Mark Jungherr of Amesbury, MA, riding Conte Couleur was victorious in the $30,000 Manchester & The Mountains Grand Prix on Saturday, August 6, during week five of the Vermont Summer Festival. The Vermont Summer Festival runs for six consecutive weeks from July 5 through August 14, 2016, at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.
Jungherr and his winning mount Conte Couleur, owned by Ronald Francoeur, were the only pair to leave all the rails in place over the track set by course designer Manuel Esparza of Mexico. They did it at the expense of one time fault for exceeding the 84-second time allowed, eliminating the need for a jump-off.
Seven other competitors had a single rail down for four faults, with time determining the final placings. The fastest four-fault round was posted by Michael Hughes, 20, of Morristown, NJ, who stopped the clock in 78.87 seconds riding Virginia W Z, a ten-year-old Zangersheide mare owned by North Run of Warren, VT.
Catherine Tyree, 22, of Chicago, IL, and Don't Go, the winners of Thursday’s $10,000 Overland Open Welcome Stake, placed third in 80.46 seconds while Addison Gierkink of Harpswell, ME, placed fourth with a time of 80.80 riding S & L Slingback for owner Kadley Holdings, LLC. For her performance, the 20-year-old was honored with the Kastel Denmark Ladies Style of Riding Award. Ireland’s Cormac Hanley, 19, rounded out the top five riding Captain Caruso to a four-fault finish in a time of 82.24 seconds.
While the rest of the top five finishers were at least 40 years his junior, Jungherr, 66, used his experience as a rider, trainer, and coach to best Esparza's track.
“It wasn't huge, but the jumps came up fast and the time was careful,” said Jungherr. “You had to do a lot of riding, and it was easy to rub a rail down. At the end, I knew I was bordering on the time and I took a lot of time to regroup after the pinball effect of the diagonal line.”
With 11 riders still to follow, Jungherr expected to be bumped from the lead by a clear round but, in the end, one time fault held up for the win.
“On any other day that would have been third or fourth, but today it worked out in our favor,” said Jungherr, who fell as the result of a broken stirrup leather during the grand prix one week earlier. “I knew that round would get us a good placing for sure, but there were a lot of good horses that got unlucky and eight of them had four faults. That ended up working to our advantage.
“He is a very honest horse,” continued Jungherr of Conte Couleur, an 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Contendro II x Coriano). “We planned our summer around coming to Vermont and moving him into the grand prix. The jumps aren't super big, but the courses and prize money are good and it was the perfect show to get him going.”
Conte Couleur was imported from Germany in April and made his competition debut with Jungherr in Saratoga Springs, NY, a month later. Jungherr’s goal is to continue campaigning the gelding throughout the summer and aim for grand prix competition during the 2017 winter season in Ocala, FL.
For the win, Jungherr was presented with a cooler from Mona's Monograms and an equestrian-themed belt from Oughton Limited. His groom, Jaime Powicki, was honored with the weekly Grand Prix Groom Award in recognition of her hard work. Powicki was presented with a monogrammed jacket and coolerette from sponsor Glenn Geary of Horsewatch.
Grand prix competition at the Vermont Summer Festival wraps up on Saturday, August 13 with the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix beginning at 1 p.m. The 2016 Vermont Summer Festival concludes on Sunday, August 14.
For over 20 years, the Vermont Summer Festival has attracted exhibitors and their families to the Manchester region in southern Vermont for great competition in an ideal summer setting. Outside the show ring, exhibitors enjoy the charm of Vermont's shopping, dining, and outdoor activities.
Competition at the 2016 Vermont Summer Festival runs weekly from Wednesday through Sunday, beginning each day at 8 a.m. Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children from Wednesday through Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $9 for adults and $5 for children with 100% of all gate proceeds benefiting the Manchester Community Library, Dorset Equine Rescue, and Meals on Wheels.
Please e-mail or visit www.vt-summerfestival.com for more information about the Vermont Summer Festival.
$30,000 Manchester & The Mountains Grand Prix – August 6, 2016
Rider Hometown Horse Faults Time
1. Mark Jungherr Amesbury, MA Conte Couleur 1 84.56
2. Michael Hughes Morristown, NJ Virginia W Z 4 78.87
3. Catherine Tyree Chicago, IL Don't Go 4 80.46
4. Addison Gierkink Harpswell, ME S & L Slingback 4 80.80
5. Cormac Hanley Ireland Captain Caruso 4 82.24
6. Eliza Month Scarsdale, NY Calumpi 4 82.49
7. Michael Hughes Morristown, NJ Sans Soucis Z 4 83.02
8. Marylisa Leffler Brookeville, MD Bling Bling 4 83.20
9. Chelsea Moss Medford, NJ Calida 8 81.05
10. Catherine Tyree Chicago, IL Corleone 8 83.69
11. Thaisa Erwin Middleburg, VA Matilda 9 84.12
12. Whitney Lyon Marengo, IL Constara 12 78.64