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Happy Birthday Mrs. Genn! Happy Z and Wilhelm Genn Victorious in Nutrena Grand Prix

GULFPORT, MS.—FEB 23, 2009—“It’s an early Birthday present” a smiling Wilhelm Genn said of his third consecutive win at Sunday’s $25,000 Nutrena Grand Prix which closed out another thrilling week of competition at the 2009 Gulf Coast Winter Classics held at the Harrison County Equestrian show grounds.

The climax of week three was Sunday’s showcase of jumping talent where an excited audience lined the sides of the lush grass ring to cheer on their favorite horses. Once again Pierre Jolicoeur produced a course that tested athletes’ technical abilities and their stamina as well. “When I walked it I almost thought it was easy.” began today’s victor Wilhelm Genn, whose home base is Lebanon, OH., “Then he [Pierre] went around and raised some of the jumps! Like I said almost!” Genn felt that increased the endurance factor plus it tested their adjustability, and scope. The 13 obstacle-16 effort layout included 2 sets of combinations, the often-dreaded triple bar, and wicked turns throughout the lengthy track with the end goal being beat the allowance of 88 seconds fault free. “Had he not raised the red plank on that last jump [#13 a forward tall vertical] there would have been probably 4 more in the jump off.” Genn said with a laugh. A total of six horses, two of which would be piloted by Genn, made it through to the final round.

Happy Z was first in the order of go and the first clear round with a time of 83.028. Amanda Flint and the speedy Cajun followed with the second clear in 78.538 to insure a jump off. Not to be left off the guest list Alex Granato brought Mad Season home clean in 84.222. From there the rails began to fall, particularly at that #13 fence Genn pointed out earlier. “That little adjustment made a difference.” he chuckled.

His confidence in 11 year-old partner Happy Z, the Dutch Warmblood mare he co-owns with wife and birthday girl Patty, was all the guidance needed in how best to ride this layout. “We know each other so well. There’s a trust and understanding we share. Much like a marriage.” Genn said of the headstrong chestnut. The pair currently holds the lead in the coveted $10,000 Budweiser Grand Prix rider challenge, with 3 more weeks of competition to decide the final outcome Genn said of his present advantage, “It feels great, but I don’t take anything for granted. You know Alex is right there and Amanda too. The gap is not big at all. I screw up one class and well…” Today, however there were no screw-ups. Genn shared since Patty’s birthday is this Tuesday how could he and Happy not give 200%, “What better present than her horse winning another prix to celebrate Patty’s big day.” a smiling Genn said as he gazed in his wife’s direction.

With a time allowed of 47 seconds in the final round consisting of long tracks, two sharp left turns and big jumps, Happy Z went first with the distinction of being the one to watch. They sailed over the first jumped and barely touched ground again until crossing the timer to stop the clock clear in an astounding 33.904. “She’s very good at going left. I don’t even have to pull on the rein just let go of the right.” laughed Genn, “She’s always so fast and just loves to jump.” The next clear round in the jump off belonged to owner-rider Alex Granato and Mad Season with a time of 34.555. Genn returned with owner Laura Ryan-Barnaclo’s Chantal to finish third in 34.560 clean. Fourth place went to owner-rider Amanda Flint and Cajun finishing in 36.029 seconds with 4 faults and the fifth spot went to Captivate Farm’s rider Erin Ferguson with mount VDL Umilion H in 38.817 seconds and 4 faults.

The Gulfport Winter Classic continues with more hunter/jumper and Grand Prix action through March 15th. Admission is free and the public is invited to enjoy the exciting competition throughout the week along with another $25,000 Grand Prix each Sunday as well as the race for the of the $10,000 Budweiser High Point Grand Prix Rider, presented to the top rider, calculated by earned points, of the six-week series

Photo: Wilhelm Genn & Happy Z ©Flashpoint Photography

* Photo may be used free of charge only in relation to this press release


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