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The Revival of The Newport Jumping Derby is a No-Go

Wellington, Florida – June 6, 2003 – Negotiations between Peter de Savary of the Carnegie Abbey Club in Portsmouth, Rhode Island and Phelps Wilkes & Associates, Inc. concerning the revival of The Newport Jumping Derby have terminated. After much speculation and anticipation within the international show jumping community, Mason Phelps, Jr. recently announced that: “Sadly, after preliminary discussions, Carnegie Abbey and Phelps Wilkes had different visions about the Derby. In addition, certain constraints on property use within the Carnegie Abbey Club would make it difficult at best to go forward in the appropriate manner.”

The Newport Jumping Derby was founded by Mason Phelps, Jr. in 1976. Held each August at Mason’s ancestral estate, Glen Farms, in Newport from 1976 to 1988, the FEI-sanctioned Derby was the highlight of the Newport social season and was one of the most well-attended show jumping events of its time.

The FEI is the international governing body for equestrian competition. Under FEI rules, there can only be one sanctioned jumping derby per country per year. A jumping derby under FEI rules requires, among other things, that the jumping course consists of natural cross-country obstacles such as banks, ditches and walls.

After the Derby’s absence for over 15 years, Peter de Savary, owner of the newly-built Carnegie Abbey Club, a Scottish-links-styled golf club in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, contacted Mason and his partner, Beverly Lake Wilkes, this past March to explore the possibility of reviving The Newport Jumping Derby at his Carnegie Abbey Club at the end of August, 2004. Phelps Wilkes was to have produced and managed the Derby.

Phelps Wilkes did obtain the requisite approvals from the FEI and secured the required dates. Alternate venues are being explored.


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