Wellington, FL - - The fifth week of competition at the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), sponsored by Fidelity Investments®, concluded on Sunday with a win for Jessica Springsteen (USA) and Davendy S in the $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic. Competing in the International Ring at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), Springsteen topped an 18-horse jump-off to win over Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Rosana du Park in second, and Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Unbelievable 5 in third. The 12-week WEF circuit runs through April 3 offering more than $9 million in prize money.
Bob Ellis (GBR) set his final international track of the week for 67 starters in Sunday's Suncast® 1.50m. With big prize money on the line, 18 entries cleared the first round course to advance to the jump-off. In round two, eight of those also jumped clear on the short track.
Springsteen and Stone Hill Farm's Davendy S got their first win of the WEF circuit with a super fast round in 37.71 seconds. The duo pushed Eric Lamaze and Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable's Rosana du Park into second place with their round in 37.85 seconds. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Windward Farm and Jessica Suida's Unbelievable 5 clocked in third in 38.28 seconds. Fourth place honors went to Shane Sweetnam and Spy Coast Farm LLC's Cyklon 1083 with a time of 38.87 seconds.
Springsteen and Davendy S have been in the top ribbons multiple times this season, but had yet to get a win with the fierce competition at WEF. Earlier in the week, the pair set an early pace in Wednesday's $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m Classic, but eventually settled for fourth place. On Friday, they held the lead in the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic, but were pushed into second place by Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083. In Sunday's 1.50m, it was finally their turn to take the victory.
"I was so determined to win today," Springsteen stated. "I was really fast on Wednesday and I just messed up one line and finished fourth. Here, if you are not on it everywhere, that is what happens. Then on Friday I was second. Shane Sweetnam got my time at the very end. So today, I was just going for it, and she was amazing. She tries so hard every time."
Springsteen made her plan with the 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Pachat II) and tried to go as fast as she could "without losing her head". "When the fences are higher, you can not go as crazy fast, so I do not think I went any faster than I have been going," Springsteen noted. "With a class like this it is a little bit more tough. I went as fast as I could and she tried so hard. I got away with that second to last jump."
Springsteen began training with Edwina Tops Alexander in 2015 and has also had help from Ben Maher throughout the winter circuit in Wellington. "I have been training with Edwina over in Holland, but they do not come down here, so I have been training with Ben Maher here, and it has been great," Springsteen explained. "Ben is so relaxed and he gives you so much confidence. He is really clear, so it has been good. The horses are jumping great and it is nice to be back down here in one place for a while. It has been going well."
While her top mount, Vindicat W, is sidelined with an injury, Springsteen is bringing along some new mounts this winter. "Right now I am just focusing on getting all of my horses going well, and getting back into the groove of jumping the bigger grand prix, which I have not been able to do in a while," she noted.
After jumping so well this week, Davendy S will now have a break before coming back to compete later in the circuit. "Mostly I will just aim for the 5* (shows) with her, doing the speeds and the 1.50m classes," Springsteen stated. "I will keep her in her comfort zone that she likes to be in. She is so competitive in these classes, so I will keep aiming towards those."
WEF continues in week six with World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) competition featured in the International Ring from February 17-21, 2016, while the international jumpers compete at The Stadium at PBIEC, both in the Global International Ring and the grass derby field, in their CSI 3* events all week. For more information and full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.
Final Results: $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic
1. DAVENDY S: 2003 Belgian Warmblood mare by Kashmir van Schuttershof x Pachat II JESSICA SPRINGSTEEN (USA), Stone Hill Farm: 0/0/37.71
2. ROSANA DU PARK: 2005 Selle Francais mare by Kannan ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Artisan Farms & Torrey Pines Stable: 0/0/37.85
3. UNBELIEVABLE 5: 2001 KWPN gelding by Manhattan x Democraat MEREDITH MICHAELS-BEERBAUM (GER), Windward Farm & Jessica Suida: 0/0/38.28
4. CYKLON 1083: 2001 Swedish Warmblood stallion by Cardento x Cortus SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Spy Coast Farm LLC: 0/0/38.87
5. FLOWER: 2005 Belgian Warmblood mare by Bon Ami x Randel Z NINA FAGERSTROM (FIN), Nina Fagerstrom: 0/0/40.34
6. AIYETORO: 2005 KWPN gelding by Concorde x Colino HARRIE SMOLDERS (NED), Copernicus Stables LLC: 0/0/41.01
7. QUISTER: 2004 Selle Francais gelding by Kannan x Eyken des Fontenis BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Abigail Wexner: 0/0/41.58
8. BARNETTA: 2004 Westphalian gelding by Baloubet du Rouet x Polydor SHARN WORDLEY (NZL), Sky Group: 0/0/45.57
9. MARTHA LOUISE: 2004 Swedish Warmblood mare by Maloubet de Pleville 1039 x Wolfgang CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Ariel and Susan Grange: 0/4/35.90
10. WILLOW: 2003 KWPN gelding by Guidam x Little Rock KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Amalaya Investments: 0/4/37.89
11. VICTOR: 2002 KWPN gelding by Elmshorn x Grandeur TIFFANY FOSTER (CAN), Artisan Farms LLC & Torrey Pines Stable: 0/4/38.55
12. ABUNOLA: 2005 KWPN mare by Numero Uno x Voltaire MARGIE ENGLE (USA), Elm Rock Partners LLC: 0/4/40.94