by Emily Randolph • photos: McCool Photography
Trent McGee and Boucherom led the victory gallop at Blenheim EquiSports for the third time in six months on Saturday, September 17, this time after topping the $25,000 Blenheim Fall Tournament Grand Prix, presented by JB Horse Standards.
The winning duo were one of four entries from the 17-horse starting field to advance to jump off over the Marina Azevedo-designed short course. When McGee entered the Oaks International Grand Prix Field as the second to return, the time to beat had been set at 44.332 seconds by Kate Hovland and Cruz, but McGee and Boucherom made short work of that time. They shaved off nearly three seconds to stop the clock in 41.666 seconds, which would go untouched by the remaining two competitors.
With McGee capturing the victory, Hovland and her own Cruz finished in second, and third place with four faults in a time of 41.346 seconds went to Dakoda Mower and Icebreaker, owned by Rogue 3.
“[Boucherom] is absolutely amazing to work with, and it’s just an honor to ride such a quality mare with so much heart!” said McGee, of the 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood that he has had for three years – and that he rode to his first grand prix win this April. “I started in the 1.20m with her. She’s always had a lot of spirit, but this year, she’s become so consistent. We’ve really focused on developing a partnership, and she’s just got the most heart I’ve ever seen in a horse.”
McGee currently works as an assistant trainer for Archie Cox, after initially beginning to work for Cox at his Brookway Stables as a working student.
“Archie’s completely changed my career; he started me up as a young professional,” said McGee. “The team at Brookway Stables has been so supportive of my career and developing me as a rider in any ring. The work that we’ve done with Boucherom has been awesome. To find this consistency with her and to have such support from such a great team, it’s truly an honor to work with Archie and everyone there.”
With Saturday’s win under his belt, McGee now has his sights set on a bigger win: in next Saturday’s $50,000 1.50m Grand Prix.
“Jumping out here has been incredible; the courses this week were great,” said McGee. “Next week, we’re going to go for it again. We’re going to run it back next week!”
For the win, McGee was presented with a Blenheim EquiSports coolerette, a $50 Top Line Design Ribbon Wreaths gift certificate, a Mr. Shady face covering and an $80 gift certificate from Riderzon. His name will also now be engraved on the South Pacific Trophy.
Prior to the start of the class, another special award was presented: the ShowAssist Horse Show Hero Award.
The award aims to shine light on some of the hardest-working people at the horse show. Throughout the week, riders, trainers and owners nominated grooms, stall cleaners, bodyworkers, braiders, body clippers and other support staff, recognizing their hard work and dedication help to make the show experience a success. The winner was then selected at random from more than 100 nominations to receive a $500 cash prize from ShowAssist.
Saturday’s award and cash prize went to Juan Contreras, groom from the Capistrano Riding Club.
“He is an extremely important part of our barn family,” said Jenny Meyers of Capistrano Riding Club. “We are so grateful for the hard work he puts into caring for our horses. He is loved by all – riders, horses, cats and dogs!“
Also presented with winning awards this week were Joie Gatlin and Fiona, winners of the $10,000 Markel Insurance 1.35m Speed Stake held on Thursday, September 15.
After also picking up the win in the $2,000 1.20m Mary’s Tack & Feed Open Jumper Classic on Wednesday, the speedy pair returned to top 22 entries for the Markel victory. For the top call, they received an $80 Riderzon gift certificate and Fiona’s owner, Lolly McLellan received a Blenheim EquiSports tack room pillow.
The class marked the 10th leg of the 11-part Markel Insurance Jumper Series, with the season culminating next week during the Blenheim International Jumping Festival, at which time rider bonuses will be awarded to the Leading Lady and Leading Gentleman of the series.