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Chapot tackled this formidable triple bar at a gallop.
Laura Chapot has had a grand prix season of success on the HITS circuit that will be hard to match, and she continued her success by winning the $30,000 G&C Farm Wild Card Grand Prix aboard Quointreau Un Prince. With four total entries, Chapot qualified two of her mounts for the jumpoff, and also produced the most dramatic moment of the day when her second entry Carpe Diem put on the brakes and tossed her into the Antares vertical at fence 10.
Unfazed, Chapot jumped to her feet and stuck to the saddle for the rest of the day, beating out an unusually long list of jumpoff riders with a very quick ride on Prince, who she owns in partnership with McLain Ward. The Selle Francis gelding by Diamant De Semilly is only 8 years old, but with three previous grand prix wins under his belt this season, he is Chapot's sure bet for the upcoming Pfizer Million Grand Prix on Sunday.
It will be Chapot's first time competing in the Million, but after the season she's had, she is looking forward to the big class.
"I’ve watched it the past couple years, and it’s going to be a challenge for the horse I have, but I think its worth a shot,” she said. “We’re going to give it a try and hopefully come away with a really good result.”
A trouble spot on the Olaf Petersen Jr.-designed course cropped up at a triple bar mid course that came after a water jump off a turn. That, and the last fence on course, a wide oxer, caused the most faults, but the triple combination in the center of the ring claimed many victims as well.
There was a chance for a rider not qualified for the million to receive a wild card ticket had they come in first, but with Chapot as the winner and already qualified, there was to be no wild card rider this year. The class was not a requirement to jump in Sunday’s million dollar grand prix.
This shot over the water can't capture the speed of William's amazingly fast Round 1
Six riders were able to return and put together a clear jumpoff round, and Australian rider Matt Williams on Watch Me VD Mangelaar was hot on Chapot’s heels in 42.65 seconds to her 42.19. Aaron Vale also made a game effort to catch Chapot, finishing in 42.73 seconds with Palm Sunday.
"I was hoping to run and give her a shot there, but the jumps never came up where I could leave a stride out,” commented Vale. “I tried to gallop fast away from the jumps but every time I got to the next one I could never leave a stride out.”
Vale and Palm Sunday were looking sharp over the final fence.
HITS President Tom Struzzieri was thrilled to see Chapot claim another high profile HITS grand prix. “It’s so special that Laura’s had this great string of wins,” he said. “It’s pretty clear that she’s raised the level of her game the last few months.”
Of course, on Sunday evening after the Pfizer Million we’ll know who is really on their game. In its previous two years the Million has been built about as big as a grand prix ever gets on American soil. Struzzieri hinted that this year’s course may look a little different, with Petersen Jr. stepping in to design the Million track for the first time. Steve Stephen’s 2010 and 2011 tracks produced very few clears, and Struzzieri wasn’t shy about expressing his hope for a well rounded jumpoff this year.
Be sure to tune in on Sunday, September 9th at 2pmEST for the HITS Pfizer Million Grand Prix to the live webcast of the entire class. And as always, follow ProEquest on facebook and right here for the best show jumping coverage from Saugerties.
Darragh Kenny placed 4th with the stunning Zhum CW, owned by Ilan Ferder.
Rodrigo Pessoa will be competing in the Pfizer Million for the first time
HITS President Struzzieri (blue shorts), Tracey Fenney (in helmet) and others discuss the course.
Duncan McFarlance, who was 2nd in the 2011 Pfizer Million, walked the course but rested Mr. Whoopy today
Jeffrey Welles watching the jumpoff from the west berm
Course designer Olaf Petersen Jr
Top Ten - $30,000 G&C Farm Wild Card Grand Prix
Rider | Horse | Round 1 Faults | Round 2 Faults | Round 2 time
- Laura Chapot | Quointreau Un Prince | 0 | 0 | 42.19
- Matt Williams | Watch Me VD Mangelaar | 0 | 0 | 42.65
- Aaron Vale | Palm Sunday | | 0 | 0 | 42.73
- Darragh Kenny | Zhum CW | 0 | 0 | 42.96
- Tracey Fenney | MTM Genau | 0 | 0 | 43.24
- Kirsten Coe | Veron | 0 | 0 | 43.89
- John Perez | Arezzo | 0 | 0 | 42.08
- Laura Chapot | Shooting Star | 0 | 4 | 42.84
- Rodrigo Pessoa | Winsom | 0 | 4 | 44.43
- Thaisa Erwin | Matilda | 0 | 0 | 46.43
Photos ©Erin Gilmore/ProEquest