Friday, May. 24, 2024

Vale Victorious At Upperville

Walking into the jump-off for the $100,000 Upperville Jumper Classic, Aaron Vale knew he had a challenge. Joe Fargis’s blazing fast double-clear round aboard Kimber looked unbeatable. 

But Vale didn’t travel from Ocala, Fla., to simply place.

Even though their jump-off began with a hesitation, as Paparazzi balked at the first oxer, the pair cleared the fence and used the remaining eight fences to make up for lost seconds.

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Walking into the jump-off for the $100,000 Upperville Jumper Classic, Aaron Vale knew he had a challenge. Joe Fargis’s blazing fast double-clear round aboard Kimber looked unbeatable. 

But Vale didn’t travel from Ocala, Fla., to simply place.

Even though their jump-off began with a hesitation, as Paparazzi balked at the first oxer, the pair cleared the fence and used the remaining eight fences to make up for lost seconds.

“I knew [fence 1] was going to cost me a great amount of time,” Vale said. “We had a long run to the last two fences, and I just ran as fast as I could; I didn’t have anything to lose.”

Vale’s exceptional round relegated Fargis and Kimber to second, today, June 13, in Upperville, Va. Ragan Roberts, of Little Rock, Ark., and Quipit L.F. went double clear to claim $13,000 for third place.

The original field of 15 riders was slimmed to six for the second round. Several tight turns started the jump-off before opening to a long gallop to the last two fences, encouraging riders to take them at top speed.

“I didn’t run a lot of steeplechase races, but I’ve run a few.” Vale, 41, said. “It was the same feeling as that, for those last two jumps. I was pressing as fast as he could go. The distances came up where I could ride him hard and the balance was there.”

Having only teamed up earlier this year, Vale and the German-bred Paparazzi 10 are still getting a feel of working together. They have competed at a few smaller grand prix, but this was their first big money class.

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“I’m still trying to figure him out,” Vale says. “He has a lot of jump. Naturally he is pretty careful.”

With the Upperville pageantry in full splendor around the grass ring, Vale had to watch the 13-year-old gelding’s natural spookiness.

“He has a little mileage on his legs,” Vale said. “So my trick is balancing enough showing for his spookiness but having enough leg for the big classes.”

Even though their partnership is still new, Paparazzi 10’s talent has Vale aiming for the upcoming $1,000,000 HITS Grand Prix, in Saugerties, N.Y.

For results go to Horse Shows Online

Visit our Upperville Colt And Horse Show page for more Upperville coverage, including an audio slideshow from the show.

 

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