h ©Curtis Wallis
The luck of the Irish held fast for a second year in New Albany, Ohio on Sunday afternoon as Ireland’s Conor Swail and his 9-year-old chestnut gelding Simba de La Roque won the 2015 $125,000 New Albany Classic Invitational Grand Prix CSI2*.
Swail emerged from an eight rider jump-off to win the Grand Prix and Authentic Cup at the 18th annual New Albany Classic, held at the Wexner home in New Albany. It was a picture perfect day in central Ohio as more than 17,000 families descended upon the show grounds to enjoy amusement rides, musical performances, food trucks, costumed characters, chainsaw artists, petting zoos and for the first time ever, Jurassic Park dinosaurs. The opening ceremonies began with a skydiving demonstration by Team Fastrax Parachute Demonstration Team that landed with an American flag on the John G. McCoy Show Field to officially mark the beginning of The Classic.
Event host Abigail Wexner presented a $1.7 million check on behalf of the sponsors and event attendees to Karen Days President of The Center for Family Safety and Healing, and thanked everyone for their ongoing commitment to ending family violence.
“This day is a success because of you,” said Abigail Wexner, as she addressed the thousands in the stands awaiting the start of the class. “Many of you have been with us year after year and that consistent support has made a meaningful difference in the lives of so many families. We’ve raised a total of $27 million together over the last 18 years and that is an incredible statement about the kind of community we are.”
The class then began with Schuyler Riley and Q-7 the first to take the field.
In the first round of competition it looked as if it was going to be a ladies-only jump off with Leslie Howard and Utah, Kimberly Prince and RMF Bella Baloubet and Margie Engle and Indigo. They were the only ones to go clear in the first ten horse and rider combinations until Irishman Paul O’Shea and Skara Glen’s Dolphin successfully completed the course.
Swail held on to his jumpoff lead despite a thrilling challenge from Beezie Madden, who is currently ranked third in the world, aboard Breitling LS. Swail completed the eight jump course with a time of 40.73 compared to Madden’s 41.96 seconds. There have been three Irishmen that have won The Classic since its inception, Swail, his countryman Shane Sweetnam in 2014 aboard Chaqui Z and Darragh Kerins aboard Night Train in 2007.
New Albany’s Andre Mershad, the youngest rider in the history of The Classic at just 16 years of age, was all smiles as he made his grand prix debut with just one rail down in a class that included Olympians, World Equestrian Games and Pan American Games riders.
New this year, The Classic awarded a groom’s prize for the best turned out horse, won by Tania Bordas, groom for the winning horse Simba De La Roque.
In addition to the afternoon’s exciting grand prix, Classic-goers were treated to live performances by pop duo Timeflies, Dove Cameron (Disney Channel’s Liv and Maddie, Descendants), pop trio Before You Exit, country singer-songwriter RaeLynn and rising teen star and singer-songwriter Skylar Stecker at the Concert at The Classic presented by Justice. The show was a hit with guests of all ages and cheers from the crowd could be heard throughout The Classic grounds.
This 18th New Albany Classic included the largest family day carnival to date. The thrilling Dinosaur Adventure courtesy of the ScareFactory and the Fachman family was the undeniable hit of the midway. Guests lined up the entire day to get up close and personal with film-used dinosaurs from the Jurassic Park movies. The inaugural Dance, Sing, and Roar! stage was a crowd favorite as well, featuring performances by Columbus Children’s Theatre and BalletMet, as well as live shows from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and Royal Arts Sport Fencing Academy.
Returning favorites like the zipline, costumed characters, a synthetic ice skating rink and more combined with new attractions like dinosaurs, lightsaber duels and live chainsaw carving create the multi-faceted event that was named the #1 Specialty Equestrian Event by the North American Riders Group for the third year in a row. This truly one-of-a-kind fundraiser drew nearly 17,000 people this year and raised $1.7 million, ensuring that The Center for Family Safety and Healing (TCFSH) can continue to offer its vital services. Visitors and the more than 350 event volunteers alike were proud to support TCFSH in its continued goal to break the cycle of family violence.
Full results of the $125,000 New Albany Invitational Grand Prix:
|FINALPLACE||HORSE||RIDER||CLEAR||NAT||TOTALFAULTS||RD. 1 TIME||J/OFAULTS||J/O TIME|
|1||SIMBA DE LA ROQUE||CONOR SWAIL||6||IRL||0||74.93||0||40.73|
|2||BREITLING LS||BEEZIE MADDEN||8||USA||0||75.94||0||41.96|
|4||CASSINJA S||CHARLIE JACOBS||7||USA||0||75.11||4||40.9|
|6||WANNICK WH||CHRISTINE MCCREA||5||USA||0||77.68||4||44.83|
|7||SKARA GLEN’S MACHU PICHU||PAUL O’SHEA||4||IRL||0||79.18||13||48.4|
|8||RMF BELLA BALOUBET||KIMBERLY PRINCE||2||USA||0||79.29||27||62.91|
|9||ENTRE NOUS||LAUREN TISBO||X||USA||1||82.42||X||X|
|10||SPECIAL LUX||JONATHAN MCCREA||X||USA||4||74.01||X||X|
|11||VDL TORLANDO||CALLAN SOLEM||X||USA||4||75.15||X||X|
|12||EASY CONTACT HUMLAN||SHANE SWEETNAM||X||IRL||4||76.06||X||X|
|15||BUGATTI VDL||CANDICE KING||X||USA||4||78.46||X||X|
|16||BULL RUN’S ETERNAL||KRISTEN VANDERVEEN||X||USA||4||78.72||X||X|
|17||BALOUS DAY DATE||MOLLY ASHE-CAWLEY||X||USA||4||78.81||X||X|
|20||MAN IN BLACK||ANDRE MERSHAD||X||USA||4||80.18||X||X|
|21||BIJOU DE BALOU||KATHERINE DINAN||X||USA||5||82.55||X||X|
|22||CONCONCRETO BELIEVE||DANIEL BLUMAN||X||COL||8||76.6||X||X|
|25||CALL ME HANNES||DAVID BEISEL||X||USA||8||79.26||X||X|
|28||EVENING STAR||HEATHER CARISTO-WILLIAMS||X||USA||12||80.21||X||X|
|29||HARLEY DAVID||NICOLE BELLISSIMO||X||USA||20||79.44||X||X|
|30||PROF DE LA ROQUE||ANDREW KOCHER||X||USA||RET.||X||X||X|