Lucas Porter Wins Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix Series at WEF

The Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix Series hosted its $50,000 final event at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) circuit on Sunday, April 2, with a win for Ireland’s Daniel Coyle and Simba de la Roque. With consistent results in classes throughout the 2017 circuit riding Diamonte Darco, Lucas Porter was the winner of the Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix Series overall.

Olaf Petersen, Jr. set the final track for the Under 25 Grand Prix Series Final, featuring the top 22 competitors from the series overall, and eight clear rounds to jump-off for the final prize. Coyle and Ariel and Susan Grange’s Simba de la Roque cleared the short course in 39.94 seconds fro the win.

Great Britain’s Jessica Mendoza and Horst van de Mispelaere finished second in 41.19 seconds. Shawn Casady and Abigail Wexner’s Vanilla placed third in 43.71 seconds. Ailish Cunniffe also cleared the jump-off track in 44.66 seconds to finish fourth riding Whipstick Farm’s Casper. The final double clear round belonged to Wilton Porter in 44.71 seconds, guiding Sleepy P Ranch’s Delinquent JX to fifth place.

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Simba de la Roque was one of many new horses that Coyle got the ride on for Ariel and Susan Grange at the start of the WEF season. He has used the Under 25 Series to gain valuable experience and get to know the 11-year-old Selle Francais gelding better.

“I have been aiming Simba for this series throughout the circuit, mainly the $35,000 classes and the grand prix today,” Coyle stated. “I did get a little lucky today; Jessica had a very good round. Just turning back there to the second to last fence, I lost my stirrup and the last two jumps got a little risky, but Simba is a fantastic horse. He has been great here all year.”

Coyle continued, “This is a great division to either get to know a horse, or to bring a horse to the next level. That class today was a real competitive class. It was really hard to win. Under 25 classes are really strong now; it is a really strong division. For me to get Simba going at that level is a big step and now I do not feel like I’m that far away from the next level. I think that horse eventually will be jumping the big grand prixs. I am very happy. I had a great last week winning two classes with the young horses, and a great second place finish in the grand prix last night, and today has been brilliant for me.”

In addition to his win on Sunday, Coyle was presented with the Hermès Talented Young Rider Award for the 2017 WEF circuit. The award is given to the top young rider between the ages of 16-25 who receives the most points in FEI competition during the circuit.

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Mendoza was also riding a new mount this winter in her ten-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding Horst van de Mispelaere. “This horse is new for me since December, so I kind of used this Under 25 series to get used to him and get him jumping,” Mendoza stated. “My plan all along was to do the $35,000 classes, and this final was my main goal at the end of the season. It really worked out well.”

Commenting on the series further, Mendoza added, “I thought it was great because we got a few different types of classes. We got to jump under the lights at the other venue; we had the Nations’ Cup format, which was a great experience for that horse. Also, the opportunity to jump on the grass was really great. My horse had great experiences in different rings and different formats. I think he is going to be a very versatile horse, and I think this has really helped that.”

Competing at the Winter Equestrian Festival for the first time, Mendoza had great experiences with all of her horses, from the Under 25 Series up to the grand prix level. “I loved it,” Mendoza acknowledged. “It is nice to get away from Europe for three months and be based in one place. My horses have completely changed and turned into super horses now, so it was a great experience.”

Casady, who works for John and Beezie Madden, got the ride on Abigail Wexner’s Vanilla this year for the Under 25 Series and had solid results with the experienced mare throughout the circuit. “I started riding her at the beginning of circuit, and our relationship has developed through these classes,” Casady said of the 15-year-old Danish Warmblood mare. “She has her own personality. She is an old mare, so she has her way, and I have to respect that. Throughout the series we had a lot of four-fault rounds, so it is really nice to come have a double clear today.”

Remarking on his jump-off, Casady stated, “I just wanted to be smooth and not too risky. Like I said, we have had a lot of four-fault rounds, so I just wanted to be consistent and quick. That is a little bit how you have to ride her – just smooth and nice. She does not want you chasing after her.”

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For his success throughout the circuit and an overall win in the series, Lucas Porter jumped Diamonte Darco, Sleepy P Ranch LLC’s 12-year-old Great Britain Sport Horse mare.

As the overall Series winner, Porter will be invited to compete in the CSI2* division of the Chantilly Horse Show, a Global Champions Tour event, from July 13-16, 2017, in France. In addition to his entry, Porter will also receive two tickets to the Chantilly VIP lounge and transportation for one horse generously provided by The Dutta Corp. in association with Guido Klatte.

“I definitely achieved my goal, and it feels great,” Porter stated. “Coming back from Europe last November, I really pointed Diamonte Darco at the Under 25 Series this WEF. The past few years, I have been fourth or sixth in the overall. It has been really one of my goals since I started the series to win the overall, so I am very happy to do it this year.” “I have been to Chantilly before, but I was really young the last time I went,” Porter added. “I will be over in Europe beginning April 28. I will do a few shows before then, but I will definitely be going to Chantilly, especially now that I get free entry. It is a super show. I am really looking forward to it.”

“On behalf of the Andrade family and Hollow Creek Farm, we would like to congratulate all of these promising athletes on fantastic competition throughout the series,” said Hollow Creek Farm representative Jennifer Ward. “It has been great watching these riders come into their own, and we would like to give special recognition to Lucas Porter, who has enjoyed fantastic results throughout the years and is now standing on the podium as the overall winner of the 2017 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix Series.”

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