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Super Mario Deslauriers Achieves Victory in Open Jumper Championship at WEF

Minikus and Pessoa Round Out Three Horse Jump-off

Wellington, FL – March 11, 2007 – Riding last in a three horse jump-off, Mario Deslauriers kept the Canadian flag flying when he and Paradigm raced to the win in the $150,000 CN U.S. Open Jumper Championship CSIO 5*, presented by Cosequin. Todd Minikus (USA) finished second with Pavarotti, while Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) and Coeur were third.

Today’s track offered the most difficult challenge seen so far at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). The course designer for the week of the CN Wellington Open CSIO 5*, presented by Cosequin is Jose “Pepe” Gamarra of Bolivia. The course had wide, rolling turns through 13 numbered obstacles. The open water was used, as was a triple combination and a tight time allowed of 74 seconds, which was then increased to 80 seconds after the third rider. Twelve horses had four faults, while 13 had time faults. There were nine retirements and one fall.

“When I walked the course, I thought maybe five or six would be clear,” Deslauriers expressed. “I think it’s the biggest we’ve jumped so far this year here. You needed a little scope today. The time allowed was very tight. The ground is a little slippery, so to make the tight turns is a little difficult. It was fair, but at the same time, difficult. It was a good test.”

Todd Minikus and Pavarotti, owned by Todd Minikus Ltd, were the first to clear the opening course. They rode out of the eighth position in the order. Three horses later, Pessoa and Coeur, owned by Double H Farm, breezed through for a clear round.

Lisa Silverman (USA) and Obelix R had no jumping faults, but stopped the timers in 83.02 seconds for one time fault. Eighteen-year-old Brianne Goutal (USA) and Casar (DE) had a great effort, but they just missed joining the jump-off with four faults. Their speedy time of 76.06 seconds was good enough to hold on to fifth place.

Minikus was the first to return for the jump-off and opted for a wider turn from the first to the second jump. Pavarotti slipped in the turn to the third jump and gave a huge attempt to clear the next fence. He made the short, turning rollback from fence eight to nine and galloped home clear in a time of 47.59 seconds.

“Unfortunately, I had to go first, and it’s not like I’ve got slow and slower following me,” Minikus joked. “I was a little slow to number two and slipped so bad turning back to jump three. My horse did an amazing job. He felt like he actually left the ground from his knees at that vertical. I did eight to the train [fence], and Mario left one out there. It’s maybe not normally my style to be cautious. I was hoping they might make mistakes, but they didn’t. What are you going to do?”

With the big horse Coeur, Pessoa made short turns, but tried to make up time down the last line by leaving out a stride. Coeur got to the fence early and just caught the front rail with his hind feet. Pessoa had the time in 46.98 seconds, but had four faults.

“My horse is a little bit of a slow horse with a big jump. The conditions today with the slippery turns everywhere, you had to be cautious. For me, the only place to really make time was in that last line because it was on a straight line,” Pessoa explained. “I thought it was possible to do the seven [strides]. I got a little bit surprised at how big his stride is. When I landed off the vertical and I went for the seven, he responded really well. I got there even in a short seven, and he didn’t have time to pick up the hind end clear. On the rest, he jumped really well. I’m pleased with his performance. We’re getting to know each other, and it looks good for the weeks and months to come.”

Deslauriers and Paradigm, a 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding that Deslauriers owns himself, were the final combination in the ring. Deslauriers knew he would have to be quick to catch Minikus, but careful enough to be clean. The big chestnut galloped through the turns and with the momentum over fence eight, Deslauriers chose to go around a fence in a rollback to fence nine. He sped through the last line and stopped the clock just ahead of Minikus in 47.03 seconds.

“I watched Rodrigo go, and his horse is a big mover. One-two-three was very quick for me. I hit that second oxer on the go. I tried to stay on the same track, but he turned inside after the train (fence eight). I left one [stride] out to the train and there was no way for me to turn inside. I tried to keep going and coming out of the turn forward,” Deslauriers recalled. “My horse is quick, I know that. I knew it was close, but I couldn’t have told you how close.”

Footing was the main concern of the riders in today’s class, but as Minikus put it eloquently, “At this point, I think that discussing the footing is an over-exercised issue. I’m sure it will be taken care of, and it needs to be taken care of. We jump for a lot of money next week, so I hope everybody’s on the job. You’d hate to let these horses go this far through the circuit and not have a fair chance on the last week when it’s really important.”

Hunter Harrison is the CEO of CN, this week’s title sponsor, and owner of Coeur. Harrison thought today’s class was “a wonderful competition.” He added, “Besides the surface, I think it’s a wonderful competition, and I think it’s a sign that Wellington is rising to the next level. With a couple of changes here and there, we could be competing with the best venues in the world.”

Harrison smiled about his reaction to Coeur’s rail at the last jump. “I was not thrilled!” he exclaimed. “My daughter Cayce rode Coeur up until her accident last year. He just came off an injury, and Rodrigo’s only had three or four classes on him. I’m elated to be sitting here at this table. That’s a big accomplishment.”

The final week of WEF in Wellington, the CN Worldwide Wellington Finale, CSI-5*, begins on Wednesday, March 14, and runs through Sunday, March 18, 2007. It is a member event of the CN Worldwide Global Champions Tour and will feature the €300,000 CN Worldwide Florida Open, now the richest show jumping event in the United States, on Saturday afternoon.

Results of 106 - $150,000 CN US Open Jumper Championship

CN Wellington Open CSIO 5*

March 7 thru 11, 2007

T/A: 80.00 T/A: 48.00

1 2343 PARADIGM MARIO DESLAURIERS CAN 0.00 77.97 0.00 47.03 $50000


2 2841 PAVAROTTI TODD MINIKUS USA 0.00 78.08 0.00 47.59 $30000


3 1148 COEUR RODRIGO PESSOA BRA 0.00 78.67 4.00 46.98 $20000


4 559 OBELIX R LISA SILVERMAN USA 1.00 83.02 $12000


5 54 CASAR BRIANNE GOUTAL USA 4.00 76.06 $10000




7 1957 INTEGRITY BEEZIE MADDEN USA 4.00 76.75 $5000


8 3077 SAPPHIRE MCLAIN WARD USA 4.00 77.85 $3500




10 2287 ANTHEM LAURA KRAUT USA 4.00 79.75 $2500




12 1468 HICKSTEAD ERIC LAMAZE CAN 5.00 80.77 $1500


Photo Credit: Mario Deslauriers (CAN) and Paradigm, winners of the $150,000 CN U.S. Open Jumper Championship, presented by Cosequin, at the Winter Equestrian Festival. Photo © 2007 Peter Llewellyn/PMG Pictures.


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