Angel Karolyi and Hollow Creek Investments’ Boccaccio started 2012 off on the right note as the rider/horse combination won the Wellington Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC’s $25,000 New Year’s Grand Prix, and their success continued Thursday afternoon as they won the Equus Events Aiken Fall Festival Week no. 1 welcome stake at Highfields Event Center.

The 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding bred by Andre Van Duyse finished 9th while ridden by Karolyi in the $75,000 FEI Nations Cup this winter.

Karolyi and the gelding, who is by the stallion Up Chiqui and out of the broodmare Quincy, would win the class of 12 entries by the slimmest of margins as the horse/rider combination defeated Daniel Geitner/Jumbo Jet in the jump-off by .097 seconds.

The 1.3 meter first round course designed by Joe Carnicom featured 11 obstacles and 14 jumping efforts including three combinations. Several obstacles including the no. 1 (oxer) and 10 and 11 (both verticals) posed problems as several rider/horse combos had the misfortune of having an unlucky rail down.

A total of eight rider/horse combinations went fault free to qualify for the short course track, featuring seven obstacles and one combination. There would be five double clear rounds.

DFG Stable’s Daniel Geitner and Ernie Irvan’s Johnny Dublin were the first rider/horse combination to go double clear, qualifying for the short course with the first round’s fastest time as they turned in an effort of 78.223. They would stop the timer in the jump-off with a time of 41.100. It would be the first of Geitner’s 3 horses in the class as he would also qualify Ann Ritter’s Jumbo Jet for the jump-off. The first rider to break 40 seconds in the jump-off was Karolyi and Hollow Creek Investment’s Carboni as they completed the course in 39.472.

The two Aiken-based riders would set the stage for later in the class as Geitner and Karolyi would each return with another horse who would qualify for the short course track. Geitner and Jumbo Jet would turn in an outstanding effort as they stopped the timer at 37.890. However, it would be Karolyi with Boccaccio, and the rider/horse combination who finished 5th in the Aiken Spring Classic Finale’s $25,000 Carolina Real Estate Company Grand Prix, completed the course .097 seconds faster, with a final time of 37.793.

“I thought Carboni and Boccaccio jumped really well,” said Karolyi. “Carboni is a new ride for me. He jumped double clear, and went really well. Daniel went after me with Jumbo Jet, he beat my time on Carboni. He went really fast, and that’s a veteran horse and experienced horse. In the jump-off I watched Daniel go, and saw what he did. He did five strides to the last jump. He really bowed out from 10 to 11 which were the two last jumps, to fit in the fifth stride because he was coming so fast. I decided to leave the one less stride out. My horse isn’t as fast across the ground as Jumbo Jet.”

Another Aiken-based rider J.F. Gagne went double clear with The Bus, and had the second fastest time in the first round, 79.844. He would go fault free in jump-off with a final time of 45.057.