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Up Chiqui and Farrington Race to Victory in $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 10

Tampa, FL – April 4, 2007 – The WEF Challenge Cup series came to a close today with the final round at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center in Tampa, FL. It was the last of ten rounds in the series and offered $30,000 in prize money. The Tournament of Champions, CSI is the final week of the 2007 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), and today’s class was the last chance for riders to qualify for the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational, the grand finale of WEF, which will be held at the Raymond James Stadium on Saturday, April 7, at 7 p.m.

The winner of today’s class was Kent Farrington on Up Chiqui, owned by Alex Boone, Richard Bass and James McNerney. Farrington had a spectacular jump-off ride to edge out Richard Spooner on Ace and William Lowry on Polygraaf.

Today’s course featured 13 numbered obstacles in a course designed by Great Britain’s Stephen Renouard. Nine of the 51 entries were clear to advance to the jump-off. Two riders – Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) with Rufus and Cara Raether (USA) on Ublesco – had one time fault and finished tenth and eleventh, respectively. The fastest four-faulter in 12th place was Jonathon Millar (CAN) on Noble 1.

Laura Kraut (USA) and Le Prestige St Lois, owned by the Freedom Group, were the first to return for the jump-off. It was the first of two rides for Kraut. Kraut made the first inside turn and kept a nice pace throughout. She set a clear round and a time to beat of 42.06 seconds, which would slot them into fourth place at the end of the class.

On the first of his two rides, William Lowry (USA) and Winsor Farm Sales’ Rio Corde entered the ring next. Lowry had two rails and slowed to finish the course with eight jumping and five time faults in 51.37 seconds. Beezie Madden (USA) and Play On suffered the same fate of two rails, but had a quick time of 41.75 seconds, which would hold up for sixth place.

Richard Spooner (USA) moved up in the order to go next with Ace, a nine-year-old Holsteiner stallion owned by S&B LLC Corporation. Spooner made a great slice across the first jump and made both inside turns. They finished in a blazing fast time of 38.94 seconds with a clear round, which would put them into second place after it was all said and done.

Despite Ace’s young age, he has experience going fast in a jump-off and was a grand prix winner in Thermal, CA, earlier this winter. “He’s pretty green for his age. He hasn’t done a lot of grand prix; maybe a half a dozen. I was really happy with the way he performed today,” Spooner said. “He’s done fast jump-offs before at Spruce Meadows and in Futures classes. He’s used to going fast. His inexperience wasn’t an excuse for me not winning.”

Georgina Bloomberg (USA) and Gotham Enterprizes’ Nadia moved up as well in the order. They had trouble, however, with two refusals at fence 5a. Their elimination placed them automatically into eighth place.

Kraut returned with her second ride of the jump-off, Olympia, who is owned by the Panic Partners. Kraut made a bid for the lead, but a fence down left them with four faults and a time of 44.72 seconds and fifth place.

Lowry followed with his second mount of the jump-off, Polygraaf, another Winsor Farm Sales-owned entry. Lowry and Polygraaf made the inside turns, and the nine-year-old Westphalian gelding’s gigantic stride ate up the lines. Lowry finished with a clear round and tripped the timers in 40.07 seconds, which would place him in third at the conclusion of the class.

“He’s been knocking on the door everywhere,” Lowry said of Polygraaf. “I was going to play a bit with him and try to get a good piece today. But, I didn’t want to totally let him loose either because of Saturday night. I had basically zero shot of catching Kent anyways. They are two totally different horses in an indoor ring. There’s no chance,” he added with a smile.

“Kent’s horse has a smaller stride; mine has an 18 foot step! I did six strides from fence four to the two-stride; nobody else did that. I left steps out that other people didn’t do. I pretty much rode my plan in the jump-off. I think even if I had taken more of a shot at it, I wouldn’t have been fast enough to catch Kent’s time,” he went on to say.

Farrington and Up Chiqui, a ten-year-old gelding, were next to challenge Spooner’s leading time. Farrington made incredible turns and the naturally fast Up Chiqui answered every question. Farrington made a bid at jump ten, and Up Chiqui’s huge effort carried them clear and through timers in an astonishing time of 37.01 seconds.

“My horse is really fast,” Farrington acknowledged. “When he’s going well and on form, he’s usually pretty competitive. It wasn’t a huge class, and that suited me today. I got a little lucky in the one turn where he was playing and slipped a little bit. He was really game. I rolled back really short and put a really big slice on it, and he tried his heart out.”

Ainsley Vince and Prestine were the last to go, but two refusals left them eliminated and tied for eighth place with Bloomberg.

Afterwards, Spooner explained how he thought Farrington had the faster time. “I don’t think I lost to Kent’s time, he just flat out beat me. Where he really took a chance and it paid off for him was at the oxer across the middle. That was a great ride to make up time,” Spooner explained. “We were all kind of locked on seven strides to the last jump. We all had the same time from the second to last to the last jump. He knew where he had to make it up was in those other spots. He did a great job and got it done.”

In only his second class in a covered arena, Up Chiqui rose to the occasion once again and won his second WEF Challenge Cup of the season. Farrington has qualified for the American Invitational, but is undecided on whether he will compete in the class or not. “He’s still a really green horse. I don’t know that he’s quite ready for a class like that. He had a great season, but that’s normally a course that’s geared for a more experienced horse. It’s under the lights and is very big, and they have to go straight into the ring,” he explained.

While Spooner and Ace were quite quick, Farrington believed that his horse’s quick stride helped him win this afternoon. “I watched Richard go. His horse is a really big mover, and Richard is very fast. He probably did a lot less strides than my horse, but my horse is very fast across the ground. He doesn’t spend a lot of time in the air, so that’s probably where I got him,” he said.

The Tournament of Champions continues tomorrow with jumper action in the covered arena, including the Acorn Hill 1.40m Speed Challenge.

The grand finale of the Winter Equestrian Festival is the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational, which will be held in Raymond James Stadium on Saturday, April 7, at 7 p.m. General admission tickets, which range from $25 to $40 for advance purchase, are still available by calling 877-909-9436. The final list of qualifiers for the class will be available after declarations on Thursday evening

Results of Class 101 $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup, CSI

Tournament of Champions

April 3-7, 2007

T/A: 75.00 T/A: 47.00

1 1008 UP CHIQUI KENT FARRINGTON 0.00 72.05 0.00 37.01 $9000


2 8 ACE RICHARD SPOONER 0.00 74.34 0.00 38.94 $6600


3 704 POLYGRAAF WILLIAM LOWRY 0.00 73.23 0.00 40.07 $3900


4 732 LE PRESTIGE ST LOIS LAURA KRAUT 0.00 72.67 0.00 42.06 $2400


5 733 OLYMPIA LAURA KRAUT 0.00 74.77 4.00 44.72 $1800


6 68 PLAY ON BEEZIE MADDEN 0.00 72.00 8.00 41.75 $1500


7 705 RIO CORDE WILLIAM LOWRY 0.00 74.33 13.00 51.37 $1200


T8 214 NADIA GEORGINA BLOOMBERG 0.00 71.82 elim. $900


T8 995 PRESTINE AINSLEY VINCE 0.00 73.61 elim. $900


10 424 RUFUS RODRIGO PESSOA 1.00 75.04 $600


11 79 UBLESCO CARA RAETHER 1.00 75.08 $600


12 284 NOBLE 1 JONATHON MILLAR 4.00 69.63 $600


Photo Credit: Up Chiqui and Kent Farrington, winners of the $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 10. Photo © 2007 Randi Muster.


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