Articles: Press Release
Two Americans Finish in Top Ten of Warmup Event for World's Richest Show Jumping Competition
PHOTO CREDIT: Schuyler Riley riding Opus Sept in the Palm Speed Stakes in Dubai's $1,250,000 show jumping event. Photo: Ken Braddick-HorseSport USA
Kenneth Braddick of PhelpsSports.com
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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Jan. 12, 2006 - The two American riders in the world's richest show jumping competition finished in the top ten of a warmup speed contest on Thursday, the eve of the $760,000 Al Maktoum Memorial Challenge Grand Prix.
Schuyler Riley of New Hope, Penn. and Wellington, Fla. rode her 16-year-old gelding Opus Sept, owned by South Beach Stables, to sixth place with no penalties in the Palm Speed Stakes after a disappointing 22nd placing on the opening day. The three day competition has brought more than 20 of the world's top show jumping riders to this oil-rich Persian Gulf state to vie for $1,250,000 in prize money.
There were 19 starters in the class that was won by Germany's Alois Pollman-Schweckhorst on Diamond's Delight.
Beezie Madden of Cazenovia, N.Y. and the Allan Shore-owned Play On toppled a single fence to finish in 10th place in what she said was probably the highest level of competition so far for the nine-year-old gelding.
"I wasn't riding to win. We went at medium speed to make him confident, facing the jumps that he was so terrified of in his first class," Riley said.
Opus Sept, she said, was "still a little spooky," but they cleared all 13 jumps in a time of 76.74 seconds, 13.72 seconds behind the winner.
"He's physically really fit and full of energy," she said, "and ready for Friday night's grand prix."
Madden said she was so happy with Play On's performance that she may enter the horse in a final class on Friday before she competes in the grand prix finale aboard Desilvio, an 11-year-old gelding owned by Abigail Wexner.
In the 18 months that she has been riding Play On, this was the biggest contest he has been in.
She said she will aim at competing the gelding in 1.45 and 1.50 meter classes at Florida's Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) that begins later this month. At 34 years, WEF is the nation's longest running and largest equestrian series that offers more than $3 million in prize money.
The other night competition on Thursday, the Masters, was won by Ireland's Jessica Kerten on Castle Forbes Libertina, one of the horses she plans to take to the WEF. Kerten will compete for the first time at WEF this year.
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