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McLain Ward Throws Down the Gauntlet in Opening 1.45m Class at WEF

But Feminism rules with Beezie Madden and Laura Chapot Claiming Victories in 1m40 Sections A and B

Wellington, FL –January 24, 2007 – When the 35th Edition of the Winter Equestrian Festival kicked off at 8:00 a.m., the sun was already high, conditions were perfect and the ground lush.

The course designer this week in the Internationale Arena is Luc Musette, whose father, Jean-Paul, was national show jumping Chef d’Equipe for Belgium for many years until he retired to take charge of juniors and young riders. Musette was not originally scheduled to build until later in the tournament, but stepped in to deputize for Uliano Vezzani who was the unfortunate victim of a recent robbery, during which he lost his passport and all his travel documents.

Class 1002/1.45m Jumper: $8,000 – Table II, Sec. 2(b)

With the hype already building to the Nations’ Cup here at Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club, the Winter Equestrian Festival opened with a U.S. vs. Canada tussle between two of show jumping’s best known stars, McLain Ward and ‘Captain Canada’ Ian Millar.

Celebrating his 60th birthday just two weeks ago, the seemingly evergreen Millar, a nine-time Olympian, on this occasion bowed to Ward’s supremacy, but delightedly claimed second and third place riding his top ranked horses, In Style and Redefin, respectively.

Exploiting an “in-at-the-deep-end” approach, and with jumping faults converting to time penalties, the opening 1m45 class offered the option of speed or respect for avery open course of imposing fences, with the top placed combinations usefully amalgamating the two ingredients necessary to finish in the ribbons. Musette was fairly sympathetic and there were no traps, and no bogey obstacle, but a few tricky rollback turns on the course riding from fences six to seven, and eight to nine.

In sparkling form, McLain Ward, from Brewster, NY, who maintained his lead from a fourth-place draw, was riding Larioso, whom he co-owns together with Blue Chip Stock. Agility and smooth handling, rather than out-and-out speed reaped the reward, and the 31-year-oldsaid, “It’s a horse we’ve had for a while and he’s going well. It was very, very big for the first day.” He concluded by saying, “It’s disappointing that every year we come and are kind of under the idea that we’re going to get a nice welcoming week, but it’s maximum height right off the bat. But he’s an experienced horse and he can handle it, so it’s a nice start.”

It was also an auspicious start to the season for Ian Millar, who immediately laughed and predicted, “Getting ready to win that Nations’ Cup again,” a reference, of course, to the Canadian team’s double of jump-off victories over the United States, in Wellington and at the Spruce Meadows Masters in Calgary, last year. He continued by saying, “It’s been a later start than usual for all the reasons we know, but you adjust your plans. Do you know, we rode outdoors until just before we came down here? That has never happened before, so all the horses are very fit and ready to go. They know how to do their job, and did it.”

Millar confirmed that In Style and Redefin are currently the top horses in his barn. “In Style would be one, and the gray two, but only because of inexperience.” Although Redefin had a lighter load at last year’s WEF, Millar’s plans have changed for 2007. “He will step up and do an equal load with In Style, and perhaps even do more as we go along. Although In Style will take the lead for the last couple of weeks, and the Nations’ Cup.” Adding that he had one especially interesting new horse for this coming Grand Prix season, “One called Rivendell whom my team mate Chris Pratt rode last year, and you’ll see him later in the tour.”

Applauding the ground conditions that greeted the riders this morning, Millar said, “That ring is fresh as can be, with a lovely bounce to it. I will tell you that maybe the ground is the best I’ve ever remembered, so I think we’re in great shape.” He continued by explaining the necessity to pace horses for what has become a long season: “The organizing committee is very clever in that regard, in that these first two weeks are limited to a maximum of 1m45, so the course designers can’t go crazy and have to rely on other aspects rather than just size, which protects the horses a lot. What I’m trying to do here is get these two ready to play, and then I’ll just slot them in as we go along and build into the last weeks.”

Naturally, the 2007 Pan American Games in July is a primary focus for the Canadian show jumping team, who need a good result in Rio de Janeiro in order to qualify for next year’s Olympic Games. “It’s very critical to the momentum of the sport [in Canada],and important for our funding to be successful.”

Despite his advancing years, Millar’s competitive motivation is undiminished, but he nonetheless laughed and said, “When that alarm goes off at 5 o’clock you wonder what you’re doing getting up in the dark, but then you turn on that video from last night and get to it.”

Fifth-placed Laura Kraut and Cedric are a partnership to watch during this WEF season, given the scope and class of this nine-year-old gray gelding who balloons over every fence in the same manner as Calvaro V – the famous gray of Swiss international Willi Melliger, who achieved European and World fame during the 90s.

Class 1004/1.40m Jumper: $6,000– Table II, Sec. A

With a small group of foreign riders getting a feel for the Palm Beach turf in the second class, a 1m40Section A, the Internationale Arena welcomed Britain’s Louise Whitaker alongside Cian O’Connor and Kerins Darragh from Ireland – opening their accounts with 9th and 10th place respectively, riding Complete and Perquin – as well as Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa.

The latter was riding the stunning gray Coeur, an extremely talented horse that’s being touted as having Olympic potential for next year in China [Hong Kong for the equestrian events], and ertainly exhibited his jumping class, albeit in “schooling” mode in Pessoa’s capable hands to finished with a 15-fault total, including time penalties. There was no doubt, however, that there’s a lot more to come from this partnership.

The 56-horse line-up several old guard favorites, including Glasgow, who finished in the ribbons, fourth under the saddle of local resident, Norman Dello Joio. Victory, however, went to Beezie Madden who leapt into the lead at the mid-way point riding her mom Kathlene Patton’s Conquest II: a tough horse to beat any day of the week when he’s on form. The pair finished with a seven-second advantage ahead of U.S. World Cup and Olympic veteran with For The Moment, Lisa Jacquin riding Obourg for Flintwoode Farms. In third place, Louisana, ridden by 18-year-old Sloan Coles – a talented youngster who had the honor of being selected to participate in last week’s George Morris Horsemanship Clinic here at the Palm Beach Polo and Equestrian Club. Given the quality of this field, finishing in the ribbons in her first outing in the Internationale Arena at this year’s WEF was no mean feat.

For Beezie Madden, she was delighted to be back in Wellington. “It feels great, all the horses have had a nice break,” adding “Conquest felt super. Actually, he showed last year, but before that he had a year off with an injury (surgical removal of a fractured hind-leg splint bone), and he feels better now than at any time last year. He’s 16 now and I think we were lucky that it didn’t turn into a soft tissue injury because we caught it in time. He’s a funny guy because he’s lazy when he’s outside, but when he goes into the ring he’s really keen and ready go.”

Arriving five years ago from Maggie Ferguson, a student of Norman Dello Joio, Madden explained that Conquest was, “a bit too careful for her [Maggie], because she wanted to do big classes. I had a horse that was very scopey and not quite as careful as I would have liked, so we did a swap and it was good for both of us.”

With regard to her plans for this year, Madden confirmed that her first priority was the World Cup final “which is my goal with Authentic, then the Pan Am Games, but I’ll pick a different horse for that. Different goals for different horses this year.”

Class 3/1.40m: $6,000 –Table II, Sec. B

Once again, a stellar line-up for the second 1m40 class of the day, including new mom Danielle Torano, who gave birth to daughter Natalia last December 8, and has only been back in the saddle for three weeks. As it happened, motherhood obviously agrees with her, as she claimed an early lead, with just one time fault, riding the nine-year-old, approved Belgian Warmblood stallion Vancouver d’Auvrey (by Heartbreaker). Soon after he arrived at her yard, around 12 months ago, Torano’s husband Jimmy said, “She’s got what I think is a really special horse. He can jump anything.” Her lead today, however, was short lived, overtaken a few riders later by Keri Potter, riding Rockford, also with one time fault, although they were eventually relegated to 11th and 12th place respectively.

Female supremacy reigned, however, when Laura Chapot clocked the first clear round riding the appropriately named Sprite, who bounced her way around the course with pony-like exuberance in 66.14 seconds, albeit with some audible “whoa” warnings from his rider. It was a “win-from-the-front” performance with some 40 riders to go, none of whom were able to eclipse the little mare’s hot speed. It was hardly surprising, considering this combination has been circuit champions in the 1m40 division for the past three years.

In his daughter’s absence, as Laura was running off to ride in other rings, Frank Chapot said, “We don’t do the big Grand Prix with Sprite down here, but we do Grand Prix at other places.” In terms of the 12-year-old mare’s origins, Chapot said Laura had been riding her for around five years, having previously been with Lyn Little.

Margie Engle, who never lacks a turn of speed when required, steered Hidden Creek’s Calippo 12 into second place with a time of 68.56, nearly four seconds ahead of Norman Dello Joio and Quriel, 72.47.

It would perhaps be safe to say that it was an opening day for “seniors,” given that the average age of the top-placed riders was around 50!

Results of Class 1002 1.45m Jumper - WEF/PBIEC Inaugural

January 24, 2007 - T/A: 81.00 – Internationale Arena

1 676 LARIOSO MCLAIN WARD 0.00 66.648

MCLAIN WARD

2 1655 IN STYLE IAN MILLAR 0.00 68.937

SUSAN GRANGE

3 1654 REDEFIN IAN MILLAR 0.00 69.453

SUSAN GRANGE

4 1658 REMONTA EDEN SANDY VAN DYKE 0.00 70.352

SANDY VAN DYKE

5 1315 CEDRIC LAURA KRAUT 0.00 74.300

K & H ENTERPRISES

6 756 TRIOMPHE DE MUZE CHRISTINE MCCREA 0.00 75.417

CANDY TRIBBLE

7 389 POPEYE NORMAN DELLO JOIO 4.00 75.153

POPEYE GROUP

8 159 RODOS LAUREN HOUGH 4.00 75.423

VICTORIA D'AGOSTINO

9 714 QUILANO DE KALVARIE CARA RAETHER 4.00 76.539

TRELAWNY FARM

10 71 INTEGRITY BEEZIE MADDEN 8.00 74.580

ABIGAIL S. WEXNER

11 1855 PIM NYALL GRIMES 8.00 75.823

GEOFF SUTTON

12 715 HOUSTON CAITLYN SHIELS 10.00 86.842

CAITLYN SHIELS



Rank Num Horse Name NAT Faults Time

Results of Class 1004.1 1.40m Jumper Sec A - WEF/PBIEC Inaugural

January 24 - 28, 2007 - T/A: 79.00 – Internationale Arena

1 76 CONQUEST II BEEZIE MADDEN 0.00 62.647

KATHLEEN PATTON

2 556 OBOURG LISA JACQUIN 0.00 69.906

FLINTWOODE FARMS

3 62 LOUISIANA SLOANE COLES 0.00 70.819

JULIE COLES

4 386 GLASGOW NORMAN DELLO JOIO 0.00 71.247

GLASGOW GROUP

5 1516 AVAILABLE LEVANTOS MARIO DESLAURIERS 0.00 72.817

AVAILABLE JPRS.COM

6 796 GREAT PLEASURE HOLLY ORLANDO 0.00 73.592

SCOTT HAKIM

7 399 ACERTIJO NORMAN DELLO JOIO 0.00 74.332

J ADALBERTO ROIG JR

8 1639 ORLEANS LAUREN HUNKIN 0.00 74.653

RIDGEFIELD HOUSE

9 3031 COMPLETE CIAN O'CONNOR 0.00 77.259

CASTLEMARTIN STUD

10 500 ORLANDO DARRAGH KERINS 0.00 77.428

DOUBLE H FARM

11 290 CHURCH ROAD MAX AMAYA 0.00 78.307

SARAH BECKER

12 891 HUMOUR DU PARC KATIE PRUDENT 1.00 79.563

MAX HAURI

Rank Num Horse Name NAT Faults Time

Results of Class 1004.2 1.40m Jumper Sec B - WEF/PBIEC Inaugural

January 27, 2007 -T/A: 82.00 – Internationale Arena

1 1366 SPRITE LAURA CHAPOT 0.00 66.142

LAURA CHAPOT

2 2732 HIDDEN CREEK'S CALIPPO 12 MARGIE ENGLE 0.00 68.561

HIDDEN CREEK FARM

3 387 QURIEL NORMAN DELLO JOIO 0.00 72.475

ANTHONY WEIGHT

4 1871 GUSTEL II ELIZA SHUFORD 0.00 76.028

ELIZA SHUFORD

5 892 SASSICAIA 11 KATIE PRUDENT 0.00 76.849

PLAIN BAY FARM

6 284 ONIRA BRIANNE GOUTAL 0.00 77.938

CLOVERLEAF FARM

7 551 GRACE LISA JACQUIN 0.00 78.576

M/M MICHAEL KENNEDY

8 503 NIGHT TRAIN DARRAGH KERINS 0.00 80.249

DOUBLE H FARM

9 1515 AVAILABLE GILMORE MARIO DESLAURIERS 0.00 81.358

AVAILABLE JPRS.COM

10 1517 PARADYGM MARIO DESLAURIERS 0.00 81.566

MARIO DESLAURIERS

11 2471 ROCKFORD I KERI POTTER 1.00 82.059

KERI POTTER

12 2589 VANCOUVER D'AUVREY DANIELLE TORANO 1.00 82.539

SIR RULY

 

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