Temecula, Ca. – April 21, 2021 – It was all systems go at Galway Downs on Wednesday as day one of competition during the Temecula Valley National Premier I presented by Interactive Mortgage kicked off with busy rings all across the park. The Grand Prix Arena was teeming with top talent as competitors prepared their horses for a week of exciting competition. In the $5,000 1.35m Welcome sponsored by EquiFit, 29 horse and rider pairs contested Peter Grant’s 14-effort course, but it was West Coast wonder Mavis Spencer and Con Calle who would ultimately emerge victorious.
Spencer was the first rider to navigate the technical track aboard her first entry, Belladonna 42. The duo laid down a solid first-round earning them a chance to advance to the jump-off. Set in Table II.2.b format, the pair immediately took to the shortened track with haste. Their quick and clean effort tripped the timers fault-free at a blazing fast time of 39.26 seconds. Hannah Heidegger and Concord 65 followed soon after to challenge Spenser’s time in the jump-off, but caught two rails during her second trip. Katie Harris and Quantanamo Z showed a valiant effort in both tracks, but their tidiness on course cost them precious time crossing the line with a time of 43.42 seconds.
The last fence on the initial course, the Adaptafuel vertical, proved to be an unexpected challenge for many riders. The unassuming fence, which was positioned directly in front of the in-gate, dashed many hopeful riders’ chance at the lion’s share of the prize at the very last moment. Following several failed attempts to catch Spencer, Francie Nilforushan had her eye on the prize. Unfortunately, she and My Love Carthago finished mere milliseconds off of the leader’s time.
Following a slew of unsuccessful attempts to best Spencer’s leading time, the frontrunner herself returned for her second ride aboard Con Calle. With nothing to lose, Spencer took the daring inside turn to the final combination on course, shaving fractions of a second off of her long-standing lead and topping her own time with the 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding. Try as they might as the last of the contenders took to the ring, not one was able to snag Spencer’s lead. Spencer closed out the day with the first and second position in Wednesday’s Welcome, with Nilforushan joining her for the victory gallop in the third-place position.
Jumper competition will resume on Thursday morning with the 1.30m Jumpers at 8 AM. Feature jumper classes throughout the week include Thursday’s $10,000 1.40 Speed Classic and the $40,000 National Grand Prix and the inaugural $5,000 NEEd for Speed Qualifier on Saturday, April 24.
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Time | R1 Faults / R2 Time | R2 Faults
1. Con Calle / Mavis Spencer / Georgy Maskrey-Segesman / 71.21 | 0 / 38.65 | 0
2. Belladonna 42 / Mavis Spencer / Georgy Maskrey-Segesman / 71.35 | 0 / 39.27 | 0
3. My Love Carthago / Francie Nilforushan / Ali Nilforushan / 71.89 | 0 / 39.99 | 0
4. Chazino / Alexandra Biederman / Delong Equestrian Ventures, LLC / 69.55 | 0 / 41.69 | 0
5. Comrado / Savannah Jenkins / Proper 12, LLC / 74.09 | 0 / 43.42 | 0
6. Quantanamo Z / Katie Harris / Katie Harris / 74.39 | 0 / 43.42 | 0
7. Centagraaf / Ashley Stannard / Christine Rocca / 72.89 | 0 / 47.47 | 3
8. Ezmeralda EH Z/ Hallie Buttenwieser / Altaire Ventures / 69.08 | 0 / 40.46 | 4
9. Costo Rico / Judy Nielson / Judy Nielson / 72.19 | 0 / 40.61 | 8
10. Concord 65 / Hannah Heidegger / Monarch International / 69.81 | 0 / 41.21 | 8
11. Skyliner / Lauren Flather / Infinity Farm / 72.28 | 0 / 43.22 | 12
12. Qatar / Jamie Taylor / JT Equine LLC / 67.56 | 4
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
On her horses:
“The horse I won on, Con Calle, is one that I have been riding for a little over a year now. Our first show post-COVID when things opened up was here last year in June. Then, he was actually first in the ring, first in the jump-off, and we ended up winning the Grand Prix, so I think this is definitely a venue he really likes. Belladonna is one I started riding at the start of the year. She is very fast and super competitive and careful, so it was nice to come out on day one after a little bit of a break. They have had the last five weeks off, so to have them come out the first day and be fresh and jumping well with that sort of result is really nice.”
On her plan for Wednesday:
“I entered yesterday with the plan of having this be their first class in the ring. I will do the 1.40m tomorrow, and then they will both jump the Grand Prix on Saturday. I wanted to go out and put in a nice competitive round, but not have the wheels come off at the start of the week with this class. But, they are both very fast types, and they are both my grand prix horses, so I think to have this be a class they can go in and canter around and take the inside turns and the leave outs are definitely well within their comfort level. I didn’t expect to come out first and second today, but it was a nice start to the week.”
On Ali Nilforushan and Nilforushan Equisport Events:
“That man right there is why I keep coming back. I have known Ali pretty much my whole equestrian career, and back when he was riding I used to watch him in the ring. I think now that he has taken on this show managing role it is so amazing that there is someone who is trying to build up the sport on the West Coast. I think he has created such a great atmosphere and environment here at the facility. The jumps and footing are great, and the course designers and the people he has working here as part of the team are all really friendly and helpful. I think it makes such a big difference as far as horse shows go that you can have it be such a fun pleasant experience and you are not just horse showing for the sake of horse showing which is something that is really important to me. There is a lot of great prize money and great sponsors so it is really nice to have this basically in our backyard. Anything we can do to support people who are trying to build up the sport out here is really important.”