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Fidelity Investments Jumper Classic Welcomes Back The Nation’s Hottest Riders for 2006

South Hamilton, MA – August 23, 2006 - The 17th Annual Jumper Classic is proud to announce that several of the returning riders and past Grand Prix winners will be returning to defend their titles at the 2006 Fidelity Investments Jumper Classic. The competition will be held September 6-10, 2006, on the Coldwell Bankers Preview Field in South Hamilton, MA.

A member event of the American Grand Prix Association (AGA) Grand Prix Series of Show Jumping, The Jumper Classic gives riders the chance to chase points for both AGA Horse and Rider of the Year standings, and it welcomes some of the hottest horses and riders to the North Shore of Boston in the chase for these prestigious titles.

Each year the show has attracted Olympic caliber athletes, including 2004 team Gold and Individual Silver medalist Chris Kappler, Leslie Howard, who claimed Gold in the 1984 Olympics held in Los Angeles, and Margie Engle who represented the U.S. in the Sydney, Australia Games in 2000. Engle led the victory gallop in the $50,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix in 2004.

One rider who is in the hunt for AGA awards this year is Kent Farrington of Greenwich, CT. He has already had a stellar year by winning the $60,000 Kilkenny/ICH Internationale Grand Prix at this year’s Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida, and he has been on a hot streak ever since.

Farrington represented the United States for the first time this past April at the World Cup Finals in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He captured the win in the Kuala Lumpur Grand Prix aboard his 2005 American Grand Prix Association Horse of the Year, Madison. Over the summer, Farrington added several wins to his list of victories at the Vermont Summer Festival. He rode to victory in the $30,000 Grand Prix of Vermont and had several top finishes in Lake Placid, NY.

Farrington is in the running for the American Grand Prix Rider of the Year title, while his horse Madison is once again in contention for 2006 AGA Horse of the Year. Farrington will surely be one to watch on Sunday, September 10, in the $75,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix.

Former Olympian Leslie Howard is another top competitor who will show at the Jumper Classic. Howard of Westport, CT, was a member of the Gold Medal Olympic team at Los Angeles in 1984, and the Silver Medal team at Atlanta in 1996. In 1999, Howard was a key member of the Silver Medal team at the Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada, and a member of the Gold Medal Pan Am Games team in Caracas, Venezuela in 1983. Howard has 18 World Cup Final appearances, and in 1986 she claimed the FEI World Cup Final victory.

She is coming off a huge win in the $175,000 Chrysler Classic Derby at Spruce Meadows, Canada, in July. She placed first and second respectively, with her student Cody Auer taking the third place ribbon in the $25,000 Paul Miller Automotive Group Grand Prix at the Monmouth County Horse Show in Freehold, NJ, on August 17. Howard has been AGA Rider of the Year and she has successfully piloted two different horses to the AGA Horse of the Year titles. Howard has been no stranger to the winner’s circle this year, with her three major Grand Prix wins during this year’s Winter Equestrian Festival. Howard could easily be an imposing threat to The Jumper Classic’s roster of returning stars.

Chris Kappler will also return to the event. Kappler is one of the most celebrated equestrian athletes in Show Jumping history, and the Fidelity Investments Jumper Classic looks forward to his attendance at the competition every year. As one of the world’s top grand prix riders, Chris Kappler is always a crowd favorite during the $75,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix.

In 2003, Kappler made the record books with the first sweep of the American Grand Prix Association’s “Triple Crown of Show Jumping.” The winning streak began when he was the first rider to, on consecutive weekends, win the richest classes in the United States, the American Invitational and the AGA Show Jumping Championship. He clinched the crown, winning the third leg, the American Gold Cup in Devon, Pennsylvania.

With a double medal win at the Pan Am Games, Kappler was subjectively chosen to represent his country in the 2004 Olympics. The trust paid off for the United States Team when Kappler helped his teammates, Beezie Madden, McLain Ward, and Peter Wylde, claim the first team Olympic Gold Medal for the U.S. since 1984. Kappler also took home the Individual Olympic Silver Medal.

Kevin Babington, based in Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania, rode for his home country of Ireland in the Olympic Games at Athens in 2004. He will be another superstar attending the show. He has competed in two World Championships and one European Championship for Ireland. He has also been a member of twelve victorious Nations Cup teams for Ireland, including his team’s victory in Wellington, Florida, in 2005. Babington has led the victory gallop abroad, at LaBaule, France, Hickstead, England, Toronto, Canada, and at Spruce Meadows, among others. This will be Babington’s first appearance at the Fidelity Investments Jumper Classic.

Nona Garson will join the pool of competitors as well. She won the 2002 $50,000 Fidelity Investments Jumper Classic aboard her Olympic mount Rhythmical. Garson of Lebanon, New Jersey, was a member of the United States Olympic Show Jumping Team at Sydney, Australia, in 2000 and was a Pan Am Games Team Bronze Medalist at Buenos Aires in 1995. Garson has notched wins in the AGA Championships, the Grand Prix of Lake Placid, the Gold Coast Grand Prix at the Winter Equestrian Festival, and at Cincinnati, Garden State, and Old Salem Farm. She also posted a win in the 2006 World Equestrian Games Selection Trials in Wellington, FL, aboard her beautiful dark bay stallion Languster. Garson always includes the Jumper Classic in her schedule and looks forward to attending each year.

Another woman at the top of her game and sure to spice up the competition is Schuyler Riley. Riley was once based in the North Shore area, but now calls Wellington, Florida, home when she is not on the road on in Europe competing. Riley was a key member of the World Champion United States Samsung Super League Show Jumping team in 2005. Riley’s team won the season opener at La Baule, France, and finished second and fourth at Rome, Italy, and St. Gallen, Switzerland, respectively. Riley’s double clear performance on Ilian at La Baule, France, anchored the first United States victory.

Riley is the first woman in show jumping history to post back to back wins in the prestigious $175,000 Chrysler Classic at Spruce Meadows, accomplishing that feat in 2004 and again in 2005. Riley defended her title successfully, topping Athens Olympic Gold Medalist Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil for the win. With this unprecedented victory, Riley galloped her way into the show jumping record books and could easily be galloping her way to victory at the Jumper classic as well.

Candice King, who is not only a competitor but serves on the board of directors for The Jumper Classic, will also give the $75,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix field a run for their money. King, who owns and operates Esperanza Farm based in Wellington, FL, debuted on the AGA circuit in 1989 after a successful junior career. She made her mark in 2000 by winning the $50,000 Budweiser AGA Grand Prix in Indianapolis. 2001 brought international triumph when King was the highest-placed American rider in the World Cup Finals in Sweden. She was the first U.S. rider in 30 years to win the Queen Elizabeth II Cup in Hickstead, England. King has had several strong finishes at the Winter Equestrian Festival and has been representing the United States in Europe on the Samsung Super League Tour throughout the summer.

Kim Prince will also return to the Fidelity Investments Jumper Classic. Prince has been competing with her two mounts, Marlou and Couletto K James, earning many high placings in America, as well as Europe. Marlou won the $150,000 Grand Prix of Charlotte, as well as the $40,000 Congressional Cup, the $75,000 American Gold Cup, and the $75,000 Hudson Valley Grand Prix. The pair was on the second place Super League Team at Hickstead and finished second at the $75,000 Wellington Masters in Wellington, FL, this winter.

Also expected to return will be 2005 winner of the $5,000 Mercedes Benz Speed Stake, Darren Graziano. Graziano, is always a crowd favorite and expected to have several Grand Prix mounts, as well as speed horses, to defend his title in tow to the North Shore of Boston.

“Fidelity is one of my favorite shows of the year,” said Graziano. “The Jumper Classic has a European flair and is an extremely well managed event that attracts the top horses, riders, and sponsors. I am excited that the purse in the speed class now has been raised, which gives me an incentive to go fast, defend my title, and hopefully leave all the jumps up along the way,” he smiled. “I will have to be at my best to compete with the level of horses and riders in the class,” he added.

With the most competitive riders and some of the country’s top equine partners, the 2006 Fidelity Investments Jumper Classic is sure to be an exciting show, and the win could belong to any of these horse and rider combinations.

For more information or tickets to The Jumper Classic, please visit http://www.jumperclassic.com.

Photo Credit: Kent Farrington at the Winter Equestrian Festival. Photo© 2006 By: Kenneth Kraus.

 

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