Hampton Falls, NH – August 10, 2012 – Speed was the word of the day at The Jumper Classic®, presented by Fidelity Investments® and Audi of America. In the $3,500 DG Ventures Speed Derby, Olympian Peter Leone piloted Tuvalu, owned by Alison Finger, to the fastest clear round for victory.
Located in the beautiful town of Hampton Falls, NH, The Jumper Classic is New England’s premier equestrian event. This elite level competition attracts the country’s top riders, past Olympians and local equestrians. The Jumper Classic runs through Sunday, August 12, with the highlight class, the $75,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix, on Sunday.
The $3,500 DG Ventures Speed Derby was the highlight class of the day in the Coldwell Bankers Previews Grand Prix Field today, and the course was designed by Olaf Petersen, Jr. of Munich, Germany. Leone and Tuvalu were the last of 20 entries and knew the time they would have to beat. Leone sped around the course and clocked the fastest time in 76.818 seconds with no faults. The previous winning time, 77.733 seconds, was set by Rugged Bear and Sarah Hubbard, who had to settle for second place. Third place went to Maestro de Shalimar and Stephanie McComisky, who finished clear in 77.787 seconds.
"I went in to win,” Leone revealed. “This course actually suited Blue because Blue likes to turn left. There were a lot of very critical left hand turns in this course. Those little places, because he's such a good turner to the left, were able to give him that edge without even going for broke. He stayed within himself. He's a very careful horse and he does have a big stride, but he's also catty, which is one of the attributes you need for a good speed horse. You need to be big for certain parts, but also be able to bounce up and be careful, and that he does.”
Leone and Finger found Tuvalu, aka “Blue,” eight years ago in Belgium. The now 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding is by the famous show jumping sire Mr. Blue, and it was love at first sight for both. Tuvalu won the Six Year Old Young Jumper Championship at the Hampton Classic Horse Show.
Leone said, “Alison brought him along slowly and beautifully. It's been pretty much a success story from that point on with Tuvalu. His job has been that of beloved amateur jumper for Allison. He's won in every kind of venue, but what Blue likes best is a big, beautiful, grass jumping field like we have here at The Jumper Classic.”
Leone also had the win on Matti Fisher’s San Souci in the 1.10m Jumpers today.
Peter Leone is an Olympic equestrian, trainer, producer of hunter/jumper instructional DVDs and author. He owns and operates Lionshare Farm in Greenwich, CT. His clients successfully compete in the pony, equitation, hunter and jumper divisions. He is one of three brothers, internationally known as Team Leone, for their success in the show ring. Leone was a member of the 1996 Silver Medal United States Olympic Show Jumping Team and winner of numerous national and international Grand-Prix show jumping competitions.