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Scott Stewart & Beyond Win WEF International Hunter Derby Round 1

WELLINGTON, Fla., Mar, 20--Scott Stewart pulledout his secret weapon, Beyond, on Thursday to win the first round of the $50,000 International Hunter Derby at the CN Winter Equestrian Festival presented by Zimmerman Advertising.

Stewart, of Wellington Fla., and the 10-year-old brown gelding, were the second the last to go and overtook the field of 59, beating Erynn Ballard who held the lead from the 11th position in the order of go at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

Several hundred spectators crowded around the Grand Hunter Field for the first round of the 2008/2009 ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Challenge Derby presented by Dietrich & Co. featuring Walsh Harness & Saddlery.

The final round will be held Friday night with a course designed by Britain's Richard Jeffery in the International Arena under lights,

Stewart bought the six-year-old Thoroughbred-cross in Germany and to keep him as his personal competition mount. The pair started in the Second Year Hunters.

Since then he placed champion or reserve in many major horse shows, including Devon, and the Capital Challenge. Stewart competed Beyond in Hunter Spectacular Week at PBIEC. Beyond was champion in the Regular Working Hunters last week as a warmup to the International Hunter Derby. This will be Beyond's third week showing at WEF.

Stewart said he reserves this secret weapon for only the best classes.

"I was gearing toward this week since Hunters Spectacular Week," he said. "Tomorrow night's class was the main focus for him.

"I thought the course rode great," he said of Bobbie Murphy's design. "In the beginning I was afraid it would be a little equitational. I wasn't too sure about the rocks on the course. It was strange coming from the sparse hunter's course to this boldness"

Stewart and Beyond are ready for the final field of 25 Friday night.

"I'm hoping he'll be good tomorrow," he said. "He's usually quite good. He's always different under the lights, but he's not usually spooky."

He said that although Beyond has never been ridden on the bank in the International Arena that designer Jeffery said he is incoporating for Friday night, "he's such a brave horse, he'll be fine."

Erynn Ballard of Hillsburgh, Ontario, and the nine-year-old bay stallion Cabardino, owned by Jennifer O'Neil, from Orangeville, Ontario, took second place.

The pair held first place almost to the end.

Last week, Ballard and Cabardino were reserve to Stewart and Beyond in the Regular Working Hunter's.

Cabardino was originally bought by Ballard to be a jumper but, she said, because of his beautiful style, she started him in the hunter division two years ago. Cabardino is a breeding stallion so she doesn't get the opportunity to show him often. This is his fourth week competing at WEF.

"He was second and fifth in the Regular Working Hunters this week", Ballard said, "but I didn't want to finish the division because I wanted him fresh for today.

"The course was fantastic and he was impressed with the rocks and the different jumps. I started off in a rush coming from the WEF (Challenge Cup jumping), but he warmed up great.

"If I had gone last, maybe I would have held back a little. Like I said last week, it is an honor to finish second to Scott Stewart."

The final round begins at 7 p.m. Friday night in the International Arena.

About...

CN is a leader in North American and worldwide freight transportation. CN is the only railroad crossing North America east-west and north-south serving ports on the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts to link customers in all three NAFTA nations--the USA, Canada and Mexico. CN Worldwide makes global trade a reality.

Zimmerman Advertising, based in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, is an Omnicom Group company and the 15th largest advertising agency in the U.S. Offices are in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco and Atlanta.

FTI exists to help companies and their stakeholders protect and enhance enterprise value. FTI is the trusted advisor entrenched in many of the game-changing events that make headlines, move markets and create business history.



PHOTO: Scott Stewart and Beyond won the first round of the International Hunter Derby Thursday at the CN Winter Equestrian Festival presented by Zimmerman Advertising. Photo: Bobbi Rottman.



 

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