Wellington, FL - Marie Hecart (FRA) and Ryan Star du Rezidal, owned by Ashland Stables, scored their second win in the $6,000 Spy Coast 1.40m Speed Challenge today in the International Arena at the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). The duo won this same class during week two, and today they outraced Richard Spooner (USA) on his and HRH Lama Al Saud's Ninno and Yann Candele (CAN) with Susan Grange's Game Ready.
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.
Today's course was designed by Richard Jeffery of England and it featured options at fences 6 and 7 as well as the horseshoe bank. Hecart noted that the top three in the class all took the same options, so it was a matter of footspeed throughout the course. Hecart agreed, "We all did the same track. It was lots of galloping and was really, really fast."
The early leader in the class was Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) on Palouchin de Ligny, who set the time to beat at 60.518 seconds, which would hold up for fifth place. That time was bumped by Candele and Game Ready, who crossed the timers in 60.222 seconds.
Hecart and Ryan Star du Rezidal were able to speed around the course and bring the winning time to 57.889 seconds, which held off late class bids by Spooner and Ninno, who finished in 58.188 seconds, and Ali Wolff with Hertel Landman, who completed the course in 60.411 seconds for fourth place. The fastest time today went to Hillary Dobbs aboard Marengo, who finished in 57.869 seconds. Their four faults, however, put them in 11th place.
Hecart said that watching other riders on course helped her in the end. "Rodrigo went at the beginning, and I watched him before I went on my first horse. I knew he was fast. I tried to do it with my first horse and was in 61 seconds. When I got on my second horse, I knew how to go. I watched Yann because he went right before me, and I also watched Hillary Dobbs. She was in 57 seconds too. The good thing is when you go a little bit later in the class, you know what can be done and how fast it is."
Hecart and Ryan Star du Rezidal, a nine-year-old Selle Francais gelding by Quick Star, have been paired together for a year. "Today I felt like I was going really, really fast. I felt like I was quite fast. He's a really quick horse, and he is always galloping," Hecart described. "He's calm at home, but when he gets into the ring he has a lot of blood. I love this horse. He has lots of blood and is careful."
Hecart, who is 29 years old, is a professional rider from France and is the daughter of French international rider Michel Hecart. She rides for Olympic gold medalist Eric Lamaze of Canada and Ashland Stables. "This is my fourth year at WEF. I had never been to the U.S. before coming to WEF. I love it here," she said. "It's really good for the horses, they improve a lot. It's good for our clients too; we can help them since everything is in the same place."
Goals for Hecart for this year's WEF include competing successfully in the grand prix classes. She noted, "I have a really good mare, Catalina, doing the grand prix tomorrow night. I hope that is going to be good. She jumps really well. I really want to have horses to do the big classes, that is for sure my goal." For Ryan Star du Rezidal, she added, "He can do 1.45m too, but I keep him in the 1.40m now because I want him to be really competitive. But for sure, he can jump bigger."
The highlight class of the week, 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: $6,000 Spy Coast 1.40m Speed Challenge
1. RYAN STAR DU REZIDAL, MARIE HECART, ASHLAND STABLES: 0/57.889
2. NINNO, RICHARD SPOONER, RICHARD SPOONER AND HRH LAMA AL SAUD: 0/58.188
3. GAME READY, YANN CANDELE, SUSAN GRANGE: 0/60.222
4. HERTEL LANDMAN, ALI WOLFF, BLACKLICK BEND FARM: 0/60.411
5. PALOUCHIN DE LIGNY, RODRIGO PESSOA, PESSOA STABLES LLC: 0/60.518
6. MAARTEN, NORMAN DELLO JOIO, NEWSPRINT FARM: 0/64.285
7. SAVVY, SARAH WAYDA, SARAH WAYDA: 0/72.310
8. DYNAMYTE, AMBER MITCHELL, M/M JOHN TREDENNICK & WOOD RUN FARM: 0/74.408
9. LEGENDE DE B'NEVILLE, YANN CANDELE, RON & CARLA NOLAN: 0/75.552
10. COULETTO K. JAMES, KATHERINE DINAN, KATIE DINAN LLC: 2/83.246
11. MARENGO, HILLARY DOBBS, THE DOBBS GROUP: 4/57.869
12. UNADONJA, SHANE SWEETNAM, SPY COAST FARM LLC: 4/60.308
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: Marie Hecart and Ryan Star du Rezidal won the $6,000 Spy Coast 1.40m Speed Challenge during week five at the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Photo © 2010 Randi Muster/Mustphoto, Inc., Official Sport Photographer of the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival.