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Michelle Parker and Vancouver 45 Victorious in the $25,000 Markel Grand Prix - Nayel Nassar and Acita a Close Second
San Juan Capistrano, CA - A large and enthusiastic crowd cheered on twenty-seven entries as they kicked off the inaugural $25,000 Markel Insurance 1.40m Grand Prix of the 2016 season. With six returning for the jump-off, it was Michelle Parker and Cross Creek Farms, Inc.'s Vancouver 45 who brought home the blue on a beautiful Southern California spring day.

Michelle Parker and Vancouver 45

FEI course designer Catsy Cruz of Mexico created the tracks in the International Field this week and after using a triple combination in several classes, including this morning, she decided to test the riders with three double combinations in the grand prix.

"The group of riders that are here, some are very strong, so I tried to make it a little more technical," Cruz noted. A good choice, as the questions asked caused rails throughout the 16-effort course.

Of the six clean, two were ridden by Michelle Parker and two by Nayel Nassar. Parker returned first for the jump-off aboard Cross Creek Farm, Inc.'s Cupilor. Clear and fast, they set a solid time of 41.43. Next in was Nassar aboard Baraka, who had three rails for a 12 fault score. The 2015 Markel Insurance 1.40m Grand Prix Series Final winner, Peter Petschenig and Saint Quentin, galloped in third and beat Parker's time by a fraction in 41.31 to take the lead.

Parker and Vancouver 45 rode a deceptively fast and clean track, stopping the clock in 40.92 to take back her top spot. After dropping a rail at the second jump, Michelle Kerivan and Colin took a longer route and finished with four in 47.81. Last to go, Nassar and Acita, who won this same Markel class in the spring of 2015, gave a solid effort, ultimately taking over the second spot, clean in 41.09. In the end, only .51 seconds separated the first through fourth place ribbon earners.

Nayel Nassar and Acita

Parker wasn't sure she could beat Petschenig's time and knew Nassar followed her. She noted that a jump-off with two turns to the left could have been an advantage, as Vancouver makes tidy turns in that direction. Pleased with the nine-year-old's first grand prix win, she also thinks a desire to beat the boys inspired her to gallop that much faster.

The Blenheim EquiSports spring season continues in San Juan Capistrano with the Spring Classic II, featuring a USHJA National Hunter Derby on Friday and another $25,000 Markel Insurance Grand Prix on Sunday.

Michelle Parker and Vancouver 45 celebrate the win in the first grand prix of the 2016 Blenheim EquiSports season, with Brandon Seger of Markel Insurance, Alex Alvarado, Melissa Brandes of Blenheim EquiSports, Armando Salazar and Salvador Alvarado

Place - Entry - Name - Rider - Owner - Faults/Time
1. 162 - Vancouver 45 - Michelle Parker - Cross Creek Farms, Inc. - 0/0/40.924
2. 423 - Acita - Nayel Nassar - Nayel Nassar - 0/0/41.097
3. 436 - Saint Quentin - Peter Petschenig - Peter Petschenig - 0/0/41.314
4. 160 - Cupilor - Michelle Parker - Cross Creek Farms, Inc. - 0/0/41.433
5. 272 - Colin - Michelle Kerivan - Michelle Kerivan - 0/4/47.817
6. 437 - Baraka - Nayel Nassar - Nayel Nassar - 0/12/44.863
7. 380 - Amadeus - Devon Bridges - Ace Equestrian - 4/74.155
8. 433 - Consider 5 - Peter Petschenig - Pam Bilek - 4/75.742
9. 434 - Colour Your Life - Peter Petschenig - Pam Bilek - 4/76.229
10. 342 - Heraldo S - Mei Mei Zhu - Mei Mei Zhu - 4/79.013
11. 206 - Doriena - Nathalie Cooper - Idyllic Imports - 4/79.589
12. 186 - Little Gancho - Mark Grock - Moonlight Beach, LLC - 4/80.482

Photos by McCool Photography


Markel Insurance Company is proud to once again partner with Blenheim EquiSports for another season of fun in the sun. Representative Brandon Seger will be on the show grounds to answer any questions related to your equine insurance needs.

At the show and in the barns, Markel is the Insurance Company with Horse Sense. With offices across the US, Markel is your national insurance provider covering equine risks for over 50 years. Thank you for your support and don't hesitate to contact Brandon to get a horse, farm or liability insurance quote today: - 213-219-7837.

Blenheim EquiSports, an equestrian event management company based in San Juan Capistrano, CA, produces events in three locations: San Juan Capistrano, Del Mar and Las Vegas, NV. The events include USEF "Premier" 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. More at



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