Aaron Vale and Sea Cloud Dash to Victory in $30,000 Charlotte Welcome Stake

April 8 - Charlotte, NC

Aaron Vale of Aiken, SC/Ocala, FL outdistanced the field of fifteen top show jumping stars in the jump-off of the $30,000 Charlotte Welcome Stake CSI at the 2005 Charlotte Jumper Classic at the Charlotte Coliseum in North Carolina. The Welcome Stake wrapped up the first of three days of exciting show jumping action in the second year of the $300,000 Charlotte Jumper Classic.

Scoring for the Friday night feature was FEI Art. 238.2.2, Time First Jump-Off. Steve Stephens of Palmetto, Florida, designed the course for the thirty-two challengers.

Fifteen horse and rider combinations negotiated the first round course fault free to advance to the second round timed tiebreaker.

Ellen Whitaker, a winner on Friday afternoon, set the pace in the nighttime jump-off. She toured Stephens’ short track without penalty and broke the beams in 38.21 seconds to set the standard. Three horses later she would lose the lead to the eventual winner, Aaron Vale.

Vale, riding out of the fourth spot in the jump-off order, was up on Andrea King’s Sea Cloud. Vale, lightning quick, left the Friday night crowd breathless as he raced across the finish line in 35.78 seconds, 2.43 seconds faster than the speedy Whitaker.

Lauren Hough and Clasiko, from the Clasiko Group, followed with a clear round, but fell well short of the mark set by Vale. Hough’s time was 38.99 seconds.

From that point on, Laura Kraut and the Summit Syndicate’s Anthem, offered up the only real challenge to Vale’s leading time, riding out of the eighth spot in the jump-off order. Kraut, although fast, still wound up 1.21 seconds off of Vale’s pace, clocking in at 36.99 seconds. Callen Solem on Mianta from the Quiet Winter Farm was the only other clear through the balance of the jump-off. Solem would wind up in fifth place with a time of 40.07 seconds.

Vale was pretty confident that his ride would hold up for the win. “My horse is an experienced horse and he’s naturally very fast. I figured if I did my plan I’d be pretty tough to beat and I pretty much got everything done that I wanted to do,” Vale said. “I was very quick to the first fence and very fast away from it. I took a little extra time at the rollback to the Charlotte Bobcats vertical but then I was very fast away from it and then I was very fast to the last line. And with my horse’s natural foot speed I’d be very tough to beat,” he said.

Who was he most worried about? “Probably Laura (Kraut), she’s always so fast,” Vale revealed. “And of course McLain (Ward) and Margie (Engle) are always fast and they were on quick horses. A big international horse show like this, really, you’ve got to worry about all of them,” laughed Vale.

Vale described tonight’s course as the calm before the storm. “I think Steve built a nice, basic 1.50m course,” he said. “I think he gave everyone just a nice course to get comfortable with before the big grand prix starts tomorrow night.”

Vale also said that he enjoys this show’s format. “I wish we had eight or ten of these all jumper shows a year, it would make a great circuit. I hope it grows and they’re able to attract bigger and bigger crowds as they move the show downtown next year to the new arena,” Vale said. “We’ve really got to thank Bob Johnson. This is a first class event that he’s put on for us and we’ve got to do our part to support him in his efforts.”

Sea Cloud and Aaron Vale win the $30,000 Charlotte Welcome Stake
at the 2005 Charlotte Jumper
Photo: Chris Keane


 Official Results of Charlotte Welcome Stake, CSI –

1 - Aaron Vale – USA - Sea Cloud - 0.00/35.78
2 - Laura Kraut – USA - Anthem - 0.00/36.99

3 - Ellen Whitaker – GBR Locarno 62- 0.00/38.21
4 - Lauren Hough – USA –Clasiko - 0.00/38.99
5 - Callan Solem – USA – Mianta - 0.00/40.07
6 - Gregory Wathelet – BEL Iq Bal Des Hayettes - 4.00/35.79
7 - Leslie Howard – USA – Youp - 4.00/38.49
8 - Michael Whitaker – GBR – Lexicon - 4.00/40.98
9 - Judy Garofalo – USA - Harlem De Mescam - 4.00/ 41.63
10 - Debbie Stephens – USA - Cosequin's Ceo - 4.00/41.88
11 - Robert Maguire – GBR - Mr. Cawley - 4.00/44.63
12 - Mclain Ward – USA
- Goldika 559 - 5.00/48.13

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