OCALA, Fla.--Aaron Vale won three classes in three days at three different venues, including two $100,000 Grand Prix, one at the World Equestrian Center in an FEI sanctioned event, and one at HITS.
Vale's first win was in the CSI4*$55,000 Grand Prix Qualifier 1.55m speed class on I.Adermie R at Live Oak International on March 17.
Vale won in a 14 horse jump-off, clean in 64.20, over a course set by Olaf Petersen.
“It was a great win for me here at Live Oak International," said Vale. "I’ve had I.Adermie R for a year and a half and this is her third win in a row. She’s a winning machine. It is just a beautiful place here and the footing was just perfect. It felt great out there. I’m really looking forward to competing out there tomorrow and Sunday.”
Will Simpson on Chacco P finished second in 65.51 seconds, and Ireland’s Daniel Coyle on Gisborne VDL was third in 67.01 seconds.
Simpson won the CSI4* $5,000 Welcome 1.40m Power & Speed on Whoop de Doo, with a time of 27.13 seconds.
“I’ve been looking forward to Live Oak International for quite a while and today Whoop de Doo was in rare form," said Simpson. "I enjoyed every stride of it out there today. Whoop de Doo is a fighter, and she wants to go clear. It’s fun to take her up against the clock as she’s going to always give her best effort. She is bred to do this, and I love riding her.”
Finishing a close second place with a time of 27.46 was McLain Ward on First Lady, and Coco Fath on Harley D was third in 28.67.
VALE'S second win was in the $100,000 Grand Prix at the World Equestrian Center on Saturday evening, March 18, over a field of 38 from 13 countries.
This was Vale's second consecutive victory at WEC on Prescott, this one over a course set by FEI Level IV designer Bernardo Costa Cabral of Portugal.
“It was a nice course," said Vale. "Bernardo has been quite difficult. He’s designing for the World Cup Finals coming up in about a month, so not only are the people that are going to Omaha practicing for it, he is too. The bending lines were a bit tricky. You had to create the shape and the right direction to catch the fences just right. Overall, it was a great course and had a perfect number for the jump-off.”
Vale was clean in 36.343, Coyle on Ivory TCS was second in 36.949 seconds, and Lisa Goldman-Smolen on Sovereign was the only other clean round in the jump-off to finish third in 38.528 seconds. to
“Daniel is a very fast rider and even though he decided to do eight up that last line, it was going to be tough to beat because he was really quick after,” said Vale. “From one to two, I wanted to put enough shape in the seven, that I was diving right. I took one less to the combination. Everyone did eight back to the Lugano and I had already done the seven by accident in the first round, so I knew he could do it. That ended up feeling so fast, I was a little conservative to the vertical. To the last I drifted out so I could come back in."
For his third victory, Vale rode Obi Wan to win the $100,000 Grand Prix at HITS Ocala on Sunday, March 19.
This was Vale's third major victory of the season at HITS on Obi Wan,
From a field of 33, 11 qualified for the jump-off,, with eight of them clean again.
Vale was clean in 35.432, last week’s winners, Sharn Wordley on Valentine Car, was second in 36.379 and Katherine Anne Brewer on Casido 2 placed third in 37.621.
“It's great,” said Vale after his win. “Obi Wan loves the footing here and the jumps, and everything about this arena. He's had a wonderful circuit. This is his third win here, and he's just relishing jumping at HITS this winter.”
“Sharn put in a really quick round on Valentine and I wasn't sure how I would catch him,” said Vale. “My horse spends a little more time in the air and I thought Sharn had done the fewest strides possible, but I think I ended up shaving the turn back to number two and I was maybe faster leaving a stride or two out on the way to the last combination. I was able to get enough done to to edge him out.”
“Obi Wan's a bit of a nervous horse, but what makes that worthwhile is the fact that he doesn't want to touch the fences,” he said. “It's worth working through the difficult parts of his training because he always wants to try and jump higher than the jump.”
Vale is now looking ahead to next week’s $300,000 Grand Prix.
“Hopefully, Obi Wan’s got a little more in the tank for next week, and I'll have another horse or two here with him as well,” he said. “So hopefully we can have some good luck during the final week of the circuit.”