WELLINGTON, Fla., March 7 - The United States claimed victory in the $75,000 FEI Nations' Cup, presented by CN, held Friday night during the CSIO5* CN Wellington Open, week eight of the CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
The only Nations' Cup team competition held in the United States, this year's competition attracted teams from a record nine countries. Canada was the two-time defending champion, but it was the United States, who last claimed victory in 2003, that emerged victorious with a two-round total of nine faults.
Course designer Jose Gamarra of Bolivia set a challenging track which produced two double clear performances from Canada's Eric Lamaze and Hickstead and Great Britain's Ben Maher with Rolette. It also produced five eliminations for refusals.
Following the first round, the United States was in the lead, having dropped the four faults incurred by Kent Farrington and Up Chiqui and counting only the time fault incurred by Hillary Dobbs and Quincy B. Both Danielle Torano of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., riding Marlo and anchor rider McLain Ward with Sapphire produced clear rounds. Ireland was in second with five faults; Mexico was in third with 10 faults; Great Britain was fourth with 13 faults; Venezuela was fifth with 14 faults and Canada was sixth with 16 faults. France, New Zealand and Argentina failed to make the cut for the second round.
In the second round, Farrington delivered a clear for the United States while Torano posted an eight fault score. When Dobbs of Sussex, N.J., came home clear, the victory was sealed for the United States without Ward having to ride.
"It felt good to pull my weight on the American team," said Dobbs, 19. "All of us put in a clear round to claim the victory. I was so excited and so proud to be a part of another Nations' Cup team. It was an exciting experience."
Of his winning team, chef d'equipe George Morris noted, "Putting together the team was tricky because we are in the midst of our Olympic Trials. I am happy to have both Danielle and Hillary on this team. I would like to thank the powers that be for this Nations' Cup. It is the most colorful event we go to, it is a real sporting class. I love it."
Canada mounted a strong challenge in the second round with Mario Deslauriers and Paradigm, Mac Cone and Ole and Lamaze all jumping clear to finish on 16 faults and in the runner-up position. The Canadian Team was competing without its anchor rider, Ian Millar, whose wife, Lynn, had died one day earlier. The competition was dedicated in her honor.
"Ian Millar has been a part of every Nations' Cup team I've ever ridden," noted Lamaze who, along with his teammates, paid tribute to Lynn Millar. "I had the opportunity today to ride in his anchor position and I was able to go double clear as he has done for us so many times. For our team to rally and come back in the second round - I think Ian would be proud of us."
The Mexican Team, comprised of Eduardo Salas riding RMW Estina, Manuel Lecuona riding Sydney, Daniel Michan riding Seraldo and Jaime Guerra riding RMW Power Point, had the loudest cheering section. The team ended up third with a two-round total of 24 faults.
"When I ended up clear in the first round, I felt like I had won the Olympics!" said Daniel Michan of the roars of approval that greeted him. "It was great to be cheered on by all the Mexicans."
Ireland finished fourth overall with a score of 30 faults, Great Britain was fifth with 35 faults and Venezuela placed sixth overall with a two-round total of 59 faults.
It was an event that Equestrian Sport Productions Chief Executive Officer Mark Bellissimo was extremely proud of.
"I am very pleased with the outcome," said Bellissimo. "It was a North American final with three countries working together - the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Thank you to Hunter Harrison (CEO of title sponsor CN) for his contributions to the sport. I think it is a great starting point for all of us this year."
The CSIO5* CN Open continues with Sunday's $150,000 CN US Open Jumping Championship, presented by Cosequin, which also acts as the fifth and final United States Show Jumping Team Selection Trials for the 2008 Olympic Games. The 2008 CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising, attracts the best horses and riders from around the world to Wellington, Fla., and offers more than $5 million in prize money. For more information, please visit http://www.equestriansport.com
$75,000 FEI NATIONS CUP PRESENTED BY CN
CN Wellington Open CSIO 5* presented by Cosequin
Place Country Exhibitor Round 1 Round 2
1 USA 1 8 = 9
1191 UP CHIQUI; Kent Farrington 4 0
1164 SAPPHIRE; McLain Ward 0 dns
6304 MARLO; Danielle Torano 0 8
3043 QUINCY B; Hillary Dobbs 1 0
2 CAN 16 0 =16
2927 PARADIGM; Mario Deslauriers 4 0
2622 OLE; Mac Cone 12 0
7476 HICKSTEAD; Eric Lamaze 0 0
1604 SOUTHERN PRIDE; Karen Cudmore EL EL
3 MEX 10 14 = 24
7084 SERALDO; Daniel Michan 1 8
6020 SYDNEY; Manuel Lecuona 5 1
7990 RMW POWER POINT; Jaime Guerra 16 5
1778 RMW ESTINA; Eduardo Salas 4 9
4 IRL 5 25 = 30
7594 SEQUOYAH FARM'S UTOPIA; Edward Doyle 5 1
2447 CORONETT 2; Kevin Babington EL
142 NIGHT TRAIN; Darragh Kerins 0 12
3111 LITTLE EMIR; Shane Sweetnam 0 12
5 GBR 13 22 = 35
7948 MURKAS POM D'AMI; Peter Charles 4 9
7213 LE PRESTIGE ST LOIS; Nick Skelton 18 15
7905 LACANDA; Charlotte Platt 9 13
7589 ROLETTE; Ben Maher 0 0
6 VEN 14 45 = 59
1893 SINATRA; Pablo Barrios 2 10
5362 ALIAS; Juan Ortiz EL EL
1544 REMONTA ESCAUPIL; Leopoldo Paoli 11 22
2281 PHELOX; Francisco Martinez 1 13
7 FRA 29
7755 JOKER; Romain Marteau 16
5371 WHY NOT; Marie Hecart 5
4164 SASSICAIA II; Katie Prudent 8
8 NZL 29
6346 BALDATO; Bruce Goodin 8
7255 SITAH; Kirk Webby 4
6341 ROCKVILLE; Sharn Wordley 17
9 ARG 48
302 AMBRA 47; Federico Sztyrle 21
385 A DEMAIN; Max Amaya 9
5160 KENAVO DE BREKKA; Martin Mallo 18
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PHOTO - "Hillary Dobbs and Quincy B led the United States to victory in the $75,000 FEI Nations' Cup, presented by CN, on Friday, March 7, at the CN Winter Equestrian Festival presented by Zimmerman Advertising."
Photo Credit - Ilse Schwarz, Horse Sport USA
High resolution photographs available upon request.
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<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/hillary-dobbs-nations-cup-wins-03-08.html">Hillary Dobbs Makes it Two for Two in Nations Cup Wins!</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com