Sunday, March 6, 2011

Jumping: Wellington: WEF: Rodrigo Pessoa and HH Ashley Triumph in $25,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Classic

Pessoa Wins Again

The $25,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Classic was held earlier in the day with a victory for Brazil's Rodrigo Pessoa and HH Ashley. Ten of 41 entries went clear to advance to the jump-off and four jumped double clear in the race against the clock.

Enrique Gonzalez (MEX) and his mount Cantinero were the first pair to jump double clear and stopped the clock in a fast 43.219 seconds, but they were soon bested by Rodrigo Pessoa and HH Ashley to finish in second place. Pessoa and Ashley went fourth in jump-off order and took over the lead after clearing the second round course in 42.648 seconds. The clear trip and fast time held on for the win through six more rounds.

Another clear round followed from Samuel Parot (CHI) and Al Calypso, owned by Daniel Bluman, finishing in 45.213 seconds to earn fourth place. Sergio Nieto Del Rio (MEX) and Fabiana Banco Del Bajio were the final pair to jump clear, crossing the timers in 43.329 seconds, and placing third. Nick Skelton and Big Star had the time in hand in 41.449 seconds, but pulled a rail at the last fence on course to finish with the fastest four fault round in fifth place.

Class winner HH Ashley is an 11-year-old Hanoverian mare by Acorado x Chasseur owned by Double H Farm. Pessoa had a lot of success with the little chestnut mare during the 2010 season, but got off to a slow start this year. He explained that Ashley has been spooky and difficult in some of the classes, but she redeemed herself this week with a fourth place finish in yesterday's $25,000 ESP Jumper Stake and now a win today.

"I was not really satisfied with how she was going," Pessoa acknowledged. "Last week I jumped her in the 1.50m and she had one down, but she was good and she felt good yesterday and again today."

"She is jumping better. She is back to herself, but that's horses; it is a box of surprises," he laughed. "Every day it is something different and she still has to learn her job. She has a lot of potential and a lot of ability, but she has a little bit of her own character and you have to make sure that you stay on top of her. In her defense, she doesn't have that much experience at the high level. She is still in the learning process, but we have a lot of hopes for her in the future."

Speaking about today's class, Pessoa noted, "She jumped very well in the jump-off. I am really trying to get more competitive with her because she is not the fastest horse and she is going to have to learn how to go a little bit faster. I try to do everything in a good way. I cut the turns as short as I could and to the last jump it was a big stride that showed up miles away and we took that one. I think I won it there because the rest of the course I was not faster than Enrique."

Pessoa concluded, "She is a very good mare; she has a lot of quality and we just have to keep her on track and I think she will be very good for us."

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