East Dorset, Vermont — Julie Welles of Wellington, FL, and Warren, VT, rode Twan to victory in the $10,000 Not Your Daughter’s Jeans Welcome Stake, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, on Thursday, July 31, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.
Welles and Twan were the first pair to tackle the course designed by 1976 Olympic individual silver medalist Michel Vaillancourt of Canada. Despite having the unenviable position of going first in the order, Welles pulled out a win with Twan, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding. Welles also finished sixth on Bazooka de Muze and seventh with Ramses du Lavillon.
“I had to go first, so I was the time allowed guinea pig,” Welles laughed. “The course rode very nicely. The lines rode well; there were a few options (of how many strides to do between fences), and with Twan, if there’s a place to add a stride, I always will in the first round. Overall, what the course designer built was straight-forward and really nice.”
After a clear first round, Welles immediately advanced to the tie-breaker jump-off round with Twan. Welles laid down another clear round that would ultimately withstand six other riders who would follow in the jump-off. Henrik Gunderson and Ahaveros were the only other double clear round, settling for second after coming within one-tenth of a second of Welles’ time. The Danish rider also took fourth with Million Dollar Baby and fifth with Adlanteur.
“I thought my time was beatable,” Welles admitted. “From fence one to two was a rollback, and I thought I was a little slow. The rest of the course, Twan was pretty quick. I thought if I was going to get beat, it would have been from one to two.”
Twan is a relatively new mount for Welles after the gelding was acquired by current owners Missy Clark and Stephex Stables in April. Despite being on the older end of the age spectrum in the field of starters on Thursday, Twan proved that age is just a number.
“He’s a little older,” Welles acknowledged. “He showed a lot in Europe. He’s a horse that you can go into the ring and know you can give it a go to win and he’ll try his hardest for you. He’s super fast and turns really tight. You just have to steer him to the jump and he’ll try his best (to be clear). He’s so competitive.”
Of their win today, Welles continued, “Twan is always in the ribbons. I’ve jumped a lot of clear rounds on him, and this is our second win together.”
With Twan and Bazooka de Muze, Welles will return to the grand prix ring on Saturday for the $30,000 Manchester & the Mountains Grand Prix, scheduled for 1 p.m.
The Vermont Summer Festival offers a full schedule of hunter, jumper, and equitation competition. The $10,000 Open Welcome Stake Series, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, is held each Thursday. A $30,000 Grand Prix is held each Saturday, culminating in the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix on Saturday, August 9, during the sixth and final week of competition at the Vermont Summer Festival.
Competition is held weekly from Wednesday through Sunday, beginning at 8 a.m. Admission prices are $5 for adults, $3 for children from Wednesday through Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $7 for adults, $5 for children. 100% of the gate proceeds benefit area libraries, including Manchester Community Library.
The Vermont Summer Festival is a proud member event of the Show Jumping Hall Of Fame, the Marshall & Sterling League, and the North American League (NAL). Please e-mail us or visit our website for more information about the Vermont Summer Festival.
$10,000 Not Your Daughter's Jeans Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets
|4||Henrik Gundersen||Million Dollar Baby||0:4||35.41|
|6||Julie Welles||Bazooka de Muze||0:8||34.46|
|7||Julie Welles||Ramses Du Lavillon||0:8||34.54|
|8||Catherine Tyree||Free Style Van Polderhof||4|
|9||Kimberly Mulligan-Mangione||Psalms 23||4|
|10||Andrea Torres Guerreiro||Anabella||4|