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Over a challenging 1.60m track and in front of a healthy crowd, McFarlane piloted Simone Coxe’s playful 11 year old Hanoverian stallion to two clean and fast rounds, earning a major boost in World Cup qualifying points and solidifying plans to put the 2013 World Cup Finals squarely in his sights.
McFarlane and Mr. Whoopy found the right balance to win the Land Rover Grand Prix
The two week long Sacramento International Horse Show comes to a close today after a 5th successful year, with the World Cup Qualifier once again proving to be the most popular event of the show. Twenty-six entries attempted to go clean over Heiko Wahlers’ course, which was challenging to navigate in the small arena but very fair from fence to fence.
The setting was a far cry from the last grand prix that McFarlane and Mr. Whoopy completed; they placed 12th in the Pfizer Million in Saugerties, NY nearly four weeks ago. Whoopy played between fences during that massive outdoor course, but McFarlane’s training program always hinges on how fresh to allow the young stallion to be. Too fresh, and he loses time with his antics, but not fresh enough, and McFarlane worries about his jump.
After a challenging night and a rare run out in Thursday’s Welcome Grand Prix, McFarlane adjusted Mr. Whoopy’s work level before Saturday’s class.
“We worked him a little harder and it paid off,” McFarlane explained. “I thought about (taking the inside turn) in the jumpoff, but the other night he was cheeky so I thought I’d better not take a gamble at that point.”
McNaught and Lariccello during Round 1
However, one rider who did take a gamble was McFarlane’s partner Helen McNaught, who was the only rider to land and go for a heartstopping inside turn after the third fence of the jumpoff. McNaught, who was aboard the quirky Lariccello, thrilled the crowd with that turn, but a very unlucky rail two fences later earned her the 5th place ribbon.
It was a night to remember for amateur rider Tiffany Sullivan, who piloted the 12 year old KWPN gelding Tristan over two clear rounds to finish a very close 2nd. Sullivan, 33, has only been paired with Tristan for 10 months, and she still considers herself a newbie in the World Cup classes. But with her confidence built after a solid ride on Thursday, she felt ready to tackle the big Saturday night track.
“I thought the course was great,” she said. “I’ve been working really hard to gear up for this show, it’s always a goal of mine to be here. I just wanted to be efficient and clean, that was my goal.”
Sullivan and Tristan
Sullivan owns boarding stable Haley Farms in Los Angeles, and works with trainer Sherri Rose. With her first half dozen World Cup qualifiers now under her belt, she’s looking forward to the rest of the fall season with excitement.
Back on Home Soil
Saer Coulter, on the other hand, already has a hefty resume of accolades to her credit. The 21-year-old is fresh off a summer of competing internationally on the Global Champions Tour circuit, and a spring of riding in Olympic qualifier grand prix classes (she was 10th on the US Show Jumping Team Short List after this spring's Olympic Trials.)
However, the San Francisco native admits that there’s nothing quite like competing close to home, and she’s looking forward to staying stateside for the remainder of 2012 as she enters her final year of college at Stanford University.
Coulter was first out of the gates with Springtime to lay down a fast, clean jumpoff round, finishing an eventual third place. “We’ll target the World Cup qualifiers this fall, see how it goes and if it goes well we’ll keep pushing for them through Thermal,” she commented.
Coulter and Springtime race over the triple bar in the jumpoff
Olympians Rich Fellers and Flexible were crowd favorites, and with the fastest jumpoff time by a full two seconds, they would have stolen the first place check from McFarlane, had it not been for one unlucky rail at the oxer after the challenging rollback turn. They finished in 4th place.
“For me, it was a really good class,” commented course designer Wahlers after the class. “We had well prepared riders and horses, amazing footing and a good crowd. I will be back next year!”
As always the Sacramento International Horse Show attracted many repeat visitors, and after a night of thrilling show jumping that comes to Northern California but once a year, it’s a sure bet that they’ll all be back again in 2013.
Check out the video of Duncan McFarlane and Mr. Whoopy's winning ride here:
Top Ten - $55,000 Land Rover Grand Prix of Sacramento World Cup Qualifier
Rider | Horse | Nation | Round 1 Faults | Round 2 Faults | Round 2 Time
- Duncan McFarlane | Mr. Whoopy | NZL | 0 | 0 | 38.77
- Tiffany Sullivan | Tristan | USA | 0 | 0 | 39.07
- Saer Coulter | Springtime | USA | 0 | 0 | 39.89
- Rich Fellers | Flexible | USA | 0 | 4| 36.89
- Helen McNaught | GBR | 0 | 4 | 38.25
- Karl Cook | Jonkheer Z | USA | 0 | 4 | 40.08
- Alec Lawler | Glen Devon | USA | 0 | 16 | 55.07
- Nayel Nassar | Raging Bull Vangelis | EGY | 4
- Nayel Nassar | Lordan | EGY| 4
- Lucy Davis | Nemo 119 | USA | 4
Flexible and Fellers - 4th place
Rusty Stewart and Bristol won Thursday's Welcome Grand Prix, but several rails in the World Cup meant it wasn't their night on Saturday.
Jenni Martin-McAllister rewards Columbus after their round
The evening opened with some human high jump entertainment
Trainer Ned Glynn gave a guided coursewalk to a group of very attentive listeners.
Nick Gegen - deep in thought?