It was…dare we say…a GOOD afternoon in the R+L Arena as twenty two entries contested the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby. But it was Canadian trainer Kristjan Good who stole the show, taking top placings aboard three of his five mounts in the class and (appropriately) taking home the blue with Augustin Walch’s Diamo Blue (Diarado x Verb. Pr. St. Elfenblau). Diamo Blue’s groom, Holly Sibbald, received the Groom’s Award this afternoon, which included $100 cash and a $50 WEC Gift Card, for the stallion’s stunning turnout.
The course for this afternoon’s $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby was designed by Michael Moran and featured four option fences along with flowing bending lines. The course began over a Tuscan-inspired oxer-to-vertical bending line heading down the arena, which featured a high option at the vertical fence. The course then saw entries rolling back to jump a stone vertical on a slight diagonal by the ingate, then continuing up the diagonal to a natural one stride option line. From there, the course saw entries jumping a vertical at the top of the arena, then rolling back to jump a bamboo vertical across the center line that bent down the rail to a birch oxer option. Entries continued past the ingate, then up the diagonal to a stone vertical. The course then saw riders jump a brick oxer at the top of the arena and, to finish, continue down the rail to a stone oxer.
Kristjan Good had a total of five mounts to ride in the first round, but did not break the eighty mark until he piloted his third mount, Augustin Walch’s Stakkato Grande W (Stakkato Gold x Rio’s Raida). Stakkato Grande W has a fantastic record, winning several derbies in Ontario in 2018. Good and Stakkato Grande W navigated the course effortlessly, taking all four high options in stride. The pair earned a score of 86 in the first round, ensuring a return for the handy round.
Good also rode a fantastic first round aboard his fifth mount in the class, Augustin Walch’s Diamo Blue (Diarado x Verb. Pr. St. Elfenblau). Diamo Blue has competed successfully in both the Hunter and Jumper rings, and even took the title of Hunter Derby Champion at the Royal West 2018. Good piloted Diamo Blue along the same track as Stakkato Grande W and the Oldenburg stallion snapped his knees at each fence. The pair took all four high options in the first round for a score of 89.
Watch Dominika Silvestri and Nice’s first round, courtesy of ShowNet
Though Good seemed to dominate the first round of the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, competition came in full force in the form of Dominika Silvestri and her own Nice (Nintender x Sarastra). The pair placed third just last week in the Derby, scoring into the eighties in each round. Silvestri and Nice brought a touch of elegance to their first round, showing off skills they have learned by frequenting the Equitation and Medal classes. The pair opted to jump all four high options, earning a score of 90, the highest score of the first round.
Entries prepared to return for the handy round as the course was reset. The course for the handy round saw entries canter directly to a stone vertical on the diagonal, then jump a vertical at the top of the arena and roll back to a bamboo vertical. From there, entries continued down the rail to a birch oxer option, then trotted a stone vertical by the ingate. The course then saw entries continue up the diagonal over a natural one stride option line and round the top of the ring to jump a Tuscan-inspired bending line heading home. To finish, the course saw entries continue up the rail over a stone oxer, then roll back to exit the ring.
Kristjan Good returned late in the order, first aboard Stakkato Grande W. The pair took every possible inside turn, displaying their talents that have resulted in multiple Derby wins. The pair opted for the high options again, and Stakkato Grande W jumped with plenty of style. The pair earned a score of 90 in the handy round, bringing their total score to 176.
Watch Kristjan Good and Diamo Blue’s winning round, courtesy of ShowNet
Good returned shortly after aboard Diamo Blue, replicating his turns from his previous mount. Diamo Blue wowed the judges with effortless style and finesse. The pair took all four high options earning a 91, the highest score of the Derby. This brought their two round total to 180, setting them comfortably in first place.
Last to return was Dominika Silvestri and Nice. Like Good, Silvestri demonstrated her expert abilities with each inside turn. Silvestri and Nice took all four high options, earning a score of 89, bringing their two round total to 179, just one point behind Good and Diamo Blue for second place.
We caught up with Kristjan Good of Kristjan Good Show Stables after the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby to chat about his rides aboard first place finisher Diamo Blue and third place finisher Stakkato Grande W. “They’re both horses from W. Charlot Farms in Stratford. The owner is Augustin Walch. They did the Canadian Derbies last year with me and both went to the Finals there, where Stakkato Grande W was third one night and Diamo Blue pinned both nights. Another rider rode Diamo, because I had too many qualified,” laughed Good. When asked about their personalities in the barn, Good replied, “They’re both like puppies. Diamo is a stallion, but he’s like a dog. I trust him with anybody. Stakkato Grande W used to be a stallion, but is gelded now and he has the same temperament as Diamo.” Good also commented, “It was a fun class. It’s always fun to be here at WEC.”
$2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby
- Diamo Blue, Kristjan Good – 89 | 91 | 180
- Nice, Dominika Silvestri – 90 | 89 | 179
- Stakkato Grande W, Kristjan Good – 86 | 90 | 176
- Poetic, Ryan Sassmannshausen – 85 | 88 | 173
- Screen Shot, Ryan Sassmannshausen – 87 | 82 | 169
- Roc’s All That, Taylor Holstead – 80 | 85 | 165
- Baccharis, Kristjan Good – 79 | 78 | 157
- Dalliance, Michaella Gerlacher – 81 | 71 | 152
- Figaro, Mary Roskens – 78 | 71 | 149
- Stand By Me, Miranda McCarthy – 72 | 72 | 144
Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.