Stewart Stars In The $7,500 WCHR Professional Finals
October 8, 2010
For Immediate Release:
By Tricia Booker
Upper Marlboro, MD —Oct. 8, 2010 – Scott Stewart has been a fixture in the Capital Challenge Horse Show’s WCHR Professional Finals since the mid-1990s. And with three previous wins under his belt, Stewart is always a betting favorite.
But it had been seven years since the New Jersey-based professional had claimed the class, which determines the WCHR Professional National Champion.
So when he stood fifth following the first two rounds after having a rail on his first mount, Fashion Farm’s Blessed, he didn’t hold out much hope.
“I was really relaxed because I didn’t think I had chance,” he said laughing. “It’s actually the best time I’ve had doing the class.”
But Stewart slowly crept up the standings, and in the fourth and final round where the riders negotiated a handy course, Stewart didn’t hold back.
“Well, I thought I was pretty far behind, and I really had to go for it,” he said. “I probably had the best draw of the evening for the handy portion—because I think he’s an equitation horse—so I could cut the turns and take a chance and go for it.”
His boldness was rewarded, as he topped a star-studded field in one of the closest finishes in the show’s featured class, where the top six contenders in the WCHR Professional National standings face-off to determine the national champion. In the unique format, the riders bring a mount of their own and trade horses each trip according to a predetermined list, with no chance to school between rounds.
Stewart finished with 357.32 points, followed by John French (352.98), Kelley Farmer (350.65), Hunt Tosh (339.65), Sandy Ferrell (330.49) and Tracy Fenney (319.99).
The fourth and final handy round shook up the final standings as the inside turns and the trot fence resulted in mistakes and consternation. Stewart’s scores of 93, 92 and 96 from the three pairs of judges—Mindy Minetto, Steve Wall, Rob Bielefeld, Randy Mullins, Phil DeVita and Bob Crandall—propelled him to the top aboard Oscany Inc.’s 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood, Welcome.
Marigot Bay Farm’s Stars Go Blue, an 11-year-old Selle Francais gelding, earned the Far West Perpetual Trophy awarded to the high-score horse. Ferrell chose him as her mount for the class.
“He’s 100 percent dependable,” she said. “His job as a first junior hunter is exactly what he does, and he came in here and was fantastic for all of us.”
French, the reserve national champion, earned the class high-score award for his performance aboard Stars Go Blue in the third round, where he earned an average of 94.33 points from the judging panel.
With this victory, Stewart, Flemington, NJ, became the first four-time winner of the class and has his name engraved once again on the All The Way Perpetual Trophy. “It’s really an honor to be included in this great group of riders,” he said. “So it’s nice to stay at that level and to keep up and try to put your best game on.”
In other awards tonight, Meredith Darst, Lebanon, OH, earned the WCHR Charles Johnson Trophy for the high-score Midwest rider, and Shelby Thomas and Addisyn Furland earned the USHJA Junior Hunter Challenge awards.
In posthumous recognition, farrier Jack Miller earned the WCHR David Peterson Perpetual Trophy, donated by Kavar Kerr and Jim Anderson, for a person who exemplifies dedication and commitment to the care and well being of the horse. The late Charlie Weaver will have his name engraved on the WCHR Old Springhouse Perpetual Trophy for the WCHR Lifetime Achievement Award.
Illinois-based trainer Lynn Jayne received the WCHR Winter’s Run Sportsmanship Award awarded by a WCHR membership vote to the person who best exemplifies the ideals of sportsmanship.
Judge Thom Brede, Stamping Ground, KY, received the Daniel P. Lenehan Perpetual Trophy for the person who exemplifies dedication and a lifetime commitment to judging show hunters.
Earlier in the day, Lindsey Evans-Thomas capped off an incredible show with the top call in the $2,500 WCHR Adult Amateur Challenge, sponsored by Foxstone Stables.
Evans-Thomas, 48, Annapolis, MD, piloted Krista and Alexa Weisman’s Music Street to the best scores in both rounds of the Challenge (177.33) for a seven-point victory over second-placed Dawn Fogel aboard Patron (170.49) and Hillary Jean riding Limoges (169.49).
After earning the adult amateur, 36-50, the grand adult amateur championship and the EMO Trip of the Show awards the previous day, Evans-Thomas considered the WCHR Adult Amateur Challenge as the icing on the cake.
“After my day yesterday, I just went in the ring to have fun,” she said. “I took my two kids [Ian, 9, and Evan, 11] out of school today, and I have amazing support here. I thought just whatever happened today, happened.”
Evans-Thomas showed Music Street for the first time at the Middleburg Classic Horse Show in Virginia two weeks prior to the Capital Challenge, where the pair earned the reserve championship and Evans-Thomas secured her spot in the Challenge.
“After I showed him at Middleburg, the Weismans offered me the ride here,” she said. “They’re a very lovely family and supportive of everybody’s riding, including their two daughters.”
With a family and a full-time job producing TV commercials, Evans-Thomas has limited time to show and doesn’t own a horse. So the WCHR program and the WCHR Adult Amateur Challenge class at the Capital Challenge are her primary goals. After two second-placed finishes in the Challenge in previous years, Evans-Thomas was thrilled to claim the title.
“It’s a great class, and I encourage everyone to strive for it during the year,” she said. “It’s super fun to win, but it’s also just great to be in this company at this level of competition. It’s very rewarding to even be recognized.”
Amy Brubaker, who now resides in India, returned to the Capital Challenge to collect the WCHR Adult Amateur National title. The two-time defending WCHR Adult Amateur Challenge winner guided Jamie Donovan’s EL Raymond to fifth place in the Challenge. Laura Lee Montross earned the reserve national championship after earning an eighth-placed ribbon to
day in the Challenge aboard Nairobi Nights.
Action continues at the Capital Challenge Horse Show this weekend with the $5,000 WCHR Handy Hunter Challenge (Oct. 9) and the $2,500 WCHR Pony and Junior Challenges (Oct. 10).
Professional, Junior and Amateur Riders are invited to compete at the Capital Challenge Horse Show by qualifying through the WCHR National program throughout the year. A rider's top four WCHR shows count toward awards in these divisions: Professional and Emerging Professional, Junior, Amateur Owner (3'6" and 3'3"), Adult Amateur and Pony. Riders are then invited to contest WCHR Challenge Classes, and the WCHR presents its national awards for 16 divisions at the Capital Challenge, and regional awards are also decided.
For full results please visit www.capitalchallenge.org.
*Photo Information: Scott Stewart aboard Oscany Inc.’s Welcome. L-R: Linda Luster, Scott Stewart, Keeley Gogul & Jennifer Glass. Photo by: Tricia Booker 2010. Photo may only be used with this press release.
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