Victoria Colvin and Tiffany Morrissey Double the Win in $10,000 NetJets USHJA National Hunter Derby Hunt-N-Go

February 23. 2024

Hunter riders took to the grass derby field at Equestrian Village to compete in Friday’s $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by NetJets, held in a hunt-n-go format. The day showcased professional, junior and amateur riders during the Lugano Diamonds-sponsored Week 7 at Wellington International’s Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).

The hunt-n-go format consolidates two rounds into one with both a classic and a handy element. Designed by Tom Carlson (USA), the course consisted of 13 obstacles utilizing the expansive derby field to showcase classic hunter style. 

Victoria Colvin & Graphyx, Section A winners of the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby Hunt-N-Go , presented by NetJets. Photo © Sportfot
Tiffany Morrissey & Copernicus K, Section B winners of the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby Hunt-N-Go, presented by NetJets. Photo © Sportfot

Receiving the highest scores overall over both rounds, Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, FL, and Graphyx, owned by Avery Mallard took the win in Section A after the field was divided in a California split. The pair received double scores of 91 for each phase, resulting in a total score of 182. 

“These classes are always fun. I had three horses out here and they were all well behaved,” said Colvin. “This week's been very light obviously after [WCHR] hunter week, so it's kind of been a blast; a little bit of a vacation on the field.

“He [Graphyx] shows with his owner who’s a junior and I’ve done him in some 3’3” Pre-Green classes,” she continued of the eight-year-old gelding. “He hadn't done 3’6” before this, so this was his big class of the week.”

Victoria Colvin & Graphyx are presented as Section A winners of the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby Hunt-N-Go, presented by NetJets, by Melissa Dombro and Jenna Swickard, Strategic Partnerships. Photo © Sportfot

The Section B blue ribbon went to Tiffany Morrissey of Wellington, FL, and Copernicus K, owned by Dr. Kathryn Withers. The pair collected scores of 91.50 for the classic portion and 90.25 for the handy portion, totaling at 181.75. 

“Copernicus K is my classic derby horse,” said Morrissey of the 14-year-old gelding. “He’s super brave. I know I’ll be good going into any arena. We try to save him for classes like this on the grass because one of his biggest assets is his ability to shine in these big arenas.”

Tiffany Morrissey & Copernicus K are presented as Section B winners of the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby Hunt-N-Go, presented by NetJets, by Melissa Dombro and Jenna Swickard, Strategic Partnerships. Photo © Sportfot

In Section A, second place went to Brady Mitchell of Wellington FL, and Cornet’s Edition, owned by Rein Family LLC, with scores of 89.75 and 92 for a total of 181.75. Third went to Merry Harding of Ridge, NY, on Rare Cask, owned by Madaket Lane LLC. They took the yellow ribbon with scores of 92 and 88.75 for a total of 180.75. 

The Section B red ribbon went to the Section A winner, Victoria Colvin, this time atop I C France, owned by Martin Schlaeppi, with scores of 93 and 88.5 for a total of 181.5. Closing out the section was Laura Bowery of Bridgehampton, NY, and Capote, owned by Denise Landman. They scored an 87.25 and a 93 for a total of 180.25. 

A Good Day for Goodman and Brett Lieb in $10,000 NetJets Junior/ Amateur USHJA National Hunter Derby Hunt-N-Go

Hunter action continued the Equestrian Village derby field for another $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by NetJets, this time for junior and amateur riders. Forty-four riders took to the field to conquer the same hunt-n-go course as the open riders. 

Brett Lieb & Goodman, winners of the $10,000 Junior/Amateur USHJA National Hunter Derby Hunt-N-Go, presented by NetJets. Photo © Sportfot

It was Brett Lieb and Goodman who took home the top prize. The pair brought home a classic score of 87 and a handy score of 88 for a total score of 175. The pair went tenth in the order and held the score to beat throughout the rest of the class. 

“Goodman is special to all of us. He’s particularly special because he can only see out of one eye, due to a uveitis condition, but he still jumps his heart out,” said Lieb of the 17-year-old gelding. “He always makes me work extra hard to get him going but once he’s out in the ring, you don’t have to worry about the jumps in front of you, he always figures it out.” 

Goodman received many ringside hugs, kisses, and treats after his winning round, especially from his longtime groom, Greg. “Greg really loves him,” said Lieb. “Every time we do well together, Greg is always ringside guessing what my score will be, and he often gets it right.

“Today Greg said that Goose [Goodman’s barn name] was the best out there. At first I was like, ‘okay sure, but he was right.’ He knows him so well and takes the best care of him.” 

Brett Lieb & Goodman are presented as Section B winners of the $10,000 Junior/Amateur USHJA National Hunter Derby Hunt-N-Go, presented by NetJets, by Melissa Dombro, Strategic Partnerships. Photo © Sportfot

The second place ribbon went to Kelley Corrigan of Lexington, KY, and her own Diatendro. The pair secured scores of 88.5 and 86 for a total of 174.5. Third went to Nicole Oliynyk of Plainville, MA, and her own Chekandino with scores of 84 and 90 for a close total of 174. 

“The class was great today. It’s always special to come out here and jump on the grass,” concluded Lieb. “To have a section specifically for the juniors and amateurs is a great experience.” 

Simon McCarthy and Gotcha Get Back to Winning Form in $32,000 Ethel M Chocolates CSI2* Qualifier

The $32,000 Ethel M Chocolates CSI2* Qualifier closed out competition in the International Arena on Friday during the seventh week of the 2024 Winter Equestrian Festival as Simon McCarthy (IRL) topped a 17-horse jump off with longtime partner Gotcha.

Simon McCarthy & Gotcha, winners of the $32,000 Ethel M Chocolates CSI2* Qualifier. Photo © Sportfot

Anthony D’Ambrosio’s (USA) first-round track welcomed 75 entries to vie for a spot in Sunday’s Ethel M Chocolates CSI2* Grand Prix event. Nineteen riders represented a truly international jump-off lineup, while several entries elected to save their mounts for the weekend. 

The lead changed hands several times early in the short course before Heather Caristo-Williams (USA) took over the top placing aboard Celtic Hero BZ midway through the order. With several incredibly fast riders still to come, Caristo-Williams and Holly and Ralph Caristo’s 12-year-old Zangersheide stallion (Calikot Hero x Nissan Caretano Z) ultimately settled for third place as the likes of McCarthy and Lacey Gilbertson (USA) blazed ahead towards the jump-off finale. 

Simon McCarthy & Gotcha are presented as winners of the $32,000 Ethel M Chocolates CSI2* Qualifier by Pamela Mars. Photo © Sportfot

Gilbertson gave it her best shot but posted a time of 34.06 seconds which left her and the Seabrook LLC’s nine-year-old Zangersheide mare (Lord Pezie Junior x Semper Fi), Loulou MPSZ, still half a second slower than McCarthy. Always a fast team across a jump-off track, McCarthy and Rock Ridge Farms’ 13-year-old Holsteiner mare (Stakkato x Cassini I) jumped right to the top with a lightning fast time of 33.31 seconds. 

“Luckily enough, I went quite close to the end, so I got to see a couple go,” he explained. “At the start, the fastest was thirty-six or thirty-seven seconds, and then Lacey went in and some others and it was more like thirty-four or thirty-five seconds. I knew that all the leave outs were an option had to be done if you wanted to win, but Gotcha picked up on all of them and she fought all the way.”

Lacey Gilbertson & Loulou. Photo © Sportfot

The win was a warm welcome back for the mare, who has been on a break for the beginning of the year after brilliant performances at the end of last year. 

“I’ve had her for three years and I’ve always given her a break at the beginning of the year,” McCarthy added. “She's just such a useful horse and it’s very easy to get carried away so I think I've learned how to keep them a bit more fresh.

Heather Caristo-Williams & Celtic Hero BZ. Photo © Sportfot

“For her to have a win in her first week back, I’m very happy and it’s a massive testament to my team,” he continued. “I’m the one that gets to take all the glory but our team at Rock Ridge works so hard and I owe so much to them.”  

International show jumping competition at Wellington International commenced on Friday morning with the $62,500 Bainbridge CSI5* 1.50m speed where Cathleen Driscoll (USA) piloted Flotylla to another fast victory. The pair have been a force to reckon with since the beginning of their partnership, and this instance was no different as Driscoll guided Don Stewart’s 13-year-old Polish Sporthorse mare (Alvaro 121 x Bajou Du Rouet) across the finish line in 57.72 seconds.

In addition to the win, Flotylla was also presented with the Champion Equine Insurance Jumper Style Award by Laura Fetterman for WEF 7.

Cathleen Driscoll & Flotylla, winners of the $62,500 Bainbridge CSI5* 1.50m. Photo © Sportfot

Of the original 61 entries, Richard Vogel (GER) and Coolridge Equestrian LLC’s 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Cydello (Cascadello x Forsyth FRH), found a fast way across the track to take second place with their time of 57.77 seconds. No stranger to the winner’s circle, Kent Farrington (USA) capped off the top three just slightly off the pace in 58.24 seconds with Haity McNerney’s nine-year-old Holsteiner mare, Myla (Crunch 3 x Quadros).