UPPERVILLE, Va., June 8, 2024– Cathleen Driscoll and Arome blazed through the jump off and a field of 32 starters to win the $62,480 FEI 4* Upperville Welcome Stakes at the 171st Upperville Colt & Horse Show presented by MARS Equestrian™. The Welcome Stakes was generously sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Michael A. Smith of Middleburg, Va.
Driscoll and Arome were one of 11 out of 32 horse and rider combinations to return for the jump off over Nick Granat’s course on Friday afternoon. The lead changed hands several times before Driscoll and Plain Bay Farm’s 14-year-old bay Selle Francais gelding laid down a quick and efficient second round to win the class in a time of 36.23 seconds, beating second placed Eddie Blue and Devin Ryan by nearly one second. Mimi Gochman was close behind riding Cosmos BH, the entry of Mimi Snow Sport Horse, LLC to third in a jump off time of 37.22 seconds.
“Arome and I have been partnered for several years now, and I’ve jumped up to the five-star level with him,” explained Driscoll, who rides for Katie and Hanri Prudent of Plain Bay Farm in Middleburg, Va. “He’s really shown me the ropes in jumping these bigger tracks as well as going fast. He’s a very reliable partner for me in these types of classes.”
“The first round rode quite well,” she continued. “I’m quite comfortable with him at this height, so I felt like I was able to put a little bit of pressure on, ride everything nice. Arome has a massive stride, so when I watch the others go in the jump off, I know where I can do one less stride here or there.”
International showjumping competition continues through Sunday.
In addition to presenting sponsor MARS EQUESTRIAN, UCHS is sponsored by The Ethel M® Chocolate Brand and Lugano Diamonds (Co-Presenting Sponsors of the 2024 FEI CSI4* Jumper Classic.) Other sponsors include Buckeye Nutrition, Nutro Pet Food, The Salamander Collection, B&D Builders, Delta Air Lines, Markel and Piedmont Equine Practice.