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 start times for competition have been adjusted for Saturday, August 11. Rings 2 & 3 will now start at 9 a.m. The Grand Prix Field will start at 10 a.m.

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.

To watch an interview with Peter Leone on how they found Tuvalu and how he won the derby, please visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHLsWiCzrto .

“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.”

Peter Leone and Tuvalu

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.”

Peter Leone and Tuvalu receive their awards from Anna Zygadlo and Darren Graziano of DG Ventures

Opening up the day with a win was Devin Ryan of Long Valley, NJ, on Roman Saluut. They were the fastest over the speed course for victory out of 23 entries. Second place went to yesterday’s winners, Valdano and Jeffery Welles, who rode for Laura O’Connor. Jonathan McCrea and Candy Tribble’s Boston finished third.

Ryan said of his plan, “I used this as a warm-up class to get him out on the field before I do the grand prix with him. He was under challenged, but the idea was to get out there. I didn’t think I was that fast, but I guess I was if I took the lead! I put him in cruise control, sat on the pace, and kept him going.”

Devin Ryan and Roman Saluut

Ryan noted that Roman Saluut is “deceiving.” He added, “Nobody would guess that he’s as fast as he is, but he’s always been a competitive horse in jump-offs. Especially in a place like this, using his stride where you can just gallop. He’s better off the gallop. He likes to go that way. When you’re galloping, it makes him wake up a bit and more careful at times.”

Ryan found Roman Saluut, a nine-year-old Holsteiner stallion by Saluut II, from Blair Cudmore as a three-year-old. He broke him and started him as a jumper, bringing him through the ranks to the grand prix level. They have found success, including a victory in the $30,000 Mount Equinox Grand Prix at the Vermont Summer Festival.

Devin Ryan in his awards presentation on his second mount

This is Ryan’s first time at The Jumper Classic. “I think it’s a great field. I’ll definitely be back,” he said. “The grass field is great experience and great mileage for the horses. I can’t wait to bring them all back next year; I have a whole group of young horses.”

The junior/amateur-owner jumpers had their second class of the week today. In the $3,000 Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers, Cody Parker and Ambitious scored their second win of the week. Vicki Lowell and Tippitoo finished second, while Megan McDermott and Sagamore Farms’ Lacongo placed third.

Cody Parker and Ambitious

In the $3,000 High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers, Chloe Reid and Damascus found the path to victory. Anna McKnight and Carisco were second, while Sophie Morner and Veron, owned by Lovsta Stuteri, were third.

Chloe Reid and Damascus

The $5,000 1.40m Jumpers saw Charlie Jacobs and Flaming Star post the fastest time in the jump-off to win. Molly Ashe-Cawley and Wriomf, owned by The Jolly Group, were just behind in second place. Kirsten Coe and Ilan Ferder’s Baronez finished third.

Charlie Jacobs and Flaming Star

In the GGT Footing Ring Two, the final class was the $1,000 High Children’s/Adult Jumpers. Michael Matice of Denville, NJ, rode Lexus to victory. It was their second win this week at The Jumper Classic.

Matice has ridden Lexus, a 17-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, for four years in his 11-year riding career. Lexus was originally a racehorse, but left the track at four years old. After a previous owner, Lexus went to Matice’s trainer, Devin Ryan. “Lucky for me he was a real bad racer!” Matice laughed. “He had maybe one or two starts and didn’t do so well. He was a hard to ride horse when he was a four-year-old. Devin got him as a seven-year-old and he needed that training.”

Ryan competed Lexus up to the 1.45m level and was especially successful in speed classes. When Matice got the ride, it became a learning experience for him. “It’s a big advantage to have a trainer’s horse. The journey of riding can be a humiliating and frustrating one,” he expressed. “It’s certainly a lot more fun when you win. I don’t really set out to win, so much, but I just try to match the spirit of the animal I’m riding and the character that he has. He’s let me learn so much about riding that I probably would never have learned on another horse. If you chip at a fence or slam down a rail, he says, ‘Ok, let’s go try that again.’ He just keeps coming at it. He’s a very forward horse too, which makes him an ideal amateur horse.”

Michael Matice and Lexus in their awards presentation with Anna Zygadlo of The Jumper Classic

For the jump-off, Matice explained, “This horse is difficult to beat in the jump-off because he is so fast. Devin told me to run the plan. The secret was to make a good turn on the rollback after the second fence and try to get a more direct line. It came up nice and I actually left a stride out of the second line there, which didn’t make Devin too happy. I did a little hand gallop to the last fence. That seemed to be the winning combination.”

Matice came into today’s class with a victory in the division already under his belt. “It feels pretty fantastic. I’m very fortunate to have a trainer like Devin Ryan. He’s a consummate professional,” he said.

Additional winners in the GGT Footing Ring Two today were:
1.10m Jumpers: San Souci, Peter Leone, Matti Fisher
1.15m Jumpers: Super G, Paul Halpern, Kathleen Kamine
$1,000 1.20m Jumpers: Sante, Katherine Weber, Katherine Weber
$500 Watershed Farm Low Children’s/Adult Jumpers: Lots O’ Dots, Jessica Nickless, Jessica Nickless

The Jumper Classic presented by Fidelity Investments and Audi of America continues tomorrow with the highlight class, the $12,000 Speed Derby. It will be preceded by the $1,000 Holistic Animal Healing Clinic Masters Classic, $5,000 Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, and $5,000 SmartPak High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic. In the GGT Footing Ring Two, there is the $750 Watershed Farm Low Children’s/Adult Jumper Classic, the $2,500 Woodridge Farm Children’s Jumper Classic, and $3,500 Dover Saddlery Adult Jumper Classic.

For more information, please visit The Jumper Classic website at www.jumperclassic.com .

Final Results: $3,500 DG Ventures Speed Derby
1  Tuvalu, Peter Leone, Allison Finger: 0/76.818
2  Rugged Bear, Sarah Hubbard, Sarah Hubbard: 0/77.733
3  Maestro de Shalimar, Stephanie McComisky, Stephanie McComisky: 0/77.787
4  Palio, Peter Leone, The Palio Group: 0/78.794
5  Wayfarer, Peter Leone, Lionshare Farm: 0/79.380
6  Antigone Quality, Candice King, Esperenza Inc: 0/80.926
7  Nina VDL, Candice King, Esperenza Inc: 0/82.341
8  Gummi Van Oz, Ed Copeland, Grey Ledges LLC: 0/84.116

The Jumper Classic® presented by Fidelity Investments® and Audi of America, now in its 23rd year, annually attracts some of the nation’s most elite equestrian athletes as well as international competitors.  The show offers five days of competition and culminates in the premier event, the $75,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix, held on one of the top grass grand prix fields on the east coast. For more information on The Jumper Classic, please visit www.jumperclassic.com .

PHOTO CREDIT:  Photos © Tammy Hardy Photography. These photos may only be used in relation to this press release and with full photo credit.

WEBSITE: www.jumperclassic.com , Press Releases and Photos are available for download.