Wellington, FL -
2008 Olympic gold medalist Eric Lamaze (CAN) and his young mount Coriana van Klapscheut, owned by Artisan Farms LLC, rode to victory in today's $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round Five. Today's grand prix competition had a full afternoon of entries, as riders took part to be one of the top 45 finishers to qualify for Saturday's $150,000 FEI World Cup™ Grand Prix, CSI 3*, presented by Spy Coast Farm. Following Lamaze in the victory gallop was Mario Deslauriers (USA) on Urico, owned by Jane Clark, in second place and Peter Charles (GBR) with Murka's Rubert R, owned by Olga White, for third place.
The fifth week of the FTI WEF is sponsored by Spy Coast Farm and runs through Sunday, February 14. The 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of competition that conclude on April 4, 2010, and they will be awarding almost $6 million in prize money through the circuit.
Richard Jeffery of England was today's course designer, and he set a difficult challenge to cull a jump-off from the starting list of 79 entries. With an open water jump and various technical challenges, he saw 16 clear rounds for the jump-off.
Deslauriers commented, "I thought Richard did a fantastic job. The course was great. He couldn't have hit it better. There's only so high you can build the fences for $30,000. I think he really did a good job to make us work hard enough but get good jumping. I was very happy with the class."
Jeffrey Welles (USA) and Armani, owned by Triton Ventures, opted to not return for the jump-off and took 16th place as well as a spot in Saturday night's World Cup qualifier.
The first to return in the jump-off was Laura Kraut on Happy Hill Farm's Cedric. The 2008 Olympic team gold medalists set the path in the first round, and in the jump-off they put in a clear round in 46.54 seconds, which would leave them in fifth place. The next clear round came from Deslauriers and Urico, who sped around the course thanks to Urico's natural speed and brought the winning time down to 42.47 seconds.
"I went for a nice, good, smooth clear. I know my horse is very quick anyway. I don't have to go that fast to be quick," Deslauriers noted. "If there was one that beat me, so be it. We're trying to pace ourselves so everything stays in the right focus for the (USEF WEG Show Jumping) Trials. You have to do what's best for the future."
Two horses later, Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) and Let's Fly, owned by Double H Farm, made a good bid for the lead but fell just short in 43.51 seconds for fourth place at the end of the class.
Four horses after that, it would be the class winners who entered the ring. Lamaze and Coriana van Klapscheut, an eight-year-old Belgian mare by Darco xx Heartbreaker, sped around the twisting jump-off course and galloped down to the final oxer to stop the timers in a winning 41.18 seconds.
Lamaze said of his jump-off round, "Mario is really fast. To be honest, I didn't see him go. I just tried to shorten the course as much as I could and go as fast as I could to the fences. You just try to not be wide in the turns. She's really careful, so you can come forward to a fence. I risked a lot at the last fence, for a young horse. I saw a very long distance that half way through I didn't quite believe I would get there, but I said, 'Ok, let's try it,' and she never backed up. She just kept going and she gave me a huge jump to finish. It felt like a fast round to me."
Following Lamaze, another bid for the lead came from the duo of Daniel Bluman (COL) and Fatalis Fatum, who had the fastest time of the class in 40.47 seconds, but a heartbreaking rail at the final oxer, which left them in sixth place. Charles and Murka's Rubert R were contenders as well, but their time of 42.88 seconds placed them third.
Lamaze has only had the little mare, who stands at only 15.2 hands high, since this past May. They started in the 1.25m Jumpers at Spruce Meadows in the summer before traveling to Europe. Coriana has excelled quickly in the ring. "I needed a push at first to convince me because she was so small. I knew the quality was exceptional, but you always worry about the scope when they're this small," Lamaze conceded. "For sure now it's not a question mark in my mind."
Coriana was clear in a previous WEF Challenge Cup, so Lamaze felt she was ready to compete for time in the jump-off. "She's very tiny, so she has a huge heart. She had great success in Europe jumping all of the Seven-Year-Old classes, which is what made her ready as an eight-year-old. It sounds young for this class, but when you get to compete in Europe in the biggest arenas, they learn quite quickly. That's where her experience comes from," he commented. "This is a class that I chose for her. I felt she was ready to handle a little bit of speed at this height. She's really, really special."
Tomorrow's highlight class in the jumper ring is the Spy Coast 1.40m Speed Challenge in the International Arena. The $150,000 FEI World Cup™ Grand Prix, CSI 3*, presented by Spy Coast Farm, will run on Saturday at 7 p.m. Sunday holds two major classes - the $25,000 G&C Young Riders Grand Prix at 1 p.m., followed by the $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Classic.
Final Results: $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round Five
- 1. CORIANA VAN KLAPSCHEUT: 2002 BWP mare by Darco xx Heartbreaker ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), ARTISAN FARMS LLC: 0/0/41.18
- 2. URICO: 2001 KWPN gelding by Zandor Z xx Fedor MARIO DESLAURIERS (USA), JANE CLARK: 0/0/42.47
- 3. MURKA'S RUBERT R: 1998 KWPN gelding by Mermus R xx Joost PETER CHARLES (GBR), OLGA WHITE: 0/0/42.88
- 4. LET'S FLY: 1999 Hannoverian gelding by Lordanos xx Forrest RODRIGO PESSOA (BRA), DOUBLE H FARM: 0/0/43.51
- 5. CEDRIC: 1998 Dutch gelding LAURA KRAUT (USA), HAPPY HILL FARM: 0/0/46.54
- 6. FATALIS FATUM: 1995 Hannoverian stallion by For Pleasure xx Espri DANIEL BLUMAN (COL), DANIEL BLUMAN: 0/4/40.47
- 7. CASADORA: 1996 KWPN mare by Indoctro xx Grannus LAUREN HOUGH (USA), LAURA MATEO: 0/4/42.98
- 8. TAKE OFF: 2000 KWPN mare by Numero Uno xx Indoctro ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), ARTISAN FARMS LLC and CAITLIN ZIEGLER: 0/4/43.44
- 9. TOP GUN: 2000 KWPN gelding by Corland xx Wellington BETH UNDERHILL (CAN), IRON HORSE FARM: 0/4/47.20
- 10. URBAN: 2001 Royal Dutch Warmblood gelding by Good Times xx Indoctro BLYTHE MARANO (USA), RIVERVIEW FARM LLC: 0/4/47.56
- 11. LANCO: 1997 Bavarian gelding by Lancer 3 xx Grannus CHRISTIAN FRIES (AUT), CHRISTIAN FRIES: 0/4/49.16
- 12. CARLO 273: 2001 Holsteiner gelding by Contender xx Cascavelle NICK SKELTON, BEVERLY WIDDOWSON: 0/7/52.97
- 13. SASSICAIA II: 1996 KWPN mare by Kojak xx Boreas KATHERINE MONAHAN-PRUDENT (FRA), PLAIN BAY FARM: 0/8/44.28
- 14. UNITED: 2001 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Cavalier xx Concorde KENT FARRINGTON (USA), RCG FARM: 0/8/46.90
- 15. CHAMP 163: 1999 Holsteiner stallion by Chamonix xx Coronado RODRIGO PESSOA (BRA), LEGACY STABLES LLC: 0/9/54.55
- 16. ARMANI: 1995 KWPN gelding by Guidam xx G. Ramiro Z JEFFERY WELLES (USA), TRITON VENTURES: 0/withdrew
The 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 13 through April 4. WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are "AA" rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $5.5 million in prize money will be awarded.
Photo Credit: Coriana van Klapscheut and Eric Lamaze beat a field of 79 in the $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round Five at the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Photo © 2010 Randi Muster/Mustphoto, Inc., Official Sport Photographer of the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival.