2007 Winter Equestrian Festival Nutrena/Western Hay Wellington Classic Wrap-Up
January 31-February 4, 2007
Wellington, FL – February 5, 2007, 2007 – The second week of the 2007 Winter Equestrian Festival concluded yesterday afternoon at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington, FL.
The second week of the Winter Equestrian Festival, the CSI2* Nutrena/Western Hay Wellington Classic, saw a total of 58 competitors line up to attempt the challenging track devised by Canadian course designer and 1976 Olympic silver medalist, Michel Vaillancourt. Laura Chapot and Little Big Man held it together for the win.
Riding eighth in the order, Mario Deslauriers kept Canadian hopes alive for a second consecutive Sunday victory by posting a clear round with his Belgian-bred mare, Naomi. His faultless performance was immediately duplicated by Laura Chapot and Little Big Man to ensure a jump-off.
Another 33 riders attempted to join Deslauriers and Chapot in the tie-breaker, but it was not until Olympic Champion Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil took to the field that another clear round was posted. Lisa Silverman also got the job done on Flubber Cocoy, giving the United States two chances at victory.
In the jump-off, Deslauriers, who still holds the record for being the youngest World Cup Champion at the age of 19, set the early pace, guiding Naomi home clear in a time of 43.95 seconds. Chapot and Little Big Man then nipped around the course in a time of 43.21 seconds to overtake the lead.
Pessoa's hopes for victory were diminished when Oasis lost a shoe over the first fence. When another shoe went flying mid-way through the course, Pessoa was lucky to come home safely in a time of 43.44 seconds to move into second.
A dropped rail for Silverman told the final story, giving the win to Chapot and Little Big Man, her 13-year-old chestnut thoroughbred gelding.
Jumper Results-Wednesday through Saturday
In the opening competition on Wednesday, a 1.45m Table II Speed Class at USEF Level 8, Britain’s Nick Skelton, who missed the first week at WEF, launched Russel out of the starting blocks, and the gray stallion responded with relish to take the blue ribbon and prize money.
In the first of two sections in the Jumper Division Table II 1.40m Speed Class, Laura Chapot scored a superb win riding her bouncy 12-year-old gray mare, Sprite – by the legendary Selle Français sire, Quidam de Revel.
In the second section of this Jumper Division, there were few riders once again prepared to go hell-for-leather over the user-friendly course. Germany’s Markus Beerbaum, another new arrival from Europe this week, rarely gives any quarter, and gave Constantin 24 a foot-perfect round in 65.116 seconds. Margie Engle held Hidden Creek’s Calippo 12 together, stopping the clock in 59.575 seconds for the win.
In Thursday’s $25,000 WEF Challenge Cup Grand Prix, Eric Lamaze of Schomburg, Ontario, Canada, had three chances to win. On Lorrain Z, owned by Ashland Stables, he came away with the top prize over fellow Canadian Ian Millar and Redefin and Irishman Conor Swail on Nepomuk.
The course was set at 1.45m and had 14 numbered jumps and 17 jumping efforts, including an open water. Ten horses were clear, one horse was clear with a time fault, and six horses either retired or were eliminated.
The first to return for the jump-off was Lamaze on one of his three qualified horses. Lamaze set a quick, clear pace on Why Not for the rest of the field to follow in 42.54 seconds. Following him was Lisa Jacquin on Obourg, who carried a good pace but were just off Lamaze’s time in 43.19 seconds.
The crowd waited for a short while as Lamaze warmed up his next horse, Hickstead. Lamaze and his World Equestrian Games mount ate up the ground with a big stride, but they were not quite fast enough. They stopped the timers with a clear round in 41.34 seconds. The third Canadian in the jump-off took to the ring next. Mario Deslauriers and Available Levantos were on a good rate, but an added stride before fence 11 caused four faults. They finished in 42.45 seconds.
The lead would change hands next with Lamaze’s third ride of the day, Lorrain Z. The talented mare was quick in the air and across the ground, and they tripped the timers in 39.95 seconds.
Conor Swail and Nepomuk galloped through the jump-off, and the big horse made the best inside turn of the day to the final line, but they could not quite catch Lamaze. They posted a clear round in 40.49 seconds.
On Friday, the High Amateur-Owner Jumpers opened the day at 10:00 am in the Internationale Arena with a group of quality amateur riders and horses unlike anywhere else in the world. The $2,500 purse was sponsored by Nutrena/Western Hay Wellington and ran under a Power and Speed format. Carolyn Kelly went early on her brown mare Omona AW and set a speed that would not be broken. Tracey Weinberg and Larone came in a close second and Megan Johnstone was third on Kiss Me Des Joncs.
The High Junior Jumpers were next with $2,500 in prize money, also generously sponsored by Nutrena/Western Hay Wellington. Heaudine, ridden by Aimee Aron, took home the top check followed by Pedro and Maggie McAlary, then Wokina and Addison Phillips.
The $6,000 Acorn Hill 1.40m Speed Challenge went last with so many entries that the division was split into two sections of 50 competitors. Section A was off to a fast start as Molly Ashe and Lutopia, owned by Jane Clark, whizzed around easily in 65.996 seconds. The seasoned pair looked unbeatable, and they proved to be.
The Saturday morning feature, the $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Amateur/Owner Jumper Classic, saw forty starters go to the 10 a.m. post in a class scored under Table II, Sec. 2 (a) - Time First Jump-Off.
New York City’s Carolyn Kelly took the early lead in the speed phase with Riant, the first of her two mounts. Kelly cruised home comfortably with a clear round in 43.217 seconds. Kelly lost her lead two horses later to Wellington’s Marley Goodman.
Goodman and her mount Ronya knocked a full two seconds off of Kelly’s leading time, moving to the top spot on the leader board with a clean round in a hasty finish time of 41.133 seconds.
Goodman’s quick time forced others to chase, and the next three competitors in the ring all had faults in their pursuit of the lead in the Saturday Classic.
Kelly, a previous Hall of Fame Classic winner at WEF as a Junior Jumper rider, returned next on Omona AW, in search of her first victory in the Amateur/Owner division. Picking a speedy pace from the beginning, Kelly made the task look easy, breaking the beams in 39.585 seconds, a full second and a half faster than Goodman. She then withstood a final challenge from Tonya Henning of Canada, who caught her time (39.262 seconds) with Millcreek’s Rosalind, but pulled a rail in the process.
Hunter Results- Thursday through Sunday
The Pre-Green Hunter 3’ division had more than 70 entries and was split into two sections. In Section “A,” it was Way Cool and Scott Stewart of Flemington, NJ, who brought home the tricolor. Reserve champion went to Sandy Ferrell riding Emerson, owned by BF Associates LLC. In the “B” section, it was Stewart again earning the championship on Night Life, owned by River’s Edge Farm.
In the Pre-Green Hunter 3 & 4 Year Olds division, Sandy Ferrell and Prestwick came out on top. The pair took second place over fences on Wednesday and blue ribbons in the over fences and under saddles classes Thursday. Prestwick is owned by Megan Fellows. Jay Matter and Candelabra jumped to the reserve championship position.
The Grand Hunter Ring hosted Regular Conformation, Regular Working and Second-Year Green hunters again, and Tim Goguen repeated his championship performance from last week in both the Second Year Green Hunters and the Green Conformation Hunters.
In a repeat performance from last week, Scott Stewart was again pinned champion in the First Year Green Hunters, section “A,” at the second week of the 2007 Winter Equestrian Festival. Riding Ovation, owned by Molly Ohrstrom, Stewart swept the field and earned a total of 36 points on the bay. The pair were first in both over fences classes on Thursday, and were first and second over fences and in the hack on Friday, respectively. He also garnered the reserve championship with 14 points on Honored, owned by Karen Long Dwight.
In the second section of the First Years, Patricia Griffith and Positano maintained their winning streak and earned the championship for the second week in a row. The 18-hand bay Warmblood gelding won all four jumping classes over the two-day period. Stewart and Winter Place, who earned a tricolor last week, took the reserve placing in section “B.”
In the Adult Amateur Hunter 3’3” division, Francis Briggs brought home the tricolor again this week on Skyy, who is owned by Salamander Farm.
The USEF Show Jumping Talent Search classes and the WIHS Equitation divisions, which were split into “A” and “B” sections, crowned their champions on Friday, with Julie Welles, Kimberly McCormack, Emma Lipman and Grace Socha bringing home the honors.
In the Amateur-Owner Hunters Over 35 division, Katie Jacobs Robinson and Blush took their second championship in as many weeks at WEF, with two firsts, one second and one third over the two days of competition. Reserve championship went to Caroline Moran and Just Jack.
Also winning their second championship of the festival was Alexandra Stathis and Davis Cup in the Small Junior 16 & 17 Hunters. In her last year of junior competition, Stathis is off to a good start.
In section “A” of the Adult Amateur 18 to 35 Hunter division, Sloan Brown and Stella Blue earned the tricolor with a two firsts, a second and a third. The pair took the reserve championship in the same division last week.
In the second section of the Adult Amateur 18 to 35 Hunter division, Visse Wedell piloted Maven, her 8-year-old Westphalian mare to the championship. Catherine Jaffe and Rigoletto were reserve champion.
In the 36-50 Adult Amateur Hunters division, section “A,” Victoria Watters piloted Eye Remember Rio to the top spot. This is the pair’s fourth WEF together, and they have been reserve circuit champion twice, as well as winning the adult classic in Washington this past year. Reserve champion in section “A” of the middle Adult Amateurs was Glen Senk on True, owned by Fashion Farm. The “B” section of the division was swept by Kelly Klein on Cozzi and Oz, taking champion and reserve, respectively.
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