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ATTACHED PHOTOS

Nick Novak and Climbus

David Jennings and Aventador

Alec Bozorgi and Campino II

Nick Novak and Climbus

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Nick Novak and Climbus Capture $25,000 Welcome Stake Win at GLEF IV

Written by: Kendall Bierer
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG) http://www.stadiumjumping.com/sj/index.cfm
Release Date: 2016-07-29

Traverse City, Mich. – July 29, 2016 – Nick Novak finally overcame his five-year drought on Friday afternoon at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF). For years, he has fallen just shy of the victory, taking the backseat to the winner’s circle. During Week IV of GLEF, the drought came to an end for Novak, and as the old saying goes, “when it rains, it pours.” Novak first captured the 1.40m Open Jumper victory on Thursday, and then went on to top a nine-horse jump-off during Friday’s $25,000 Welcome Stake with Climbus.

“It felt so great,” Novak smiled. “I have been right there, and I have been working towards this, so it felt really good. I have been watching my videos a lot and my jump-offs. I have been trying to be tidier around the turns. At the beginning, I was feeling kind of nervous to go fast, but now I feel super comfortable having that practice. I feel like I can be tidier and take a step out here or there.”

Out of a starting field of 21, nine horse and rider combinations mastered Bernardo Costa Cabral’s Welcome Stake track. Of those who qualified for the short course, only three jumped double-clear. 

David Jennings was the first to clear the eight-obstacle track, which had increased in difficulty with wider spreads and raised heights. Aboard Aventador, owned by Moffitt Lake Farms, Jennings stopped the clock at 36.468 seconds.

Jennings said, “My plan was to stay in control, not to go fast, give him a nice jump around in the jump-off and have him go double-clear. I wanted to set him up for the [$50,000 Flintfields Farm Grand Prix] so that he is not too wild and running around. Nice and controlled.”

Although Jennings jumped without fault, he was not one to assume that his time would hold with the Mid-West speed demons. However, his double-clear and naturally fast pace would earn the pair the second place prize.

“I thought my time was beatable,” Jennings said. “I knew I had a lot of fast riders behind me, I didn’t think that I would end up being second. Riders go fast, and poles come down pretty easy anywhere you go.”

It would be 20-year-old Alec Bozorgi who would soon duplicate Jennings’ effort. He rode Campino II to a clear time of 37.458 seconds to eventually clinch the third place.

“I just tried to keep it smooth out there,” Bozorgi said. “I was just trying to keep my head cool, we are out here playing with the big guns now, so I was just trying to keep cool with the pressure. I was really happy with both the horses.”

The sophomore at Colgate University is wrapping up his summer soon. Taking the third place finish in the $25,000 Welcome Stake was the capstone of his summer. Bozorgi believed that the course was well-suited for the field, and was happy with the jump-off. 

“There were some good places to turn, make up some time, and it had a few longer gallops. I thought it was good,” Bozorgi said. “I have had Campino for four years, and we have known each other for a long time now. He is my rock and my buddy. He is a super horse. He is getting me in the bigger classes. He is always competitive and has always been there for me. I can really lean on him and trust him.” 

Novak followed consecutively behind Bozorgi, and he had his sights set on the lion’s share of the earnings. He laid down a quick and tidy jump-off, and as he galloped to the final oxer, he encouraged Climbus by saying, “Up boy!”

“I haven’t done that in a long time,” Novak laughed. “I also haven’t won in a long time, so I definitely wasn’t going to knock down that last jump, even if it meant talking to him over it.”

They broke the beam in 35.584 seconds, scooting past Jennings with more than a second sliced off of his time, taking the long-desired victory. The Welcome Stake win also marked Novak’s first big win with Climbus, the 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding that Novak refers to as “the perfect gentleman.”

It was only a year and a half earlier that Novak picked Climbus out while in Europe, searching for his next grand prix horse. Although Climbus had competed briefly in Europe, it was Novak who started showing him and bringing him along. During the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival, held in Wellington, Florida, Climbus jumped two 1.50m classes clear, exemplifying the potential Novak recognized only the year prior.

“Having the support and the determination is something that makes getting back in the game really special,” Novak said. “Especially to have Nancy [Whitehead] is a huge help. I talk to her about my rides, and ask her questions. She is amazing. I have been with her for 14 years now. She and I have a great partnership, and she is like my second mom.”

GLEF will continue to welcome riders and thrill spectators over the final week of the first summer series, which runs July 27-31, 2016. The jumper highlights will conclude with the $50,000 Flintfields Farm Grand Prix, presented by Meijer, on Sunday, July 31. 

For more information or to view schedules, please visit mmg.management or www.greatlakesequestrianfestival.com.

$25,000 Welcome Stake
1 1205 CLIMBUS NICK NOVAK 0 0 0 0 0 0 35.584
2 766 AVENTADOR DAVID JENNINGS 0 0 0 0 0 0 36.468
3 969 CAMPINO II ALEC BOZORGI 0 0 0 0 0 0 37.458
4 712 QUALITY ON TOP AARON VALE 0 0 0 4 0 4 34.274
5 544 ZIEZO SCOTT LENKART 0 0 0 4 0 4 34.766
6 492 CALL ME HANNES DAVID BEISEL 0 0 0 4 0 4 35.315
7 365 CALVERO IV ISABELLA RUSSEKOFF 0 0 0 4 0 4 35.816
8 165 DROOMFEE HB AIDAN KILLEEN 0 0 0 4 0 4 37.121
9 968 CAPPANALEIGH STORM ALEC BOZORGI 0 0 0 4 0 4 38.622
10 1206 DIRKIE Z NICK NOVAK 4 0 4 74.728
11 1087 ACOLINA R AARON VALE 4 0 4 75.711
12 226 ZERRO LEONE MARTIEN VAN DER HOEVEN 4 0 4 75.902

 

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