GB’s Matthew Sampson Claim Top Honors in $50,000 Equiline Holiday Finale Grand Prix whilst Jessica Mendoza takes 2nd

Monday 04 January 2021

GB’s Matthew Sampson Claim Top Honors in $50,000 Equiline Holiday Finale Grand Prix whilst Jessica Mendoza takes 2nd

 

Competition came to an end at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) on Sunday in the International Arena with the $50,000 Equiline Holiday Finale Grand Prix.

Thirty-four riders representing 11 nations competed over the course designed by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA). Last to go in the jump-off, Matthew Sampson (GBR) piloted Gut Einhaus, LLC’s Paul Walker to the fastest time of the class to claim victory. His time of 37.52 seconds was enough to relegate fellow GB rider Jessica Mendoza into 2nd place with Casanova 499 who stopped the clock clear in 38.86 seconds.  3rd place went to Sydney Shulman (ISR) with J Boston SE.

Sunday’s classes concluded the ESP Holiday Finale Show as well as the ESP Holiday Series. Competition will begin again Wednesday, January 6, for the Premiere Week of the 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival, which will take place over 13 weeks and conclude April 4, 2021.

Talking after the presentation Matt said of the Hanoverian gelding by Perigeux x Cornet Obolensky “He's an incredible horse. He has jumped two classes since he's been in Florida. That was two weeks ago before Christmas and he was clear in both. It’s my first time in Florida, so it’s been a great start. The course was good, the first round was a long and really careful course, which suited my horse in particular because he is so careful.”

The first course that the horses and riders were tested over consisted of 13 fences, and nine duos successfully completed the first round to advance to the seven-fence jump-off. Sixth in the original order, Sydney Shulman (ISR) and Jill Shulman’s J-Boston S.E. were the first to go clear, followed by Luis Pedro Biraben (ARG) aboard his own Chacco Bumpy to force a jump-off. The seven additional riders to join the jump-off were Molly Ashe Cawley (USA), Jessica Mendoza (GBR), Jacqueline Steffens (CAN), Mac Cone (CAN), Paul O’Shea (IRL), Simon McCarthy (IRL), and Matthew Sampson (GBR).

First to return to the ring over the short course, Shulman and J-Boston S.E. were able to produce a second fault-free ride to set the pace with a time of 39.42 seconds. Jessica Mendoza and Carly Day’s Casanova 499 soon took over the lead after stopping the timers at 38.86 seconds. The duo remained in first until the last rider, Sampson, sliced a full second off of Jessica’s leading time, piloting Paul Walker to a winning time of 37.52 seconds to secure the lead spot in the victory gallop. 

“I always know that Jessica is fast because I’ve been riding against her all our lives, so I just tried to do as much as I could without doing anything crazy to knock a fence down, and luckily it paid off!” Matt commented regarding his plan for the jump-off. “I got six strides to the double which is quite a long distance. Jessica did seven and then I got one less stride to the last fence. Jessica did do one less stride than me to the second fence, but I think the one less stride to the double was what probably helped us out.”

For the full results of the $50,000 Equiline Holiday Finale Grand Prix, click HERE.

 

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