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The 1.40m Jumper Classic Victory Goes to Will Simpson and El Campeon's Tosca

Tampa, FL - April 4, 2008 - Today's highlight jumper class at the Tournament of Champions, the final week of the Tampa Equestrian Festival, was held first thing this morning under the covered arena. As the times in the jump-off got faster and faster, it was Will Simpson of Thousand Oaks, CA, on El Campeon's Tosca that came away with victory in the 1.40m Jumper Classic.

Simpson bested a field of nine horses and riders in the jump-off. They were 11th to go in the first round and returned sixth in the jump-off. They were chasing the leading time with a clear round of 32.463 seconds set by McLain Ward on Quo Vadis.

Simpson and El Campeon's Tosca made very short, quick turns and the speedy chestnut mare crossed the finish line in 31.538 seconds for the win. Ward made another bid for the win on Goldika 559, but his time of31.857 seconds was just off the mark.

Simpson and "Tosca," a 12-year-old Belgian mare by Cash (who was ridden by European superstar Hugo Simon), were third in Wednesday's WEF Challenge Cup. They went first in the jump-off with a clear and fast ride, but it was not enough for the win. Today, Simpson wanted to secure first place. "I thought she had enough speed to win (the WEF Challenge Cup), and then I got third. I thought (today) that I had to kick it up a notch," he acknowledged. "I thought I went pretty good on the inside track and kept her moving. She's fast anyway. It worked out really well."

Simpson saw the early fast rides from Eliza Shuford and McLain Ward and thought he could make up time through one turn, "back to the gate," he said. "The gate, if you touch it, it falls down. I saw people give it a couple extra strides there. With Tosca, she jumps those real careful, so I took a real shot to that. I didn't go past it at all; I just scissored it. I think I saved a little time there and was stride for stride everywhere else."

This was Simpson's first victory at the Tampa Equestrian Festival, but he is no stranger to the winner's circle. Earlier in the year, he won two of the U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Trials with his top horse, Carlsson vom Dach. His success in the trials qualified Simpson for the Olympic Short List. He plans to take Carlsson vom Dach and bring along El Campeon's Tosca as his second horse to the tour in Europe this summer.

For tomorrow's $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational, Simpson will compete with Carlsson vom Dach, who has not shown since the fourth leg of the Olympic Trials in March. It will be Simpson's first time ever competing in the American Invitational. "I've seen it a few times, but I've never had the privilege to ride in it. I can't wait," he commented.

Competition for the Tampa Equestrian Festival ends tomorrow at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center. The highlight of the Tampa Equestriian Festival, the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational, will be held at the Raymond James Stadium on Saturday, April 5, at 7 p.m. Don't forget to buy your tickets early and save money!

Tickets for the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational, presented by The Tampa Tribune and Sweetbay Supermarket, are still available. Advance ticket prices are $25 in the white section, $35 in the blue section, and $40 in the red section. An Advance Family 4-pack is available for $70 in the white section and $125 in the blue section (Prices higher day of show: $30, $40, $45, $85, $140). Group prices for 20 or more people are available with advance purchase only. They are $17 each in the white section and $30 each in the blue section. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster 813-287-8844, 727-898-2100 or ticketmaster.com.

For more information on the Tampa Equestrian Festival and the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational, please visit http://www.stadiumjumping.com.

Final Results: 1.40m Jumper Classic

1. El Campeon's Tosca, Will Simpson, El Campeon Farms: 0/0/31.538

2. Goldika 559, McLain Ward, McLain Ward and Blue Chip Bloodstock: 0/0/31.857

3. Quo Vadis, McLain Ward, Sagamore Farms: 0/0/32.463

4. Plenty, Eliza Shuford, Eliza Shuford: 0/0/33.564

5. Morgan, Jimmy Torano, RV Sales of Broward: 0/0/33.726

6. Hidden Creek's Coroya Z, Margie Engle, Hidden Creek Farm: 0/0/36.031

7. Gerona 92, Mary Lisa Leffler, Rolling Acres Farm: 0/0/37.508

8. Pako, Richard Spooner, Richard Spooner: 0/8/32.522



Photo Credit: El Campeon's Tosca and Will Simpson, winners of the 1.40m Jumper Classic at the Tampa Equestrian Festival. Photo (C) 2008 Jennifer Wood/PMG. This photo may be used free of charge only in relation to this press release.

 

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