Wellington, FL - February 6, 2011 - The 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) concluded its fourth week of competition on Sunday afternoon with the $78,000 Adequan Grand Prix, CSI 2* held in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. In a talent packed class, Laura Kraut (USA) and Happy Hill Farm's Cedric jumped to victory over 48 starters.
This week's course designer in the International Arena was Richard Jeffery of Great Britain. At the halfway point in the class, nine had jumped clear over the first round course. Seven more clear rounds followed to leave 16 horse and rider combinations to jump-off. The countries of the United States, Mexico, Great Britain, Ireland and Canada were all represented in today's jump-off, but the United States reigned supreme as Olympic gold medalists Laura Kraut and Cedric took the win.
Of the 16 entries in the jump-off, just two were able to clear the course. Nick Skelton (GBR) and Unique, owned by Beverly Widdowson, were first to jump clear and clocked in at 51.02 seconds to finish in second place. Kraut and Cedric went last, and stopped the clock in 45.11 seconds for the win.
Finishing in third place, McLain Ward had one rail down with Rothchild, owned by Sagamore Farm, to finish with the fastest four-fault round in 41.98 seconds. Lauren Hough and Quick Study, owned by Laura Mateo, placed in fourth with four faults in 43.32 seconds. Reed Kessler and Onisha finished in fifth with four faults in 43.70 seconds. Taylor McMurtry and Just An Illusion, Blythe Marano and Urban, and Ragan Roberts and Quipit L.F. all finished with four faults to place in sixth, seventh and eighth respectively.
Laura Kraut's mount Cedric is a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Chambertin x Carolus Z. The pair has had a fantastic career together including playing an integral part of the United States' efforts to earn a Team Gold Medal in the 2008 Olympic Games. Cedric is just coming back from time off after competing in Europe in December and Kraut thought he felt great for his first Grand Prix back.
"I was surprised; I was in the very fortunate position of going last, so I got to see the absolute mayhem that was going on," Kraut laughed. "You would have never guessed that people would have that many rails in the jump-off. I knew if I just cantered around clear, the worst I was going to be was second. It was an easy position to be in.
"He felt great today," Kraut continued. "He felt fresh and happy. He's had a long break. After WEG, I gave him almost two months off and then I jumped in two shows (Paris and Brussels), and then he's had time off since then. He's feeling really confident and good."
Commenting on his round this afternoon, second place finisher Nick Skelton explained, "With there being no clears, I thought I would go in and try and jump a clear round. However fast I went, if I had one down I definitely wasn't going to beat McLain. I thought that Eric and Laura would beat me anyway, so I was happy to settle for third. Luckily Eric had one down and I was second. I was pleased with the horse; he jumped really well. Sometimes in those jump-offs, when there were a lot of clear rounds (in the first round), it just happens now and again that a lot of fences fall."
The top three riders all agreed that the second fence in the jump-off, a Liverpool oxer, was definitely the bogey fence in today's short course as nearly all of the competitors had a rail down there. Third place finisher McLain Ward described the jump as "at an awkward angle and there were only three poles in front, so it was very airy."
"I think it surprised the horses just a little bit," Ward stated. "It was a fence we took a little more time to in the first round, but it was more gunshot in the second round. A lot had it down so there was something optically that was a little unusual about it."
Commenting on the large number of clear rounds over the first round course, Ward added, "Still, the most successful horse in the class won, so something was right. The odds on favorite at the beginning of the class won."
Earlier in the day, the junior jumpers were on the main stage competing in the International Arena. The morning began with a win for Hayley Barnhill and Original VDL, owned by Hyperion Stud LLC, in the $10,000 Equine Couture Low Junior Jumper Classic. The $10,000 EquiFit High Junior Jumper Classic immediately followed, with a win for Christina Kelly and HH Narcos Du Marais, owned by Double H Farm. Kelly has now won the High Junior Jumper Classic for three weeks in a row here at the 2011 WEF.
The FTI Winter Equestrian Festival will continue with its fifth week of competition beginning on Wednesday, February 9, 2011. Week five, sponsored by Spy Coast Farm, will feature the $31,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 5 on Thursday afternoon, the $150,000 FEI World Cup Grand Prix, presented by Spy Coast Farm, on Saturday at 7 p.m., and the $15,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon. The 2011 WEF will continue through April 3, with eight more weeks of top equestrian competition.
Final Results: $78,000 Adequan Grand Prix, CSI 2*
- 1 CEDRIC: 1998 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Chambertin x Carolus Z LAURA KRAUT (USA), Happy Hill Farm: 0/0/45.11
- 2 UNIQUE: 2001 KWPN gelding by Indoctro x Voltaire NICK SKELTON (GBR), Beverly Widdowson: 0/0/51.02
- 3 ROTHCHILD: 2001 SBS gelding by Artos x Elegant De L'Ile MCLAIN WARD (USA), Sagamore Farms: 0/4/41.98
- 4 QUICK STUDY: 1999 SFA gelding by Quick Star x What a Joy LAUREN HOUGH (USA), Laura Mateo: 0/4/43.32
- 5 ONISHA: 1999 Holsteiner mare by Caretino x Athlet Z REED KESSLER (USA), Reed Kessler: 0/4/43.70
- 6 JUST AN ILLUSION: 1993 KWPN gelding by Goodtimes x Pretendent TAYLOR MCMURTRY (USA), Taylor McMurtry: 0/4/45.83
- 7 URBAN: 2001 KWPN gelding by Goodtimes x Indoctro BLYTHE MARANO (USA), Riverview Farm LLC: 0/4/46.06
- 8 QUIPIT L.F.: 2001 CDE gelding by Quickly De Aristos x Pit RAGAN ROBERTS (USA), Quipit Group: 0/4/49.19
- 9 TRIPPLE-X III: 2002 Holsteiner stallion by Unknown x Unknown BEN MAHER (GBR), Ben Maher: 0/8/44.20
- 10 INTERTOY Z: 1999 Zangersheide gelding by Interadel x Centauer SCOTT BRASH (GBR), Stan Brash: 0/8/44.57
- 11 ATLETE VAN T HEIKE: 2000 BWP mare by Voltaire x Landgraf I ERIC LAMAZE (CAN) Artisan Farms LLC: 0/8/46.63
- 12 REDEFIN: 1998 KWPN gelding by Larino x Zeus YANN CANDELE (CAN), Susan Grange: 0/12/43.28
Photo Credit: Laura Kraut and Cedric won the $78,000 Adequan Grand Prix, CSI 2* during week four at the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival.
Laura Kraut and Cedric with ringmaster Cliff Haines, and Kathy Mailloux, Caroline Hogan, and Allyn Mann of Adequan Photo © Sportfot, Official Sport Photographer of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, www.sportfot.com.