Temecula, Calif. – June 4, 2022 – The final weekend of the Nilforushan Equisport Events’ Temecula Valley National Horse Show got underway Saturday morning with a full schedule of jumper competition slated to take place in the Grand Prix Arena. An all day affair concluded with the feature class of the day where 39 entries tried their hand at the course designed by Anderson Lima for the Spruce Meadows $50,000 National Grand Prix. Just as it did in Friday night competition, the 1.45m Nilforushan Equisport Tournament (NET) Final ran concurrently in the Grand Prix Arena and gave qualified horse and rider combinations the opportunity to earn a share of $113,100 in extra prize money. Standing at the top of the leaderboard for both the Spruce Meadows $50,000 National Grand Prix and the $113,100 Nilforushan Equisport Tournament Final 1.45m at the conclusion of the class was Kaitlin Campbell and SWS Training and Sales’s Palina De L’escaut behind an impressive performance in both the first round and the jump off.
Campbell and the 13-year-old Hanoverian mare had home field advantage that played to their benefit as they posted a double clear effort on a track that only saw five advance to the jump off round. Settled in the middle of the pack in the order of go, the duo was able to prepare effectively and learn from their competitors’ mistakes. The pair posted the fastest first round time and carried that momentum into the jump off round, flying around the shortened track with ease. The familiar footing and atmosphere definitely played into the winning duo’s success. Strategy was the name of the game for Campbell knowing Lima’s tendencies for course designs and she chose the mount she felt would perform best to those circumstances.
Joie Gatlin and Oakland Ventures LLC’s Uccello De Will were the first of the class of 38 to post a clear ride in the first round. Piggybacking off previous success this week, Gatlin felt confident going into Saturday’s class. Just as she did on Friday, Gatlin would also be competing for the extra prize money in the $113,100 NET Final. With Gatlin in the irons, the 14-year-old gelding powered through the 16 effort first round track efficiently. The pair came back and began the jump off round with a fault-free ride and a time of 41.20 that held until Campbell and Palina De L’escaut took to the shortened course.
Rounding out the leaderboard for the featured Spruce Meadows $50,000 National Grand Prix class was Ariel Marx and her own, Zella 2. Marx piloted the 10-year-old Rhineland mare to the only other double clear effort of the class. The pair had two flawless rides, but took a more careful approach than their fellow leaderboard competitors.
It was a big night for Campbell and Palina De L’escaut as they also secured big money taking the top spot in the $113,100 Nilforushan Equisport Tournament Final 1.45m, which ultimately awarded them $48,930. This unique format provided by Ali and Francie Nilfoushan really promotes the welfare of the sport and gives the athletes an extra incentive to compete for. Horse and rider combinations can qualify by paying an entry fee or can be considered a wild card by winning a qualifier class. With Gatlin and Uccello De Will’s second place win in the Grand Prix, they also took second in the NET Final behind a double clear effort. Angel Karolyi and Testigo LS put together a nice performance in the Spruce Meadows $50,000 National Grand Prix, but had a few unlucky rails in the jump off that kept them out of the top three. However, their performance was good enough to take third in the NET Final.
The CC Fits $1,000 U25 Jumper Classic also ran alongside Saturday’s Grand Prix. Jake Endicott and Pegasus Show Stable Inc.’s Diamant’s Aurora rode to the blue ribbon with the best ride amongst U25 competitors. Endicott rode the twelve year old Hanoverian mare to a clear first round and the quickest jump off time, but two rails down kept them just out of the top three for the Spruce Meadows $50,000 National Grand Prix. The pair showed off their talent, though, and proved that they have a bright future together.
The ShowMD $2,500 1.20m Jumper Classic kicked off the successful day of competition. The competitive class saw Sophie Simpson-Leckie and Chloe Kuang’s Diana De Gree take an early lead behind a double clear effort and hold the top spot for the majority of the class with a time that was thought to be unbeatable. However, it was Michelle Berry and Professional Maintenance Systems’ Traver’s Girl HS as the third to last entry in the class to emerge victorious with a stellar performance and a speedy 35.09 time in the jump off, which was ultimately 1.45 seconds faster than Simpson-Leckie and the nine year old Selle Francais Mare. With Berry taking the blue ribbon and Simpson-Leckie capturing the red ribbon, it was Quinn Ferreira and Tina Yates’s Bordeaux Z that rounded out the top three in a very talented class.
Only one more day of competition remains in the Nilforushan Equisport Events’ Temecula Valley National III. The jumper divisions will be back in action starting at 8:00am in the Grand Prix Arena and both the Jumper 1 and Jumper 2 rings. The exciting day of competition will be highlighted by the EquiFit $20,000 1.40m in the Grand Prix Arena at 9:08am that will run alongside another NET Final opportunity.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Kaitlin Campbell – Spruce Meadows $50,000 National Grand Prix and $113,100 Nilforushan Equisport Tournament Final 1.45m
On the Spruce Meadows $50,000 National Grand Prix Plan:
“Anderson Lima was building this week and I’m a big Anderson Lima fan. Palina won one of the previous Grand Prix’s he built here, as well as another class he built in Fort Worth. I knew the track was really going to suit this horse today, so I just wanted to try and not make any mistakes in the first round and make it to the jump off.”
On the opportunity to compete for the $113,100 Nilforushan Equisport Tournament Final 1.45m:
“For our business, a lot of our expenses are won back on prize money so to have this opportunity so close to home is just a huge incentive for show jumping and Southern California.”
On competing at Galway Downs:
“Our barn is literally five minutes down the road. I live in Temecula so this is our home show. I know what horses suit this ring because we show here all the time. But, everything is always very well done here. The footing is great and the atmosphere – you couldn’t have asked for a better crowd on a Saturday night for this type of class and it just adds to everything.”
On what Ali and Francie Nilforushan are doing to improve horse showing in Temecula:
“I think the biggest difference with Ali and Francie is that they’re out here competing with us. It’s not like they’re exhibitors in their show management; they’re exhibitors and show management so there is a huge incentive for them to make it better because it makes it better for themselves as well.”