The familiar combination of DFG Stable’s Daniel Geitner and Ann Ritter’s Jumbo Jet were the only rider/horse combination to go double clear, and in doing so captured the Progressive Show Jumping Aiken Winter Classic Week 1 $5,000 Weclome Stake at Highfields Event Center. The 1.25 meter course was designed by J.P. Godard, and the first round track featured 10 obstacles and 12 jumping efforts. Only three rider/horse combinations would go fault free in the first round, J.F. Gagne and Paddington, who stopped the timer in 78.032; Jason Berry and Harlem would complete the course in 78.285, and Geitner and Jumbo Jet went clear in 73.527.
The bay gelding had taken a respite, having last shown in September, but was more than ready for Thursday’s class.
“He needed a break, he had worked pretty hard, was fresh and feeling good,” said Geitner. “It was easy for him. It was a nice first round track.”
Geitner had the seventh obstacle, a vertical down on his his other ride in the first round, Booth Parker’s Colline Z, but the speedy and careful Jumbo Jet was more than up to the challenge.
The horseman was aware that no other rider/horse combination in the class had gone double clear heading into the short track. The jump-off course featured six obstacles and seven jumping efforts.
“I was going to let him buzz around the jump-off course, just in case the last horse jumped clean, and I needed to be fast,” said Geitner.
Jumbo Jet and Colline Z will both return for Sunday’s Mini Prix.
The Aiken Classic Week 1 continues today.