Langley, BC – Through 18 riders in an action-packed jump-off in the Hillcrest Show Jumping “Seize the Day” Grand Prix 1.30m, the leaderboard couldn’t have been much closer. First and second were separated by a half-second. So, too, were third through eighth.
Then James Chawke entered the arena and blew the entire class open. Last to go, he and Alison Locke’s Nacara van Berkenbroeck Z took the most expedient of tracks around Joey Rycroft’s (CAN) short course, crossing the timers nearly three seconds in front (27.94s). Catherine Brentzel (USA) and Quintago VA finished second (30.39s), with Georgia Knight (CAN) and Ecolano vs Romano third (30.97s).
“The horse is very fast, so I know that if I’m a bit smart about my plan, I should be right up there,” Chawke said. “There were a lot of horses in the jump-off. Of course, it’s handy being last, because then you know what you have to do. You’re not taking any unnecessary risks and you have to kind of go fairly fast.”
Chawke weighed the risks that came with a leave-out no one else had attempted between the jump-off’s first two fences, and he determined riding an eight-stride track was the best strategy for success. It was smooth sailing from the moment he left the ground to the first jump.
“I walked one to two, and I thought there would be an eight there,” Chawke said. “I figured most people would do nine or ten [strides], but I knew eight was there if I needed to, so I didn’t actually watch that many. But I saw [Brentzel] before me go the last little bit. She looked very fast, so I figured I probably should try and get eight there and be tight back to the double if I could.”
Chawke has been partnered with the 10-year-old bay for about a year, and it’s been a successful summer for the pair, with the gelding also winning the Diamond Valley Ranch U10 Young Horse 1.35m at the Summer Fort Welcome. After his latest victory, he’ll get a well deserved rest before a winter season of showing in Thermal, CA.
“He’s a very good jumper, very careful. He’s got quite a bit of blood and is a bit strong, but he’s improved,” Chawke said. “He’s got a great mindset. He always wants to do the right thing. He’s always trying to win.”
Hillcrest Show Jumping “Seize the Day” Grand Prix 1.30m
Horse / Rider / Nationality / Owner / Faults / Time
1. Nacara van Berkenbroeck Z / James Chawke / IRL / Alison Locke / 0/0 27.94
2. Quintago VA / Catherine Brentzel / USA / O’Neill Show Jumping LLC / 0/0 30.39
3. Ecolano VS Romano / Georgia Knight / Georgia Knight / 0/0 30.97
4. Caponerhall / Kaylie Martinoff / CAN / Inga Martinoff / 0/0 31.61
5. Eloise / Rachel Cornacchia / CAN / Eventyre Farms Ltd / 0/0 32.02
6. Livius P / Lilah Nakatani / USA / Lilah Nakatani / 0/0 32.03
7. Lucky Strike / Andrea Strain / CAN / Andrea Strain / 0/0 32.29
8. Fenelon WF / Kassidy Keith / CAN / Kassidy Keith / 0/0 32.36
9. Infostar / Georgia Hunt / CAN / Georgia Hunt / 0/0 32.86
10. Darling Sherlock / Niko Keshtkar / CAN / Niko Keshtkar / 0/0 33.27