Peter Petschenig and Saint Quentin Victorious in the Markel Insurance 1.40m Grand Prix Series Final
Las Vegas, NV -
With a successful second season, the Markel Insurance 1.40m Grand Prix Series awarded over $300,000 in prize money from March through September this year. Adding a percentage of each entry from the 13 qualifiers, the purse for Thursday evening's Series Final at The Las Vegas National was over $53,000. After eight pairs rode the first round without fault, it was Austrian Peter Petschenig aboard Saint Quentin who rode the fastest double clean for the win.
Peter Petschenig and Saint Quentin
Twenty-four of the top scoring riders throughout the season competed in the South Point Equestrian Arena over an Olaf Petersen, Jr. course. With 14 efforts featuring a series of related distances from start to finish, and a tight time allowed, the track demanded precision. Twelve horse and rider pairs finished the course without lowering the height of a jump, but only eight of the twelve mastered the track within the time allowed.
Petersen designed a jump-off that offered options with challenges. "The course has one sharp left turn, one sharp right turn and a long gallop to the last jump. It has everything an exciting jump-off needs."
With its share of thrills, the jump-off had some surprising twists. First to return, Sayre Happy on Ludwig's Joker B (HC Sport Horses, owner) had a refusal at the oxer into the 10ab combination. Richard Spooner on Cristallo were next. Known as the Master of Faster, Spooner went for speed, had a rail halfway through the round and a refusal at the final fence. Wednesday evening's winner, Karl Cook on Banba, had the time but two rails kept him out of the top spot. Rails continued to fall until Peter Petschenig and his own Saint Quentin zipped around the short course in a fault free time of 43.90. Last to go in the jump-off, Eduardo Menezes aboard Carushka finished a close second, clean and clear in 44.43.
The winner thought the course was a good test. "It was great. I think the course was tough enough. It was a tight time, and many had time faults. There were good horses and good riders, it was fun."
Petschenig and Saint Quentin take a victory gallop
Pleased with the results, but especially with his horse, Petschenig said, "Saint Quentin came back this year from an injury. I didn't actually know how good he was going to be this year. As you can see, he did a great job - he was fantastic in the jump-off. It's a great end of the season for him."
Peter Petschenig and Saint Quentin celebrate the win in the Markel Grand Prix Series Final with (l-r) their groom Deborah Kunath, Director of Equine Operations for Markel Insurance Brandon Seger, Petschenig's coach Allen Clarke, Lauren Davis of EquiFit, inc., and Markel Insurance's Chris Norden, Julian Bowan-Rees and John Seger
The Las Vegas National continues through Sunday, with the first round of the West Coast Equestrian Medal Finals kicking off today, as well as the $30,000 Las Vegas 1.35m Speed Classic, presented by Walter Oil & Gas, this evening. Packed with highlights, Saturday's schedule includes two FEI classes - the $35,000 FEI 1.45m Winning Round Classic and the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Las Vegas, presented by Interactive Mortage - as well as the final two rounds in the WCE and the NAL Children's and Adult Hunter Finals. Sunday wraps up a full week with the SJHF and NAL Finals in several jumper divisions.
ABOUT THE LONGINES FEI WORLD CUP™ JUMPING NORTH AMERICAN LEAGUE
The North American League began in August of this year across seven East and seven West Coast venues in three countries: the United States, Mexico and Canada. The Las Vegas National Horse Show is one of only 14 events chosen, and this is the only leg of this prestigious tour that will be hosted in this city.
Notably, eleven of the events chosen for the leagues, including the Las Vegas National Horse Show, were featured in the North American Riders Group Top 25 rankings.
The North American League boasts a minimum of US $2.4 million prize money across the series, and offers the best Jumping athletes from North America and around the world the chance to qualify for the jackpot of more than US $1.4 million (€1.3 million) on offer annually at the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final.
A total of 14 athletes from the new North American league will qualify for next year's prestigious Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final, which will take place in Gothenburg (SWE) from March 23-28, 2016. The top seven athletes from the East Coast U.S., top three from West Coast U.S., and the two best-placed athletes from Canada and Mexico, will qualify for next year's Final, alongside winners of 15 leagues around the world.
ABOUT MARKEL INSURANCE
Markel Insurance Company is proud to once again partner with Blenheim EquiSports. With offices across the U.S., Markel is the national insurance provider covering horse owners for over 50 years. More at horseinsurance.com
For any equine, trainer and farm insurance needs, please contact the West Coast Sport Horse Agents at Lisa Seger Insurance. Call 1-877-Protex-U (776-8398), or for more info: lisasegerinsurance.com
ABOUT BLENHEIM EQUISPORTS
An equestrian event management company based in San Juan Capistrano, CA, that produces equestrian events in three locations: San Juan Capistrano, Del Mar and Las Vegas, NV. This includes USEF "Premier" and "National" rated hunter-jumper shows featuring multiple grand prix events, a Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League event, USHJA International Hunter Derbies, Pony Finals, Medal Finals and more.