboard XM and Emily Short and her Grande Finale 3E,and finally fifteen rounds later, the last to go, Aaron Vale, who rode three others in the first round, produced a faultless trip on Palm Sunday, owned by Amen Corner Farm, determining the field for the jump-off.Andrew Welles and Tornado

Welles and Tornado easily ate up the short track, leaving all the rails in place, with a time of 37.94. Three more clean trips from Nick Novak, Taylor Land and Theo Genn did not produce a faster time. Then, Aaron Vale aboard Palm Sunday went clean to win the class with a time of 35.402.

“It was dizzying it was so winding,” said Vale about the course. For me, I never got a great rhythm today. I feel like I was holding to all the fences to in order to get them square and get to the proper spot. I was pretty close to the time allowed. My first horse jumped super and had a light rub and had one down and he was just barely under the time. Then my last horse was only a second under the time. Personally, it was a very tough course for me. It was a bit windy today- I’ll take the blame myself- I don’t feel like the horses focus their best in the wind-or maybe I don’t focus well in the wind. It was kind of a struggle for me today. All the horses jumped well. I just couldn’t get it done until the last one. It was a fourth quarter come-back.”

“Tornado has been my baby. He’s 12 this year and I’ve had him since the beginning of his seven-year-old year. He’s Mr. Dependable for me. I can always count on him,” beamed Welles. “In the last few horse shows he’s gotten a ribbon in all five of the grand prixes. He’s really been on a roll- I hope we don’t jinx it for Sunday by saying that. XM is a younger horse for me. This is his first summer stepping up to the grand prixes. He jumped a beautiful first round and I messed him up a little bit in the jump off. I have to go back to the barn and apologize to him right now.”

Results of $30,000 Mr. & Mrs. Russell Fortune Memorial Grand Prix







7 XM, ANDREW WELLES 38.330 4


In the Jumper Annex, the action was fast and furious. The spectator tent was standing room only, filled with friends, trainers and families for the Adult Amateur Speed Class. Again it was Erin Felton and Almost Perfect, who were the victors, delivering the fastest of 16 clean rounds.

“Just ask Nancy (Whitehead), in the schooling area I was missing all my distances. It was a really bad warm up. I said whatever, let’s just go in,” said Felton who was unaware that she won her class today.

“He doesn’t have the prettiest jump, but he gets himself over- sometimes when they’re flat in the jump, it doesn’t take as long to get over and it makes them faster. It’s not necessarily a good thing but it worked out today,” said Felton of her horse, who is Almost Perfect.

The Traders Point Hunt Charity Horse Show and Country Fair is held on the beautiful 250-acre grounds of Wild Air Farms in Zionsville, IN. The show offers top prize money with two Grand Prix events and a USHJA International Hunter Derby. Exhibitors at Traders Point enjoy fun family activities and events while participating in a competitive, high-quality show.  

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