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French Marches on with Soldier in the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, In Honor of Artie Hawkins
San Juan Capistrano, CA - The high performance hunters took over the International Grand Prix field this afternoon. After earning the top score in the Classic Round, John French and Soldier (Elizabeth Gabler, owner) narrowly beat Handy Round winners Adrienne Dixon on Ramazzotti 54 and also 2nd place finishers Jenny Karazissis and Undeniable (Kelly Straeter, owner) for the overall top call.

John French and Soldier, with Melissa Brandes and Robert Ridland of Blenheim EquiSports

Skip Bailey was in charge of the course design. Round one had four 4'2"-4'3" high options at fences 3, 6, 9 and the final jump, 12, which was a solid wall-rolltop placed on a row of hay bales. Bailey also set an interesting 'box' of jumps that rode in two-strides as fences 4-5 and 10-11.

French and Soldier marched away with the lead, scoring an 86 and an 85 plus eight bonus points, taking all the high options, for a total of 179. Second best to French was Keri Kampsen riding Small Kiss (Lyn Pedersen, owner) scoring a total of 173 without jumping a single high option.

"I've been riding him for a little over two years; I found him in Ireland. We sold him to Elizabeth Gabler who trains with Corinne Bevis," French said and then went on to explain his admiration of Soldier. "His niche is Derbies, he jumps anything. He's great on the big field, no spook. Last year we let Maddy Darst ride him in the Washington International Equitation Finals, he was only seven-years-old, and they won the whole thing. He just has a great brain, he's game for anything."

Jenny Karazissis and Undeniable

The judges sitting on Panel One were Joey Darby and Walter J. Lee, with Micke Mastro and Tucker Erickson on Panel Two. The honorable gentlemen awarded amateur rider Adrienne Dixon and Ramazzotti 54 the highest Handy Round scores, 83+8 and 80+7, after she demonstrated a superb inside turn from fence 1 to 2, executed the trot jump well, took all four high options and hand galloped smoothly to the final jump. This second round victory moved Dixon up from 10th in the first round to 3rd overall. Also receiving great scores in the Handy Round, Jenny Karazissis gave Undeniable a beautiful ride, jumping up from 4th to earn a solid 2nd overall.

Adrienne Dixon and Ramazzotti 54

$10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby
Place - Number - Horse - Rider - Owner - 1st Rd/Handy Rd/Total Score
1 - 126 - Soldier - John French - Elizabeth Gabler - 179/170/349
2 - 821 - Undeniable - Jenny Karazissis - Kelly Straeter - 167.5/180/347.5
3 - 249 - Ramazzotti 54 - Adrienne Dixon - Adrienne Dixon - 161/186/347
4 - 797 - Y Wonder Y - Jenny Karazissis - West Coast Equine Partners, LLC - 165/177/342
5 - 303 - At Last - Tara Metzner - Davlyn Farms - 166/176/342
6 - 175 - Comex Gold - John French - Lee Kellogg Sadrian - 172/163/335
7 - 210 - Zaretina - Hope Glynn - Brian Wee - 166/165/331
8 - 222 - Ninja - Nicole Haunert - Paul Haunert - 158/168/326
9 - 341 - Carnado - Alexis Taylor-Silvernale - David Taylor - 162/155/317
10 - 491 - Small Kiss - Keri Kampsen - Lyn Pedersen - 173/141/314
11 - 137 - Exemplar - Tommi Anne Clark - Stephen Borders - 167/104/271
12 - 510 - Splendid - Jenny Karazissis - Julia Landmann - 157.5/100/257.5

Photos courtesy of McCool



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