Wellington, FL- USA's Marilyn Little won the $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic riding Clearwater on Saturday of week six at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival.
Jumping a course set by Richard Jeffery (GBR) on the derby field at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, Little and Karen O'Connor's Clearwater topped a class of 34 and a three-horse jump-off to take victory. They cleared the short course in 39.27 seconds.
France's Marie Hecart and Myself de Breve stopped the clock in 41.96 seconds for second place. Mavis Spencer (USA) and Neil Jones Equestrian's Chacco finished third with four faults for a rail, as well as one time fault, in the jump-off.
Saturday's win was a quick comeback for Little, who was leading the $100,000 Land Rover Wellington Eventing Showcase two weeks ago when she and her mount, RF Scandalous, took a bad fall on the cross-country course. Although RF Scandalous was unharmed, Little hit her head and took some time to recover.
"The last time I was out here I had a fall in the Eventing, so this is a little bit of redemption for me on the field," she acknowledged. "After the fall, I have been getting better and better. Yesterday was the first day that I really felt like I was back to myself. A week ago, it was dicey. I hit my head pretty hard. Luckily, I had an airvest on and a great helmet that really cushioned me. It could have been a lot worse, but here we are. We are still playing the game, and I am happy to be here.
"It was a great course today. It was really exciting, and Clearwater is so much fun to ride in the jump-offs," Little continued, speaking of the ten-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Clearway x Come On). "He is young, but he really loves the fields. He has been a little bit unlucky over the last few weeks, but he has been getting progressively better over the last year. He has jumped some really big classes, so this was nice to back him down to the 1.50m."
Speaking of her winning jump-off, Little explained, "I knew that Marie's horse in particular can be very fast. I have known that horse for a long time. It is clever, and fast, and Marie is always super competitive. Initially, I thought if I laid down a good clear round, Mavis would have to chase me, but then once I knew that Marie was in the jump-off, everything changed. I knew that I was going to have to lay down something that could win no matter how many people were in the jump-off. Luckily, he is a really quick horse. This was his first time out on that field, so he was a little bit lost, but he really looks. He is always looking for the flags; that is what we say about eventers."
The sixth week of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival concludes on Sunday with the $35,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix Series, presented by EnTrust Capital and $50,000 National Grand Prix on the derby field at Equestrian Village at PBIEC. Hunters wrap up competition in the International Arena with three classics. For more information and full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.
Final Results: $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic
1CLEARWATER: 2007 Holsteiner gelding by Clearway x Come On MARILYN LITTLE (USA), Karen O'Connor: 0/0/39.27
2. MYSELF DE BREVE: 2000 Selle Francais mare by Quidam de Revel x Grand Veneur MARIE HECART (FRA), Marie Hecart: 0/0/41.96
3. CHACCO: 2006 Oldenburg gelding by Chacco-Blue x Achill MAVIS SPENCER (USA), Neil Jones Equestrian Inc: 0/5/50.95
4. QUICK DU POTTIER: 2004 Selle Francais gelding by Hurlevent De Breka x Cuba SAMUEL PAROT (CHI), Samuel Parot: 4/81.11
5. CORNETIERO: 2006 Westphalian gelding by Cornet Obolensky x Liberty Life MAVIS SPENCER (USA), Mike Collins: 4/81.25
6. TEQUILA DE LILE: 2007 Selle Francais mare by Luccianno x Etna Paulelle MARKUS BEERBAUM (GER), Artemis Equestrian Farm LLC: 4/83.50
7. CAPITO Z: 2008 Zangersheide gelding by Capitos x Burggraaf PETER LEONE (USA), Lionshare Farm: 4/83.68
8. CIANA: 2007 KWPN mare by Rascin x Chin Chin ANDREW KOCHER (USA), Eagle Valley Partners LLC: 4/84.32
9. AUDI'S DIMPLE: 2008 KWPN gelding by Wittinger VDL x Ahorn MOLLY ASHE (USA), Maarten Huygens: 4/87.17
10. QUIDAMS QUIT 2: 2006 Oldenburg gelding by Quidam's Rubin x Carthago GABRIELA MERSHAD (USA), Mershad Stables LLC: 4/88.00
11. COUSCOUS VAN ORTI: 2002 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Nabab de Reve x Cash SAMUEL PAROT (CHI), Samuel Parot: 8/78.37
12. ALWAYS ME: 2005 KWPN mare by Larino x Heartbreaker BENJAMIN MEREDITH (AUS), Carben Farms LLC: 8/83.87