Temecula, Calif. – October 13, 2021 – World-class competition returned to Galway Downs for the last two weeks of the Nilforushan Equisport Events’ 2021 show calendar. Hunter riders kicked off the first week at the Temecula Valley National Fall Series, presented by Interactive Mortgage, in the Grand Hunter Arena, aiming to take an early lead in their respective divisions before the championship crowning Thursday. In the Green 3’6” Hunter division, it was Nick Haness’ scores aboard Caldiano that secured the lead heading into the second day of competition, while Alexis Taylor and Gatsby topped the judge’s scorecards in the Performance 3’6” Hunters.
Temecula Valley National Series regular and hometown professional, Haness, once again impressed in the ring, starting off his two weeks at Galway Downs with near-perfect rounds aboard Double Down Farm, LLC’s Caldiano. The pair, who have been partnered for less than a year, seamlessly navigated the winding courses. The 11-year-old Warmblood gelding, who just recently left a lucrative career in the jumpers, showcased expert form and ease, taking both blue ribbons in the over fences portion and earning a second place in the under saddler for his fluid, uphill movement.
Amanda Pitton was within striking distance of the leading position, taking second in both over fences rounds behind Haness and Caldiano aboard Sheila Stuart’s eight-year-old Holsteiner gelding, First Look. The duo was pinned third in the under saddle portion of the division, edging out Sophie Simpson-Leckie and Breanne Karanikolas’ C’est Moi, who rounded out the top three heading into Thursday’s finale with two third-place finishes over fences. Simpson-Leckie and C’est Moi were unbeatable on the flat, however, securing a first-place finish ahead of the rest of the pack.
In the Performance 3’6” Hunters, Alexis Taylor and Alerono LLC’s 10-year-old Warmblood gelding, Gatsby, dazzled the judges with two stand-out rounds over fences, taking a clear lead heading into the second day of division competition. Kaitlin Campbell, who rode Ali Filler’s eight-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Playmaker, and Victoria Lacagnina, who rode Monireh Equine’s eight-year-old Warmblood gelding, Alovaro, were neck-and-neck, each taking a second and third place over fences and leaving the final results up in the air until the conclusion of Thursday’s classes.
A large pack of developing hunters squared off in the Young Hunter Five, Six, and Seven & Under divisions, hoping to earn a Championship title following the two days of competition. Thanks to Nilforushan Equisport Events’ Young Hunter Incentive, all three division’s class fees were waived for the entirety of the show, allowing the developing mounts to gain added mileage and experience in the ring. In the Young Hunter Five & Under division, it was Margaret O’Neill and Remember Me who led the field heading into the final day of competition, while Brittney Maguire and Compelling topped the Young Hunter Six & Under division, and Victoria Lacagnina and Dicaprio walked away with the highest scores in the Young Hunter Seven & Under division.
Hunter competition continues Thursday, October 14, with the crowning of each division champion. Junior/Amateur/Amateur-Owner riders take center stage in the Grand Prix Arena for the Low, Medium, and High Junior/Amateur/Amateur-Owner classes before the feature class of the evening, the $20,000 1.40m Speed Classic.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Nick Haness – Green 3’6” Hunter division leader
“Caldiano is quite a nice horse. He is very athletic. He had a very big career in the jumper ring before we transitioned him into being a hunter. We have been targeting the International Hunter Derbies and so far, he has had a great year.”
On showing at Temecula Valley National Fall Series:
“We are just so thrilled to be back showing in Temecula, my hometown. I live nearby and the horses are happy when they know they are close to home. The show is great. It is a beautiful day and the weather is nice, and the jumps looked beautiful so it made the horses jump really well. I am excited to be back here [at the Temecula Valley National Fall Series]. I am happy there are these new dates here in October and it is really nice to be here.”
On his plans for the next two weeks:
“The rest of the week we are just going to get the rest of our new horses from Europe settled in. It is a great place for the new ones to start out showing.”