Course Designer Guilherme Jorge and Course Discourse’s Dave Ballard
Here we go again! It is that time of year again. This is the first round of twelve in the life of Course Discourse for the Wellington show season. Can you believe it? This is the beginning of our ninth season on PhelpsSports. What started out as an idea for a just a single grand prix has turned into what Kenny (Kraus) tells me is one of the most read weekly columns on the website. Thank you to all of you for tuning in.
Each week we will try to give you a jump by jump description of the grand prix and the outcome of the first round. We will also try to assess the quality of the competition and the work of the Course Designer.
As mentioned over the years there are many factors that create good courses and good courses are essential to good competition. This year my focus will be on cups, jump material, and the always controversial aggressive time allowed. There will also be my usual rant about the use or non use of the water jump. We may also touch on the liverpools and whether they remain above the floor of the arena or are made to appear in the ground and if they actually have water added to them.
In the off season the footing was replaced in the International Arena and the warm up area as well. Other rings also saw the change, but we will deal only with the GP areas. At this time, having spoken with several riders, I can only report that the jury is still out on the state of the new footing.
The line-up of course designers is the same as last year and as stated in the final article of last season we had a banner year of courses and quality competitions last year. I can only imagine how good this season will turn out. The caliber of horses and riders has never been better and I expect even better results in 2017.
The one major change in the course designer line-up will be that Kenny Krome (USA) will design the Nations Cup. He was the assistant CD last year and will now have the prestige of designing for his home country for the first time. It is a position that few CD’s ever get to be in and Kenny has worked many years for his opportunity. He will have great support but the final responsibility will be his. He has earned this spot and I wish Kenny the best.
I think that it is now time to move to the Sunday GP of week number one.
Week Number One is not FEI, but a National Level class and we will see a mixed bag of horses and riders. The specifications under national rules are different than the rules of the FEI so we will see a somewhat softer course, a few more entries (52 starters) in the GP and only 51 in the Thursday WEF Challenge Cup.
Our Course Designer for Week 1 was the course designer for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Guilherme Jorge (BRA) and he of course, is no stranger to this venue.
Guilherme’s $75,000 Rosenbaum Mollengarden PLLC Grand Prix Course Chart
The GP this week is not an easy build. It is the first week and national level and an assortment of riders and horses. The CD must not build down, but he must not build too aggressive being the first event, so I would expect to see a few more clean than usual. In the course today we will have no triple combination, but rather, three doubles, no plank jump, no 8ft rails (skinny) and there is no water jump, which is fine because this class doesn’t call for a water. The Time Allowed was set at 82 seconds and was not changed. There will be 52 starters. Before we begin the walk, as I mentioned earlier, we will concentrate on the material each week and so today I will give you the following count.
There are 56 poles, 10 planks, one liverpool (above ground and dry) and one small filler. There is nothing on the course but poles and planks. My first question of the year is – “does this material (or lack of) make for exciting jumping or is it too boring?” I would really like for some of my readers to respond. I’m guessing you know how I feel about it.
We will now begin the walk of the $75,000 Rosenbaum Mollengarden PLLC Grand Prix.
#1 vertical 1.45m or 4.9ft this fence was faulted 1 time.
#2 oxer 1.45/1.50m 4.9ft/5ft or comes on long gallop from #1 on the left turn and was lowered 5 times.
#3 oxer 1.45/1.60m or 4.9ft/5.3ft. This fence was an early problem spot and saw one refusal and met mother earth 7 different times. This fence came from #2 on the right rein and no distance.
#4 vertical 1.50m or 5ft comes from fence #3 on the right rein away from the in-gate and was faulted one time.
#5 oxer 1.45/1.60m or 4.9ft/5.3ft comes from #4 in a straight line on a distance of 27.20m or 89.3ft. This was the liverpool oxer and saw one refusal and 6 rails fall into the dry riverbed.
#6 vertical 1.50m or 5ft. this fence comes from #5 in a straight line on a distance of 24.20m or 79.3ft. #6 touched down 5 times.
#7a oxer 1.45/1.60m or 4.9ft/5.3ft comes on a long gallop from #6 on the left rein and fell only one time.
#7b oxer 1.45/1.50m or 4.9ft/5ft comes from #7a on a distance of 11m or 36ft. this oxer saw two refusals and 4 rails fall from grace.
#8 vertical 1.50m or 5ft comes on no given distance #7b on the left rein and was only toppled one time.
#9 0xer 1.45/1.60m or 4.9ft/5.3ft come in a straight line from #8. No given distance. This oxer found the rough only 2 times.
#10a vertical 1.48m or 4.11ft comes away from the in-gate on the right rein and caused problems on 4 separate occasions.
#10b oxer 1.45/1.60m or 4.9ft/5.3ft on a distance from #10a of 7.90m or 24.9ft and was dislodged from the cups on two occasions.
#11 triple bar 1.50/1.80m or 5ft/5.9ft comes from #10b on a bending line of 31m or 101ft. On the right bend this triple bar was faulted only two times
#12a vertical 1.48m or 4.11ft comes on a straight line from #11 on a distance of 22m or 72ft and is the record holder, the ‘bogie’for the day seeing one refusal and 12 rails coming down.
#12b vertical 1.50m or 5ft on a distance of 7.90m or 36ft from #12a and got dirty 7 times.
#13 oxer 1.48/1.60m or 4.11ft/5.3ft the last fence on course comes on a long gallop on the left rein from #12b and was knocked to the ground two times.
The final tally for today’s class is that there were 15 clean rounds, 14 four faults, two with 5 faults and 10 with eight. There were others with too many to tabulate. There were no rounds with time faults that mattered.
For this class the Time Allowed was fine, but some folks around the ring will say too generous. Trust me, we will see more aggressive Times Allowed as the weeks progress.
Congrats to our week one winner, Daniel Coyle and Cita
The results were fair for Week One and a National Level GP. I would like to see more inventive material used by the CD or made available by the organizing committee to the CD to create a more visually exciting experience for both horse and spectator. The standards are very nice, but normally horses do not jump the standards.
Enough for week one already (got to keep enough gas in the tank to get us to the finish line) and now we are on to Week 2 under the lights next Saturday night. Until then
I am Dave Ballard.