Daisy Ford and Gatsby Do it Again in $25,000 Great Southwest Grand Prix

Katy, TX – Daisy Ford and Gatsby led the grand prix victory gallop for the second week in a row at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center, this time after topping the $25,000 Great Southwest Grand Prix on Saturday, November 19 during the Great Southwest Final Chase.

“I was a little nervous again,” said Ford, who has owned Gatsby for eight years but just got the gelding back from a year lease in May. “I haven’t done this in a long time, and him being 16, we didn’t know if he would come back week two and still feel as good as he did week one. He did. I gave him off the entire week. This was the only class that he did. He was fantastic. He’s just one incredible horse!” 

Daisy Ford and Gatsby. Photo by Jerry Mohme Photography

Ford and Gatsby were one of 21 entries to contest the first-round course designed by Danny Foster, and they were one of eight to advance to the jump-off.

“I got lucky that I drew 19 in the order, so I was the last one to go in the jump off,” said Ford, who operates her own business, Ford Farms. “It was a really, really good course. It was technical, and the jumps were big enough. It was kind of an interesting jump-off, because you had the ability to go quick and leave some strides out in two areas. There were also three inside turns, and you had to do all three inside turns to win.”

Daisy Ford and Gatsby were presented as the winners of the $25,000 Great Southwest Grand Prix. Photo by Jerry Mohme Photography

Ford left out strides in both places to fly across the finish in 37.660 seconds, almost exactly two seconds faster than second-place finisher Alwaleed Alrashid who stopped the clock in 39.653 seconds riding RSH Grand Dessert, owned by Royal Sport Horses. Third place with a time of 40.303 seconds went to Lindsay Bedoya riding Daniel Bedoya’s Quattro.

“I was a little panicked because, in the rollback to the second to last jump in the jump-off, he slipped behind turning in the inside turn,” said Ford. I ended up having to slow down for a second to regain stability, so I was a little bit worried about the time there, but he’s just so fast across the ground!” 

For full results of the $25,000 Great Southwest Grand Prix, click here.

Morgan Van Nortwick and MTM Post Script Secure Victory in USHJA International Hunter Derby

Morgan Van Nortwick rode MTM Post Script to victory in the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby held on Friday, November 18, during the Great Southwest Final Chase in Katy, TX.

A field of 18 horses contested the first round of the week’s highlight hunter class, and at the opening round’s conclusion, Van Nortwick and MTM Post Script sat in third place with scores 85.5 and 90 for a 172.5 first-round total score. Holding the lead with a score of 178 was Jef Lauwers on Hallpass, and Lauwers also sat in second place with a score of 175 aboard Reba.

With the top 12 entries returning in reverse order of their standings for the handy phase, Nortwick and MTM Post Script’s second-round score of 200 instantly shot them to the top of the leaderboard with a 375.5 overall total. A handy round score of 196 would give Lauwers and Hallpass, owned by Sue Copeland, a 374 total for a close second place. Lauwers and Reba, owned by Shadyside Farm, finished in third with a score of 362.

Morgan Van Nortwick and MTM Post Script, joined in their winning presentation by the Great Southwest Equestrian Center’s Wendy Harrison. Photo by Jerry Mohme Photography

Van Nortwick has spent the past few years working for Will Roberts at Pine Hollow Farm in New Caney, TX, and Roberts was highly complimentary of Van Nortwick and MTM Post Script’s performance and partnership.

“Morgan works really, really hard, and I love working with her,” said Roberts. “I do greatly appreciate that. She’s a pleasure to be around, and the horses love her.”

MTM Post Script came into the barn in August as a sales horse, and Van Nortwick and the 10-year-old Warmblood gelding, owned by Cecilia Halsey, have meshed well in the few months since then.

“Much like almost every horse, he loves Morgan,” said Roberts. “Horses love her. They go out of their way to try hard and be good sports for her. He went really exactly the way that we wanted him to in both rounds.”

Roberts continued, “We kind of geared him toward this class. So, we showed him lightly the past couple weeks and then chose not to show him during the week this week just to target the derby, and when it works out like that, everybody’s happy!”

For full results of the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, click here.

Brandon Howard and HF Costa Rica Coast to $10,000 Karinda K. Welcome Stake Win

Katy, TX – While an inside turn generally proves advantageous in a jump-off, this time, it was going around a fence that Brandon Howard credits with helping HF Costa Rica earn the win in the $10,000 Karinda K. Welcome Stake on Thursday, November 17 at the Great Southwest Final Chase.

“I decided to instead go around the jump,” explained Howard, who was one of nine entries from the 16-horse starting field to advance to the jump-off. “Watching everyone that went inside, they had to slow down so much, and it put them on such an angle to [the next fence] that they had to have a lot of scope to clear it to get down to the six-stride line. I opted to go around instead, which put me on a faster stride into that six-stride line down the middle. I ended up landing from the back of that line quicker than everyone else, and then went on the inside track.”

Brandon Howard and HF Costa Rica. Photo by Jerry Mohme Photography

Howard and HF Costa Rica crossed the finish in 32.175 seconds, which would hold up for the win. Finishing in second place with a close time of 32.766 seconds were Avery Erickson and her own MTM Checco. Third place went to Joshua Tabor who finished in 33.676 seconds riding Calispera, owned by the Carat Group LLC.

“[Costa Rica’s] definitely got a lot of blood and a lot of heart,” said Howard of the 14-year-old Hanoverian mare, owned by Homeward Farms. “I don’t think I could put a jump in front of her that she doesn’t think she could jump, but she doesn’t have a lot of scope. She really just finds scope in her heart. I have to carry the pace to help her out with that.”

Howard bought HF Costa Rica in Europe when the mare was seven and has progressed her up the ranks to the 1.40-1.45m level since then.

Brandon Howard and HF Costa Rica. Photo by Jerry Mohme Photography

“Originally, I got her as just a 1.30m horse to import and sell,” explained Howard. “Every time I put the jumps up, she kind of just jumped better and better. I leased her out for about a year and a half; I just got her back earlier this year.”

Also earning a headline jumper win during the Great Southwest Final Chase were Joshua Tabor and Concanto, owned by the Carat Group LLC. The pair topped a 19-horse field on their way to the win in the $5,000 1.25m Hygain Mini Prix on Friday, November 18. 

For full results of both classes, click here

Daisy Ford and Gatsby are Great in $25,000 Olde Oaks Farm Grand Prix

Katy, TX – In their first grand prix together in a year and a half, Daisy Ford and Gatsby captured victory in the $25,000 Olde Oaks Farm Grand Prix, held on Saturday, November 12, during the Great Southwest Autumn Classic in Katy, TX.

Ford and her partner of eight years were one of 10 entries to advance to the jump-off, designed by Canada’s Danny Foster. From there, speed was very much the name of game, with all 10 entries ultimately producing double-clear efforts.

As the seventh pair to return, Ford and Gatsby flew over the first vertical before slicing over an oxer in the middle of the ring and galloping down to another vertical at the opposite end of the ring.

“I was like, ‘If I can leave jump one up, I’m good,’” said Ford, 23. “He’s got such an enormous stride, and the oxers I don’t have to worry about. I only have to worry about the verticals because he jumps a little flat sometimes. I jumped fence one, looked at jump two, saw the flyer, jumped jump two, and then three came up perfectly. At that point, I knew as long as I kept on the track, he would be fine. I didn’t expect to take as much time off, but he was fantastic!”

When Ford entered the ring, no one had yet broken the 40-second mark, but she and Gatsby made shaving nearly three seconds off of that time look easy, stopping the clock in 37.024 seconds for the win.

Natalee Haggan and MTM Hyperion Z, owned by MTM Farm, were the very next duo in the ring, and they tripped the timers in 39.100 seconds to take second place. Rounding out the top three with a time of 40.009 seconds were Alwaleed Alrashid and RSH Grand-Dessert, owned by Royal Sport Horses.

While Ford has been partnered with Gatsby for quite some time, he spent a year out on lease before returning to Ford in May of this year.

“I got him back in the beginning of May, and he’s older; he’s 16, so we gave him some time off,” explained Ford of the Oldenburg gelding that now resides in her backyard as she grows her business, Ford Farms. “This is my first grand prix back in a year and a half for myself and eight months for him. We were going back and forth on even if we should do it tonight. I got on, and he felt right. So, I was like, ‘Let’s go for it!’ I didn’t expect to jump clean, and he jumped clean. So, then I was like, ‘Well, I guess I have to go for it in the jump-off!’”

Ford continued, “It was a little technical, especially since I haven’t jumped at this height in a year and a half. I’ve had a young horse for the last year and a half, so I’ve been working on that. I was a little nervous coming in. I wanted to really be careful through the combinations. After jump three or four, I thought, ‘Alright, we’re good. He’s on.’ I got lucky.”

For full results of the $25,000 Olde Oaks Farm Grand Prix, click here.

Happy Comly and Derby CSH Dash to Victory in $10,000 Antarès Welcome Stake at Great Southwest Autumn Classic

Katy, TX – Happy Comly and Derby CSH dashed to an impressive victory in the $10,000 Antarès Welcome Stake on Thursday, November 10, at the Great Southwest Autumn Classic in Katy, TX.

Comly and the 9-year-old Warmblood gelding, owned by Comly Sport Horses, were one of 20 entries to take on the first-round track designed by Danny Foster and one of nine combinations to advance to the jump-off.

When the pair set off on the short course, the time to beat had been set at 48.528 seconds by the first duo to jump-off, Hannah Colligan and her own Jazelly VDL. Comly and Derby CSH made besting that time look easy, blazing across the finish in a lightning-fast 36.360 seconds. That time would prove untouchable, with no one else coming within two and a half seconds of Comly’s pace. Second place with a time of 39.037 seconds went to Frank Owens and Just Jeremy ES, owned by DS Holdings LLC. Rounding out the top three was Daniel Bedoya, who rode Monica Hank’s Jumpstar Uno to a jump-off time of 39.522 seconds.

“We definitely made the time in the first three fences,” explained Comly, who has had the ride on Derby CSH for the past two years. “After that, I could pull on the reins a little bit and steady him because the first three jumps, we already had the time. He was so fast.”

Comly continued, “We call him the red dragon; he’s a fireball. When he’s good, he’s unbeatable. It’s like he shot out of a cannon. He’s crazy wild. He doesn’t really like to keep a lead, so he’s kind of cantering all over the place, but as soon as you point him at a fence, he’s going over. He wants to go clean, so I really don’t care what he does between the fences!”

For full results of the $10,000 Antarès Welcome Stake, click here.

After topping the Welcome Stake on Thursday, Comly returned to the main indoor at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center on Friday to make it two in a row. This time, she claimed victory in the $5,000 Hygain Mini Prix aboard Kyra van de Doornhaag, owned by Foxglove LLC. Finishing in second place in the Friday featured class were Lindsay Buck on Whiskey Neat, and Hannah Colligan and Silhouette CF rounded out the top three.

“I love the people [here at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center],” concluded Comly. “Amy [Uniss-Coleman] takes care of us every time we come out here. We love it. Danny Foster’s a great course designer. He loves it when we go really fast and have a really game jump-off. For the people in Texas, it’s fun coming back home, after being gone all summer, and seeing everybody again.”