Wellington, FL- The reigning Olympic individual gold medalist, Eric Lamaze of Canada, was in top form today when he qualified all three of his mounts for the jump-off. He took home the top prize in the $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round Three on Ultra Boy, owned by Ashland Stables, over a field of 18 in the jump-off.
Today's class is part of the third week of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), and the week three title sponsor is Nespresso. The 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of competition that conclude on April 4, 2010, and the circuit will be awarding almost $6 million in prize money through the circuit.
There were 54 entries in today's grand prix. The course was designed by Olaf Petersen, Jr. of Germany, and it featured 13 numbered obstacles. Eighteen were clear through to the jump-off, which had two turns where riders could shave precious time off. Lamaze and his first mount, Ronaldo, also an Ashland Stables-owned entry, were the early leaders with a clear round in 38.16 seconds.
That lead would change hands when Brianne Goutal and Ballade van het Indihof, owned by Remarkable Farms LP, made a daring run to the final jump to lower the winning time to 37.91 seconds.
Lamaze immediately followed Goutal on Ultra Boy, a nine-year-old KWPN stallion by Heartbreaker xx Jus de Pomme. Lamaze made an excellent left-hand turn to the triple bar, which led in to the double combination. Lamaze kept up his thrilling pace in the right-hand rollback to the G&C wall jump and then galloped to the final oxer. He was clear in a time of 36.49 seconds. This would hold up through six other riders for the win.
"I think I won it to the triple bar," Lamaze revealed. "I was very, very short to the triple bar and he didn't blink. You put your faith in the horse at that point. You're committed, and you hope they do the right thing. The great horses sense that."
He added about Ultra Boy, "I don't know him that well in a jump-off. I've never gone this fast with him, ever. I was very happy with how he handled the speed. He kept the height of his jump. I'm looking forward to a great season with him. I'll see how he feels, there's a chance I might ride him on Sunday."
Coming close to Lamaze's time was Pablo Barrios (VEN) on G&C Quick Star 11, owned by Gustavo and Carolina Mirabal. They had a slower last line and finished in 36.92 seconds. Lauren Hough and Highlife Farms' Prezioso S were also quick in 37.41 seconds for third place.
Lamaze has had Ultra Boy for two years and believes that he is ready to compete at the top level. The Fleischhackers of Ashland Stables and Lamaze purchased from Stephex Stables. Lamaze said, "I've been really taking my time with him. I did some indoor shows with him this winter and was looking forward to stepping up with him here in Florida."
He went on to say, "He has a quality of Hickstead and a winning mind of a horse like that. He just has to do as much as a horse like that! He has a character of his own; he doesn't really like to work. I have a good rapport with him, and I feel competitive with him."
Lamaze believes that with the support of his owners, he can bring along young horses that need time to develop into champions. "You wait for your turn to come and bring them along and see what happens," he explained. "The Fleischhackers are great owners. When you have great owners that let you bring the horses along, it's really nice. We can only make them up as nice as our owners allow us to do it. I'm lucky to have great people."
Earlier in the day, Louis Jacobs of East Aurora, NY, rode Deeridge Farm's Kachina to the win in the $8,000 Sentient Jet 1.45m Time First Jump-off class. They won over a field of 40 other entries with a double clear performance and jump-off time of 32.122 seconds. Jeffrey Welles, riding Abigail Wexner's Zycarla Z, were second in 32.161 seconds. Angela Covert-Lawrence scored another top three finish in the division on Utan, owned by Eastwood Group. They were double clear in 32.321 seconds.
The third week of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival continues tomorrow with the Spy Coast 1.40m Speed Challenge. The $55,000 Nespresso Battle of the Sexes will run on Saturday, January 30, at 7 p.m., following a special exhibition of the Budweiser Clydesdales. On Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m., the $75,000 Nespresso Grand Prix, CSI 2* will round out the competition for the week.
Final Results: $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round Three
- 1. ULTRA BOY: 2001 KWPN Stallion, Heartbreaker xx Jus de Pomme ERIC LAMAZE, ASHLAND STABLES: 0/0/36.490
- 2. G&C QUICK STAR 11: 2000 KWPN Mare, Quick Star xx Grannus PABLO BARRIOS, GUSTAVO & CAROLINA MIRABAL: 0/0/36.920
- 3. PREZIOSO S: 1996 German WB Stallion, Pilox xx Syndikat LAUREN HOUGH, HIGHLIFE FARMS: 0/0/37.410
- 4. MUSTIQUE: 1997 KWPN Mare, Indoctro xx Grannus YANN CANDELE, SUSAN GRANGE: 0/0/37.550
- 5. SASSICAIA II: 1996 KWPN Mare, Kojak xx Boreas KATHERINE MONAHAN-PRUDENT, PLAIN BAY FARM: 0/0/37.560
- 6. BALLADE VAN HET INDIHOF: 2001 BWP Mare, Thunder van de Zuuthoeve xx Heartbreaker BRIANNE GOUTAL, REMARKABLE FARMS LP: 0/0/37.910
- 7. RONALDO: 1998 KWPN Gelding, Heartbreaker xx Voltaire ERIC LAMAZE, ASHLAND STABLES: 0/0/38.160
- 8. PAVAROTTI: 1997 KWPN Gelding, Lancelot xx Renville TODD MINIKUS, TODD MINIKUS LTD: 0/0/38.340
- 9. VICOMTE D: 1998 BWP Gelding, Flamenco de Semilly xx Randel Z MARIO DESLAURIERS, JANE CLARK: 0/0/38.620
- 10. PITAREUSA: 1997 KWPN Mare, Andiamo xx Legaat YANN CANDELE, SUSAN GRANGE:0/0/39.280
- 11. PROMISED LAND: 1994 Holsteiner Gelding, N. Eingetragen xx LenzCHRISTINE MCCREA, CANDY TRIBBLE & WINDSOR SHOW STABLES: 0/0/39.290
- 12. G5: 1996 KWPN Gelding, Concorde xx Fruhling CHRIS PRATT, INDIGO FARMS LLC: 0/0/42.000
- 13. RAIMOND W: 1998 KWPN Gelding, Indorado xx Glennridge LESLIE HOWARD, LESLIE HOWARD: 0/0/43.090
- 14. G&C SINATRA: 1999 KWPN Gelding, Epilot xx Libero H PABLO BARRIOS, PABLO BARRIOS / GUSTAVO & CAROLINA MIRABAL: 0/4/38.830
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: Eric Lamaze and Ultra Boy won the $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round Three at the third week of the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Photo © 2010 Randi Muster/Mustphoto, Inc., Official Sport Photographer of the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival.