Vale and Wordley Launch the 2009 Jacksonville Winter Series with Big Triumphs
January 10, 2009 - Green Cove Springs, FL
The opening week of the 2009 Jacksonville Winter Series began the new season with international flair as New Zealand native and 2008 Olympic rider Sharn Wordley claimed the first victory at Thursday’s Lucky Sevens Welcome Jumper Stake presented by new sponsor Arlington Toyota.
Wordley said the 11 year-old Westphalian gelding Zorro and he are starting their new year off “quite nicely”. Owned by Filip Amram, Zorro is no stranger to winning having scored victories in Europe prior to moving to the US.
Official results of the Lucky Sevens found Sharn and Zorro holding the top spot, 2nd went to Wilhelm and Happy Z, Thrd to Megan Edrick and Kandel, Fourth to Wordley and Rockville, and Fifth to Wordley and Epson “Peanut” Pierreville. This trio of riders would return for Saturday evening’s featured event The $25,000 Privett & Associates Grand Prix.
Closing out a perfect start to the series was this evening‚s $25,000 Privett & Associates Grand Prix presented by the Clay County Tourist Development Council. Seats filled quickly as 7 o‚clock drew near and the first of 23 equine athletes came on deck.
Platinum, owned by ABC 4 Horses, is a 13 year-old Hanoverian gelding whom Aaron Vale has been partnered with for nearly two years. The pair was the third to make a clean trip around the arena and stopped the timer at 77.901. “He jumped some big Prixs in Europe, but unfortunately after only 2 shows here last year he got injured and this is his third show back.” Vale’s pride in the comeback was evident by a broad smile as the gelding walked by. “We’ve got him back in the winners circle! Healthy and hopefully knock on wood he’ll stay that way because he’s quite effective in the show ring.”
Of those returning for the final round only Thursday’s winner Sharn Wordley had multiple rides, bringing both Zorro and Epson Pierreville back. Joining Vale and Wordley was fellow Ocala resident Kyle King with new mount Gigolo for owner Niko Goyette, along with Sparr, Florida and crowd favorite Chuck Waters aboard his 747, and a pair of ladies from Maryland- owner/rider Mary Nicholson Leffler and Gerona 92. With a 45 second allowance and twisting hair pin turns, the final 8 effort round was clearly a challenge of wits and courage. Kyle King had the honor of setting the pace and set it he did bringing Gigolo clean across the final jump in 37.251. Next up, Zorro and Wordley attempted to slice the time, but fell short with a clean round finish in 38.235.
Enter Platinum, there was nothing blonde about his attitude, he was here to seize the moment and clocked in clean at 36.071. “I knew I was quick, but I didn’t actually get the smoothness I wanted. But this is only my 5th show on the horse. I was thrilled to be clean, but I’m thinking about jumping the World Cup next week so, with that in mind, I just wasn’t happy with the way I got around the course. I was just hoping to be a little smoother, a hair more relaxed, not slower though” Vale said through chuckles. Three others tried to claim the lead, but fell a little short of their goal.
for the $25,000 Privett & Associates Grand Prix:
Vale and Platinum will return for Week Two and a shot at the $100,000 Green Cove Springs CSI3*-W Grand Prix along with some the world's most elite riders, including several of the 2008 Olympic Gold and Silver Medal winners.
The Jacksonville Winter Series continues through February 1st with classes Wednesday through Sunday beginning at 8AM until about 5PM except for special events on Saturday evenings at 7PM such as next weekend‚s big $100,000 Green Cove Springs CSI-W Grand Prix featuring. Admission to the shows is free.
For more information or results on the 2009 Jacksonville Winter Series please visit www.classiccompany.com or call the show office at 904-284-9492.