Nicole Simpson Speeds to Victory in Wellington
WELLINGTON, FL, Feb. 15 -
The times became faster and faster until Nicole Simpson of Wellington, FL, eventually emerged victorious in the $6,000 Spy Coast 1.40m NAL Speed Challenge on Friday at the CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
A total of 33 riders lined up to tackle the speed course set by two-time Olympic course designer Olaf Petersen of Germany. Clear rounds were produced by 14 entries, but it was Simpson, one of the final challengers, who posted the fastest time. Riding Lutopia, owned by Jane Clark, Simpson crossed the timers in 60.24 seconds to snatch the lead from McLain Ward of Brewster, N.Y., who had clocked in at 60.75 riding Quo Vadis for owner Sagamore Farms. Shane Sweetnam, riding Victor III for owner and class sponsor Spy Coast Farm, placed a close third in a time of 60.79 seconds.
“It was a pretty nice, flowing course - a good speed course,” said Simpson in praise of Petersen’s design. “It was nice because you go all out and it was smooth.”
Simpson took over the reins from Lutopia’s regular rider, Molly Ashe, during the National Horse Show in December.
“I started riding Lutopia at the National because Molly was due to have her baby, and we won a class,” explained Simpson of how she came to ride the experienced mare. “Lutopia is a great competitor, a speed demon. I’ve watched Molly ride her, and it is basically point and shoot and go!”
Simpson, 33, has been a member of the United States Equestrian Team on numerous occasions, including at the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain.
Friday’s $6,000 Spy Coast 1.40m Speed Challenge is a member event of the North American League. The NAL offers a year-long Series in six divisions -Children’s Jumper, Adult Jumper, Pony Jumper, Open Jumper, Children’s Hunter, and Adult Hunter presented by Practical Horseman. The Series includes classes held at hundreds of horse shows across the United States and Canada. Finals for all divisions are held at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg, Penn., in October. Riders need not be members of the NAL to compete in the qualifying classes, but only members earn points toward the year-end finals. With the annual membership fee only $30, most riders join in hopes of earning points that may qualify them for a trip to Harrisburg. For more information regarding the NAL series, including series specifications, current standings and a list of upcoming events, please call (717) 867-5643, e-mail to NAL@Ryegate.com or visit www.ryegate.com.
The CSI3* Kilkenny Insurance, week five of the international show jumping competition, features Sunday’s $60,000 CSI3* Grand Prix. The 2008 CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising, attracts the best horses and riders from around the world to Wellington, FL, and offers more than $5 million in prize money.
Results of Class 1005 - $6,000 NAL 1.40m Speed Challenge
1 - 1104 LUTOPIA
NICOLE SIMPSON 0.00 60.245 JANE CLARK
The 2008 CN Winter Equestrian Festival attracts the best horses and riders from around the world to Wellington and offers more than $5 million in prize money. For more information, visit www.equestriansport.com