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Press Release


Aaron Vale and Carlo

Nick Novak and Climbus

Aaron Vale and Quality On Top

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Repeat Victory! Aaron Vale and Carlo Speed to $50,000 Flintfields Farm Grand Prix Win to Conclude GLEF Series One

Written by: Kendall Bierer
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG)
Release Date: 2016-07-31

Traverse City, Mich. – July 31, 2016 – It was déjà vu for spectators on the final day of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF) as Aaron Vale and Carlo blazed their way to the victory in the $50,000 Flintfields Farm Grand Prix, sponsored by Meijer, topping the ranks with a double-clear posted in 37.269 seconds. Only one-week prior, Vale and Carlo, owned by Amatoville Enterprises of Toronto, Canada, stood in the winner’s circle as the Week Three victors, and duplicated their clean and speedy effort to take the win in the finale event of the first GLEF series.

It is hard to imagine that a horse once described by Vale as “driving a diesel” was able to lay down his second speedy grand prix win of the circuit, but Carlo had a breakthrough in Atlanta, when he won the $35,000 Sidelines Grand Prix.

“When you hammer down on the gas pedal, he accelerates,” Vale laughed. “He is getting the hang of all of it. He is pretty handy and quick, a super horse. When he used to gallop, you would kick and he wouldn’t really speed up, but today he ducked right back on that liverpool and really turned quickly back to the double there, the two-stride. Now he is sitting down to run when it is time to go across the ring. He was great to start with, and he has only improved with experience.”

Vale and Carlo set the pace as the third of nine during the jump-off set by Bernardo Costa Cabral, tripping the timers in 37.269 seconds to put the pressure on early in the order. It seemed as though Vale’s time would prove untouchable, until Nick Novak, winner of Friday’s $25,000 Welcome Stake returned to the ring on his second mount of the class, Climbus. He had already laid down a solid performance aboard his first mount qualified for the short course, Dirkie Z, who was the eventual fourth place finisher, but he knew that he could take a shot with Climbus.

“I thought Nick had a beautiful round, I really thought he had me,” Vale sighed in relief. “I didn’t know what my split was, but I thought for sure that he had me. I got my old man eye sight close enough to the score board, to see that he just missed it, but I’ll take it!”

It was only three-one-hundredths of a second that separated Vale and Novak on the leaderboard. Novak landed from the final oxer and broke the beam in 37.293 seconds, while Vale’s previous time of 37.269 seconds held the lead, and eventually the win.

“It was great, I really tried for it, I ran Climbus as fast as I could,” Novak said. “I really went for it on Climbus. Behind Aaron, that is pretty good. I feel like I was on fire in that round. This show has really taught me how to run faster and turn tighter, so each week I am trying to push myself and my horses a little bit more.”

Novak continued, “Qualifying both Climbus and Dirkie for the jump-off meant that a lot of hard work has paid off for Nancy [Whitehead] and myself. Last year we were just trying to get to know them, and this year everything has been progressing the way that we hoped it would. It felt great, and they are coming on at the right time. They were both clear last week in the jump-off, too, so they are really on it these last two weeks.”

Both riders complimented Cabral on his courses, acknowledging that it was a solid 1.50m, and the jump-off tested them with numerous turns and a great run to the last jump.

Cabral said, “I was very happy with the [nine] that made it into the jump-off. It wasn’t a huge field, but there was a crowd here, and they wanted a jump-off, so I kept the course up to standards, but not with much variation in rhythm. Aaron’s ride was brilliant. He is just amazing, he takes a little time turning, but he just flat out galloped. Because the course lent itself to a nice jump-off, this layout allowed me to build for speed.”

Although this marks Vale’s second grand prix win with Carlo, it is his third win of his three weeks in Traverse City, having also scored the victory with Bonzini S during GLEF II.

“I have a really nice group of horses. It is just nice to have a group that can jump clear and give you a chance to run around in the jump-off,” Vale acknowledged. “Each course designer has used the ring differently, and there has been a lot of variety for the horses, but the tracks have been different flavors—it keeps the riders and horses fresh. It has been a lot of fun with a good group of designers.”

Vale will return home after Sunday, and after accumulating a nice house fund to rebuild his home that was destroyed by a fire only two months prior. On June 3, Vale, his wife Mallory and their daughter Kinser lost everything, from their family home to their beloved dog, Roo. Vale’s three grand prix wins at GLEF will help he and his family to not only rebuild their home, but also make improvements.

“It certainly hasn’t hurt picking up some good checks, add a little to the house fund,” Vale smiled, in spite of the tragedy.

Kisner competed in the lead line class prior to the grand prix, winning a blue ribbon on her pony Timmy.

Vale laughed, “I win every time she does the lead line, so we have to keep her in that class and keep her interested.”

Vale also picked up the third place with Quality On Top, owned by North Face Farm and Erin Haas, who was originally sold to Haas by Vale a year before. Due to a knee injury, Haas has been ringside, but Vale is thrilled with how far the horse has come since the winter in Florida, jumping to a double-clear effort in 38.008 seconds.

The fifth place ribbon was awarded to Michael Morrissey and Chance Ste Hermelle, owned by QBS Equestrian, who finished with a more conservative clear jump-off effort in 40.643 seconds. Alec Bozorgi and Campino II rounded out the top six as the last of the double-clears, finishing the tie-breaking round with a time of 43.452 seconds.

Previous to the grand prix action on Sunday was the $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic. Alliy Moyer and Etoile Van’t Lambroeck rode to the win in 39.992 seconds, without fault during the jump-off. Finishing in second place was Sophie Michaels and Catch Me T with the only other clear jump-off, posted in the time of 40.871 seconds. Emily Perez and Paola 233 earned the third place finish in 38.221 seconds, the fastest time of the tiebreaker; however, one rail cost them the win on Sunday.

Earlier in the day, the $5,000 East Wind Farm Children's Jumper Classic kicked off the start of the final day of showing in Grand Prix Ring. Twelve of the original starting field of 22 mastered the opening track, but it was Ponce Tidwell III and Cadeau Du Ciel who took the win in 34.461 seconds. Anika Pirkle was slick and right on Ridwell’s heels, but fell shy of the winning time to take the second place with Just A Dream in 24.710 seconds. Third place was awarded to Mackenzie Snider and ROC N Groovy, who posted two clear rounds in 35.016 seconds.

During the $5,00 NAL/WIHS/M&S Adult Amateur Jumper Classic, which comprised of 12 horses and riders competing for the top prize, Nerval De La Batia with Andrea Vogel in the saddle claimed the top spot. The pair finished double-clear in 36.557 seconds to take the win. Lisa Baker and Triple Bar LLC’s Zyminka finished in second for the second week in a row, laying down another double clear effort in 37.073 seconds, while Mikalah Singer and Jonnas Corint, took the third place honors with no faults in 37.527 seconds.

The $2,500 Modified Children's/Adult Jumper Classic hosted nine challengers with only two producing double-clear rounds. Makayla Weber and Donnaludine, rode to the quickest of the two times in 34.805 seconds. Catherine Wu and Ren Round Number stopped the timer in 39.321 seconds to take the red ribbon and Khari Taustin-Kas and Geron-S took the third place honors with four faults in 40.465 seconds. 

Series Two kicks off on August 10 and runs through August 28 featuring three weeks of hunter and jumper competition with a FEI CSI2* rating Week Five and Six and a FEI CSI3* rating during Week Seven culminating in the $100,000 Grand Traverse Grand Prix on Sunday, August 28. Act now to reserve stabling spots, and do not miss out on the chance to compete during the all-new FEI Great Lakes Equestrian Festival series in August. 

The Great Lakes Equestrian Festival is set on 88 beautiful acres and showcases five world-class competition rings in addition to spacious schooling rings. The property features don't stop there as the park offers convenient on-site campgrounds and weekly nights of entertainment for a truly unique attendee experience.

For more information or to view schedules, please visit or

$50 000 Flintfields Farm Grand Prix, Presented by Meijer
1 1089 CARLO AARON VALE 0 0 0 0 0 0 37.269
2 1205 CLIMBUS NICK NOVAK 0 0 0 0 0 0 37.293
3 712 QUALITY ON TOP AARON VALE 0 0 0 0 0 0 38.008
4 1206 DIRKIE Z NICK NOVAK 0 0 0 0 0 0 38.146
6 969 CAMPINO II ALEC BOZORGI 0 0 0 0 0 0 43.452
7 1076 FINOU 4 AARON VALE 0 0 0 4 0 4 38.499
8 544 ZIEZO SCOTT LENKART 0 0 0 8 0 8 37.162
9 226 ZERRO LEONE MARTIEN VAN DER HOEVEN 0 0 0 8 0 8 41.658
10 766 AVENTADOR DAVID JENNINGS 4 0 4 75.039
11 492 CALL ME HANNES DAVID BEISEL 4 0 4 75.114
12 1087 ACOLINA R AARON VALE 4 0 4 75.242



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