CONOR O'REGAN AND RIVAGE DE LORMAY RIDE ONLY DOUBLE-CLEAR IN $40,000 BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL GRAND PRIX
Though Sunday was the last day of competition at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show, nearly 30 horses and riders weren't yet ready to call it quits and took to the Rolex Stadium one final time for their chance to top the leaderboard in the $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington. Olympic course designer Guilherme Jorge's track proved tricky for a number of competitors, with only four entries riding a clean and clear first round to qualify for the jump-off. Conor O'Regan and Rivage De Lormay ended up as the only duo that did not fall victim to a rail, riding to the only double-clear of the afternoon to claim the grand prix victory.
The first two in the order-of-go, Paulo Santana and his own Taloubet as well as Sloane Coles aboard The Springledge Group's Espirit, each mastered Jorge's jumper track, though that would not set the tone for the class. A steady drought of clear rides followed, only twice interrupted by David Beisel with the ride on the ever-speedy stallion Ammeretto, owned by Equine Holdings, LLC, and O'Regan and Horseware's Rivage De Lormay. A pattern emerged throughout the class, with multiple entries dropping the second half of the tight combination nearing the end of the course or exhibiting trouble in the holding lines, which resulted in plenty of downed rails. With a small number of contenders to compete against in the jump-off, each qualified pair felt the pressure to keep all of the cups in the rails.
The first back in the ring, Santana and Taloubet tripped the timers in a quick 35.539 seconds, but unfortunately dropped a rail to end on a 4-fault total. Coles and Espirit followed second, but also knocked a pole to add 4 faults to their 5 time faults after breaking the beam in 49.376 seconds to finish on a cumulative 9 faults. Riding a more conservative trip in a time of 43.141 seconds, O'Regan piloted Rivage De Lormay to an efficient final go around the track, leaving the course intact with only one competitor left to ride. Always a fierce competitor in the grand prix, Biesel and his reliable Ammeretto took to the ring hoping to overcome O'Regan, and it appeared they were going to do just that until they dropped the back rail of one of the final oxers, solidifying O'Regan and Rivage De Lormay as the champions as the only double-clear pair.
Santana and Taloubet finished second-best, followed by Beisel and Ammeretto in third position with their time of 40.172 seconds. Coles and Espirit ended the day in fourth place, with Winn Alden and Southern Arches, LLC's Charlie taking fifth place with only 2 time faults in the first round. O'Regan added another top placing to his name with the sixth place finish aboard Barlando, owned by Dynomite Ranch, LLC, as the quickest 4-faulters with a first round time of 75.427 seconds. Due to his multiple strong finishes throughout the week in the jumper rings, and aided by his two top finishes Sunday, O'Regan was awarded the Envisian Leading Rider Award as the rider who had accumulated the most points in jumper divisions during the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show.
Sunday afternoon's competition concludes jumper action at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show at the Kentucky Horse Park, but the jumpers will return Aug. 23-27 for the KHJA Horse Show. Riders will have another shot at the prize money in the $10,000 Hagyard Welcome Stake and $30,000 KHJA Grand Prix.