Golden Gate Classic Wraps Up Five Great Weeks of Showing at Woodside


Robert Blanchette Earns $5,000 LEGIS Rider Bonus for Third Grand Prix Win

Robert Blanchette started out the 2016 Woodside Series with two back-to-back grand prix wins, and he closed the five weeks with another. During the Woodside Spring shows, Robert’s two grand prix wins put him in contention for the LEGIS Rider Bonus, doubling his chances since he had a win with each of his horses, Asticott Des Templiers and Lazur. He had one more chance at Golden Gate Classic (July 6-10) in the Golden Gate Grand Prix.

With a 19 horse field facing off over Charles Throckmorton’s long track that had riders crisscrossing the entire grand prix field, Robert had his work cut out for him. The class started out with amateur rider Amanda McQuady and her stallion Picardo setting the tone for the night by posting the first of ten clear rounds. Robert followed two horses later on Lazur and assured the crowd a jump off.  Jan Humphrey, Julie Young, Ransome Rombauer, Meredith Herman, Daniel Zilla, and Macella O’Neil all joined the jump off ranks.

Due to the size and talent of the jump off squad, Charles raised several fences and the pressure was on Robert to jump clean, and with eight hungry riders following him, he had to go fast to not only ensure the win, but also the LEGIS Jumper Rider Bonus. “In the first round, the time allowed was very tight,” Robert explained. “I had two horses, and one had a rail so it was nice to have two chances to go clean. There were ten in the jump off, and I was second to go. Those eight riders after me were definitely on my mind, and I really wanted to win and get the bonus.”

Fence 2, a simple white vertical with cut out walls, proved to be the nemesis, catching all but two of the riders. Lazur rubbed the top rail, but it stayed in the cups. Robert made a tight rollback to fence 9 after jumping through the grob and a daring gallop to the triple bar, followed by a tight turn to the final combination. The timers stopped in 35.237 and all Robert could do was hold his breath as the remaining riders challenged his time. “Lazur has a huge stride, so I wanted to get some good turns and be fast and make everyone catch me. Everyone rode really well. Daniel was very fast, but had one down. We rubbed fence 2, but we got lucky and it held.”

Only Macella O’Neil aboard Boccaccio could post a clear round, but her more conservative time of 40.701 put her second. For his efforts, Robert not only took home the top prize money, but an additional $5,000 from for winning two grand prix events on the same horse during the five show Woodside Series. “The LEGIS Jumper Rider Bonus is a great program,” Robert commented. “It definitely kept us coming back, and we did all five grands prix. I wanted to keep going and get the bonus. It was a really fun experience, and I really like that it gets everyone in the spirit.”


Zan Chin Wins Again!

The Woodside Speed Derby has proven quite popular with the jumper riders and in its inaugural year in 2015, Kelley McKnight and Zan Chin were unbeatable. This year they had a few others take the top spot. For the final week, Kelley was last to go with Zan Chin in the Golden Gate Classic Speed Derby, and he wanted to wrap up his Woodside weeks with a win. Course designer Charles Throckmorton presented the riders with some interesting options, including a fun figure eight track up and down the bank complex along with some daring gallops. Zan Chin, wearing her trademark leather halter in place of a bridle, attacked the course and left no doubt that she is close to invincible. With five seconds to spare they nabbed back-to-back wins and closed out the Woodside Summer Circuit with a flair.

Overdressed is in Style for a Hunter Derby Win

Overdressed proved he was dressed just right for the USHJA National Hunter Derby at the Golden Gate Classic. Fifth after the first round, Hugh Mutch piloted the black gelding to a stylish, accurate handy round and his score of 92 put him at the top of the leader board. Nancy Thomas aboard Picasso was on his heels and finished second. Jenni McAllister had two horses in the Hunter Derby, the mother-son duo of LEGIS Venice and Beach Boy, and they finished fourth and fifth.


Jessica and Nicole Harrell

California Riding Academy had some excitement at the show when Nicole Harrell topped the Carousel Hunter Derby and Jessica Harrell won the Trainer Incentive yet again. “How amazing it feels to have won this award four years in a row!” Jessica remarked. “This is a testament to the breadth of CRA's experience in all three rings: hunters, jumpers and equitation. Congratulations to our amazing Team, and thank you to all the competitors and staff that helped facilitate this accomplishment.”


Naturally, Nicole was thrilled to win the Carousel Hunter Derby on Ocean Power, and she placed sixth as well with As Ever. “We recently bought Ocean Power from Caspian Stables in San Diego,” Nicole said. “He is the sweetest and most curious horse ever, and I love him so much! To accomplish what we have is such a short time is amazing. I'm excited to continue the journey with Ocean Power and my new Ariat Monaco boots from Carousel Saddlery in Portola Valley.” 


“Century Rider” Dolores Murphy and Take Note

Dolores (Gary Striker, trainer) and Take Note have a unique trait this year: their cumulative ages total 100. The pair had a great time showing in the Outreach Crossrail sections and LEGIS League Intro Rider Horsemanship Final, and Gary showed the horse to wins in the Evergreen Hunters. Dolores’s goal is to get to the Rusty Stirrup and show successfully at 2'0".


Hugh Mutch and Overdressed
Flying Horse Photography
  Nicole Harrell wins the Carousel Hunter Derby
Flying Horse Photography



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