Tynan on Top! Seattle Scores $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix Victory at Vermont Summer Festival
East Dorset, VT – August 12, 2022 – Friday afternoon marked the halfway point of the final week of top competition under the mountains in Vermont. The beautiful weather and picture-perfect background were the ideal host for this week’s $25,000 SmartPak Prix. Besting the field yet again following their win in Sunday’s $40,000 Kimpton Taconic Grand Prix was Willie Tynan and MDM Equestrian Group’s Seattle.
Tynan and his youngest mount Seattle are no stranger to the winner’s circle. The pair has captured several wins throughout the Vermont Summer Festival, which has been very influential in the horse’s development. “I’m super happy with Seattle,” remarked Tynan. “Throughout this circuit he has done everything we asked of him and has won three of these classes now. He’s not a baby anymore and has definitely grown up a lot this summer.”
Willie Tynan and Seattle. Photo by: Jess Windhurst
Six horses went clear in the first round over Oscar Soberon’s course and returned for the jump-off round, where speed was the name of the game. For the short course, riders began over fence one before tightly rolling back to fences two and three from the original course. Riders also added a new jump to their path following fence five before carefully galloping over to the one-stride combination and stopping the clock. The tiebreaker would eventually yield three more clear efforts.
“In the first round, Seattle was the last of my horses to go. He actually jumped some things I would consider harder for him really well and learned from that – so I am really happy with that in the first round,” explained Tynan.
Tynan was first to go in the original order with Fenise, and the pair came out and produced the first clear ride of the class. He later added two more rides to the jump-off with Fancy Girl and eventual class winner Seattle. Tynan had speed on his mind in round two, returning with Fenise, but the duo ended on 4 faults. Christian Coyle followed second in the speed round, but incurred 8 faults along the way. Tynan was next with his second ride Fancy Girl and produced the first clear jump-off, setting a quick time of 38.48 seconds. Marek Leufkens tried to chase Tynan’s time, but ended up acquiring 4 faults along the way. Kevin McCarthy came in right after, clearing the course and besting the current leading time by less than a second in 37.54.
Willie Tynan and Fancy Girl. Photo by: Jess Windhurst
However, coming back last was Tynan’s final ride, Seattle. With McCarthy taking over his lead, Tynan left it all out on the track. While he was slightly slower over the first half of the course, the 8-year-old gelding's massive stride made up time in the end. After galloping to a tight rollback, the pair steadied for the final jumping effort and combination before racing through the timers in 35.90 – almost two seconds faster than McCarthy’s quick effort, which would place second while Fancy Girl claimed third.
Kevin McCarthy and Easton. Photo by: Jess Windhurst
“In the second round, [Seattle] has a really big step, and I knew [Kevin McCarthy] was very quick and that I couldn’t catch him on the rollback from fence one to two, but I could on the gallop over in front of the ingate – so we had the time there. I think [Seattle] is in great shape for Sunday’s Grand Prix – I think they all are, so we are hoping for another great result on Sunday,” added Tynan.
Two more days of jumper action are left at HITS Vermont as the weekend will feature the final $40,000 Grand Prix and many other jumper classic competitions. Riders will vie for the final top spots to capture points for year-end finals, including the M&S League Finals in September.