Wellington, FL - March 31, 2011 -Chris Kappler and VDL Dundee earned a win in the $2,500 Charles Owen 1.35m Jumpers this morning during the twelfth and final week of the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Held in the DeNemethy Ring of the beautiful Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, the class featured a course set by Pierre Jolicoeur of Wellington, FL. Kappler and VDL Dundee bested a field of 22 to earn the top prize.
Running through Sunday, April 3, this week's feature events will include the $20,000 Junior/Amateur Jumper Zone Team Competition Final on Friday at 7 p.m., Round 1 of the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby on Friday at 2 p.m., Round 2 of the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby on Saturday at 7 p.m., and the Finals for the Adequan Young Jumpers on Sunday.
The $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby will be webcast live on USEF Network and can be seen here: http://www.usefnetwork.com/WEFDerby2011/.
Nine entries were able to jump clear over the first round course in today's 1.35m and six of those nine finished double clear through the short course. Time was the final deciding factor of the day's standings, and Chris Kappler and VDL Dundee crossed the finish line in the fastest time of 28.326 seconds to earn the win.
Jimmy Torano and Wishfull V, owned by Amy Hentenaar, finished in second place in 28.507 seconds. Laura Chapot and Valentia, owend by Mary Chapot, placed third with a time of 28.930 seconds. Margie Engle and Elm Rock LLC's Perle stopped the clock in 30.219 seconds to finish fourth. Robin Fairclough piloted Veerle, owned by James Fairclough, to a time of 30.830 seconds to place fifth, and Raymond Texel rode Lacey Gilbertson's Namos to the only final double clear in 33.470 seconds to finish in sixth place.
Class winner VDL Dundee is an eight-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding by Calvados x Wolfgang, owned by Sand Castle Farm. The talented young gelding is a two-time Winter Equestrian Festival Circuit Champion with Kappler in the irons, earning the Six-Year-Old Young Jumper championship in 2009 and the Seven-Year-Old Young Jumper championship in 2010. Now in his eight-year-old year, VDL Dundee is gradually moving up the ranks. He won the Charles Owen 1.35m during Week 2, his first week showing on this year's circuit, and has now come full circle with a win in his final class of the circuit.
Kappler praised VDL Dundee on his excellent temperament and explained that he has high hopes for the horse's future. "Dundee has been a really fun horse for me to bring up and bring along," he smiled. "The Dammermans have been very patient with him, letting him come along at his own pace. They are always great owners. He is just a really cool horse; every time you go in the ring you feel like you can have a chance to win with him."
"He is one of the most conventional horses I have ridden," Kappler added. "He has a great canter and he can always fit a stride in or leave one out. He is so efficient with the way he jumps and his style, which I think is going to allow him to jump a lot bigger than many people think."
Kappler hopes to gradually move VDL Dundee up to the grand prix level. He explained, "We are going to keep trying to go in that direction. He has been doing some of the bigger 1.40m classes down here and doing really well. We plan to just keep inching him up little by little and I am hoping that he will be ready to do some grand prix classes this summer."
Kappler is sponsored by Charles Owen and was proud to represent the brand with his rides throughout the circuit. "It has been a really fun circuit and Dundee has been great, from his first class to his last class, and all the way in between," he acknowledged. "Charles Owen has been very involved with the horse show this year. They did such a beautiful party in the Wellington Club during the World Cup grand prix and they displayed all of their new helmets. They have some really great new concept helmets that are coming out that I think people are really going to like in the future. They still use a very traditional style (also), but I think they are going with some of the new styles, some sportier looking helmets, and I think people are going to really like them."
The twelfth and final week of competition at the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival will continue tomorrow with Round 1 of the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby in the Grand Hunter Ring at 2 p.m. and the $20,000 Junior/Amateur Jumper Zone Team Competition Final in the International Arena at 7 p.m.
Final Results: $2500 Charles Owen 1.35m Jumpers
1 VDL DUNDEE CHRIS KAPPLER SAND CASTLE FARM: 0/0/28.326
2 WISHFULL V JIMMY TORANO AMY HENTENAAR: 0/0/28.507
3 VALENTIA LAURA CHAPOT MARY CHAPOT: 0/0/28.930
4 PERLE MARGIE ENGLE ELM ROCK LLC: 0/0/30.219
5 VEERLE JAMES FAIRCLOUGH ROBIN FAIRCLOUGH: 0/0/30.830
6 NAMOS RAYMOND TEXEL LACEY GILBERTSON: 0/0/33.470
7 PATINA MICHAEL DORMAN WYNDMONT: 0/4/29.988
8 O'VOL DE LA ROQUE CARA RAETHER TRELAWNY FARM LLC: 0/4/30.428
9 RENDITION CYNTHIA JOHNSON CYNTHIA JOHNSON: 0/8/29.079
10 ALSVID RICHARD MOLONEY EQUINIMITY LLC: 1/76.270
11 DYNAMYTE EMILY HERTZ WOOD RUN FARM: 1/76.695
12 RAMSES SARAH SEGAL ROBERT SEGAL: 4/72.147
Photo Credit: Chris Kappler and VDL Dundee won the $2,500 Charles Owen 1.35m during week 12 at the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Photo © Sportfot, Official Sport Photographer of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, www.sportfot.com.