Engle and Wapino Make Crowd Go Wild in Palm Beach with Victory
Wellington, FL – February 11, 2007 – As the crowd screamed, “Go Margie!” and whistled, hometown favorite Margie Engle and Hidden Creek’s Wapino galloped flat out to the final oxer in the jump-off. When all was said and done, the pair had run to the leading time for the win in the $60,000 Palm Beach Equine Clinic/Adequan Wellington Cup, CSI 3* presented by bluhammock music at the Winter Equestrian Festival.
Today’s grand prix had a starting field of 38 riders, and after tough tests throughout the week from course designer Aki Ylaenne (FIN), today’s track saw 15 clear rounds advance to the jump-off. Footing was also a question, but horse show management helped by spreading sand on the grass field. The course had 13 numbered obstacles and 16 jumping efforts, and it was set at 1.60m.
“I thought Thursday was one of the hardest courses we’ve done all circuit. When I walked today, I did not think there was going to be 15 clear,” Margie Engle pointed out. “I thought it was difficult enough, a little nicer course than Thursday, but I for sure thought there would be a lot less clean. I think putting the sand in, the horses jumped a lot better off this footing. I don’t know the whole reason why. It surprised me.”
The first clear round and first to return in the jump-off was Beezie Madden on Abigail Wexner’s Integrity. The pair set the pace to beat with a fast, accurate round that stopped the timers at 45.04 seconds. With the large field behind her, Madden knew she not only had to be fast, but clean as well. With that accomplished, she watched and waited for the remaining competitors. She remarked, “I thought for sure it would get beat on time, but they still had to leave all of the jumps up. I was happy with the pace that I set. They had to run a bit to catch me. Going first out of fifteen, I thought it worked the way I wanted it to.”
Markus Beerbaum (GER) and Constantin 24 had two unfortunate refusals to eliminate them from the jump-off. Obelix R and Lisa Silverman, Paradigm and Mario Deslauriers (CAN) and Nick Skelton (GBR) and Russel would all attempt to catch Madden’s time, but would fail with four fault scores.
The next to go clear in the jump-off was Canada’s Eric Lamaze on his World Equestrian Games partner, Hickstead, owned by Torrey Pines Stable and Ashland Stables. While the big horse had a fast gallop, his turns were slightly wider. Lamaze ran to the final oxer, but just missed Madden’s time at 46.66 seconds. Another clear but slow round would be recorded from Laura Bowery and Florin du Murier. Polygraaf and William Lowry had the first rail in the one stride to finish with four faults in 49.64 seconds.
A string of five clear rounds in the jump-off would occur next. Lauren Hough and Casadora were close to Madden at 46.02 seconds. However, it was Margie Engle and Hidden Creek’s Wapino that would light the crowd up and bring home the winning time.
Engle left nothing to chance when she made fantastic turns to the first three jumps. Wapino tried his heart out to the vertical in the final rollback, and Engle flapped her elbows down to the last oxer as the crowd screamed, whistled and clapped. The scoreboard flashed the winning time, 43.59 seconds.
When asked why Wapino seemed to stutter-step slightly to the last jump, Engle said with a smile, “I saw it way back, and I think he was questioning what the heck I was asking him to do. He just kept jamming his toes, and it kept getting farther and farther away. I just had to really commit myself. I was either going to crash through it, or he was going to leave the ground. It was kind of like steeplechasing down to it. When I made the turn, I kind of met [the vertical] really, really deep. I thought I’d make up a little bit of time to the last one, and it was all or nothing.”
Mexico’s Simon Nizri and Cataro Ask made great turns and were on Engle’s time, but a slip in the rollback left them at 45.61 seconds, good enough for fourth place. The next big challenger was Laura Chapot on Little Big Man, last week’s Sunday grand prix winner. Chapot was quick and long to the jumps in her trademark style, but it was not quite enough to take over the lead. They finished in 44.35 seconds for second place.
Chapot explained about her strategy, “With that many in the jump-off, and with so many fast horses and riders, you just really have to go all out, go as fast as you can go and take some risks. I think I added one more to the last jump.” Engle added with a laugh, “She probably rode smarter to it than I did!”
Christine McCrea and Promised Land were clear in 46.62 seconds, as was Roxanne with Eric Flameng (BEL) in 48.61 seconds. Ian Millar (CAN) and In Style had a rail at fence nine for four faults in 45.15 seconds.
Engle thought there were parts on the course where Wapino made up time on the other horses. “He was very, very quick one to two to three,” she mentioned. Engle said the only rider she saw in the jump-off was Madden. “I knew she was fast. I thought I had to do something fast with Laura behind me and some of the other ones that were behind me. I just kind of took a shot, and either they stayed up or they didn’t,” she added.
Engle has ridden Wapino for almost five years and has seen him change and mature. “It’s funny, he was a slow horse when I first got him and now he’s gotten sharper,” she suggested. “The first time I really went fast with him was last year here. He seemed to kind of pick up on that, and he’s figuring it out really well.” Engle was also thrilled with how hard Wapino tried. “He had no reason to jump the vertical as well as he did. I turned back to that and there was nothing much there, and he really tried his heart out over that and the same to the last jump. I was at least a stride away,” she acknowledged. “He’s a very scopey horse, but I thought he jumped really, really well in the jump-off.”
In regards to the footing, Engle passed the question to Madden. “I think we’re always concerned when there’s seven weeks on grass,” Madden conceded, “but I do have to say that I think in past years, it’s gotten to a point where it stays the same after awhile. I think adding the sand was a big improvement. Hopefully, if they can just keep doing that here and there, it will hold up. I don’t think there’ll be much grass left, but hopefully we can jump off of it well.”
The Winter Equestrian Festival continues with its fourth week of competition, the Kilkenny Internationale, CSI 3*, on February 14-18, 2007, at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club.
Results of Class 100 - $60000 WELLINGTON CUP FEI 238.2.2 - Palm Beach Equine Clinic / Adequan Gold Coast Jumper Classic – February 11, 2007
T/A: 87.00 T/A: 63.00
1 2731 HIDDEN CREEKS WAPINO MARGIE ENGLE USA 0.00 81.13 0.00 43.59 $18000
HIDDEN CREEK FARM
2 1367 LITTLE BIG MAN LAURA CHAPOT USA 0.00 81.61 0.00 44.35 $13200
3 71 INTEGRITY BEEZIE MADDEN USA 0.00 83.22 0.00 45.04 $7800
ABIGAIL S. WEXNER
4 2887 CATARE ASK SIMON NIZRI MEX 0.00 83.32 0.00 45.61 $4800
5 349 CASADORA LAUREN HOUGH USA 0.00 84.55 0.00 46.02 $3600
6 754 PROMISED LAND CHRISTINE MCCREA USA 0.00 85.51 0.00 46.62 $3000
7 1221 HICKSTEAD ERIC LAMAZE CAN 0.00 84.17 0.00 46.66 $2400
TORREY PINES STBLE
8 973 ROXANNE ERIC FLAMENG BEL 0.00 82.51 0.00 48.61 $1800
9 2427 FLORIN DU MURIER LAURA BOWERY USA 0.00 86.46 0.00 50.88 $1800
10 1655 IN STYLE IAN MILLAR CAN 0.00 79.55 4.00 45.15 $1200
11 1517 PARADIGM MARIO DESLAURIERS CAN 0.00 79.39 4.00 47.49 $1200
12 1521 OBELIX R LISA SILVERMAN USA 0.00 83.27 4.00 48.89 $1200
13 601 POLYGRAAF WILLIAM LOWRY USA 0.00 83.38 4.00 49.64
WINSOR FARM SALES
14 3438 RUSSEL NICK SKELTON GBR 0.00 83.49 4.00 54.45
15 3511 CONSTANTIN 24 MARKUS BEERBAUM GER 0.00 79.70 elim.
Photo Credit: Hidden Creek’s Wapino and Margie Engle, winners of the Sunday grand prix at the Winter Equestrian Festival. Photo © 2007 Randi Muster.
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