Wellington, FL - March 3, 2011 - USA's Mario Deslauriers and Vicomte D were victorious in Thursday afternoon's $31,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 8 following a competitive class at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center during international CSIO week at the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).
The FTI WEF's eighth week of competition, sponsored by G&C Farm, continues through Sunday, March 6. Friday will feature the $75,000 FEI Nations Cup presented by G&C Farm at 7 p.m. The $31,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumpers and the $25,000 ESP Jumper Stake will be held on Saturday afternoon followed by the PRO Derby Cross at 5:30 p.m. and the $35,000 Hermès Puissance. The Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Classic will be held on Sunday followed by the $150,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty CSIO 4* Grand Prix at 1 p.m. The 2011 WEF will continue through April 3 and award more than $6 million in prize money.
The $75,000 FEI Nations Cup presented by G&C Farm, $35,000 Hermès Puissance, and $150,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty CSIO 4* Grand Prix will be available for viewing on a live webcast via the USEF Network. To view these incredible events, please go to: http://www.usefnetwork.com/wefcsio2011
Courses in the International Arena this week are designed by Steve Stephens of Palmetto, FL. Stephens saw 16 out of 48 entries jump clear over his first round course today. With one scratch from the jump-off, a total of 15 horse and rider combinations returned over the short course and five jumped double clear to earn top honors. Mario Deslauriers and Jane F. Clark's Vicomte D were the fastest by one second to finish in first place.
Setting the time to beat, Emilie Martinsen (DEN) and Caballero were the first pair to jump double clear, stopping the clock in 43.13 seconds, which finished in fifth place.
Canada's Ian Millar and Star Power, owned by Team Works, returned four rounds later to take over the lead with double clear rounds and a jump-off time of 39.31 seconds to eventually finish in fourth.
Two rounds followed before Pablo Barrios (VEN) and G&C Quick Star returned to capture the lead with their time of 38.38 seconds, but they were then bested to finish in second place.
Lauren Hough (USA) and Quick Study immediately followed and finished just 5/10ths of a second short of Barrios' time in 38.88 seconds to place in third.
Mario Deslauriers and Vicomte D entered the ring next and took the lead, finishing just over one second faster than Barrios in 37.34 seconds to earn first place. Three more rounds followed, but no one else was able to jump without fault.
Vicomte D is a 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding by Flamenco Desemilly x Randell Z. This is Deslauriers' third winter with the big gray and he smiled, "Vicomte jumped great today; he has been knocking at the door a little bit here and there but today he really got it in him. He's a quick horse, so I knew I had a good shot coming in to the jump-off. It was a good course for him; I could leave out strides everywhere and he jumped great."
Speaking about the ride on Vicomte D, Deslauriers noted, "He's a funny horse. If he puts his mind to it he is very talented and he can do it, but sometimes he gets easily distracted and sometimes I get a lot of unlucky rails with him. Usually when he jumps well and leaves the jumps up we are right up there, and today he was great."
In each WEF Challenge Cup class this year the riders have had the opportunity to win a $3,000 bonus for wearing a pair of SSG 'Digital' gloves during their winning round. No one has received the bonus for three weeks in a row now, so this week's bonus money went up to $9,000. Deslauriers made sure to wear his 'Digital' gloves and received the fantastic bonus on top of his class earnings.
"This promotion is a great thing for the riders and it is really talked about in the circle," Deslauriers stated. "It is a fun thing and I hope it is good for SSG. It is exciting to win three bonuses together and I am glad that it was my lucky day today!"
The International Arena will feature another full schedule of fantastic jumper competition on Friday, concluding the day with the $75,000 FEI Nations Cup presented by G&C Farm at 7 p.m. Once a part of the winning Canadian Nations Cup Team, Deslauriers now rides for the United States and will ride his top mount Urico as a part of Team USA tomorrow night.
Deslauriers looks forward to the competition and explained that although it will be a change riding for another team, he is excited. "We are looking forward to it. It is a little bit of a different mentality for me to set my mind to it, but I'm totally focused for tomorrow. My horse is ready and we'll give it to them tomorrow."
Final Results: $31,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 8
1 VICOMTE D: 1998 BWP gelding by Flamenco Desemilly x Randell Z MARIO DESLAURIERS (USA), Jane F. Clark: 0/0/37.34
2 G&C QUICK STAR 11: 2000 KWPN mare by Quick Star x Grannus PABLO BARRIOS (VEN), G&C Farm: 0/0/38.38
3 QUICK STUDY: 1999 SFA gelding by Quick Star x What a Joy LAUREN HOUGH (USA), Laura Mateo: 0/0/38.88
4 STAR POWER: 2001 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Quick Star IAN MILLAR (CAN), Team Works: 0/0/39.31
5 CABALLERO: 2001 Westphalian stallion by Champion Du Lys x Acord II EMILIE MARTINSEN (DEN), Emilie Martinsen:0/0/43.13
6 ONISHA: 1999 Holsteiner mare by Caretino x Athlet Z REED KESSLER (USA), Reed Kessler: 0/4/37.25
7 ROTHCHILD: 2001 SBS gelding by Artos x Elegant De L'Ile MCLAIN WARD (USA), Sagamore Farms: 0/4/39.14
8 COCO 135: 2001 Mecklenberg gelding by Elite P.B. Cellestial x Monsum ANDRE THIEME (GER), Anne Hamilton: 0/4/42.03
9 VASCO: 2002 KWPN mare by Casco x Unknown FELIPO GODINHO (BRA), Osvaldo Brugal: 0/4/42.64
10 UMARLON: 2001 KWPN gelding by Marlon x Nimmerdor JAMES PATERSON-ROBINSON (AUS), Ger Poels Horses: 0/4/42.71
11 CRISTALLO: 1998 Holsteiner gelding by Caretino x Cicero RICHARD SPOONER (USA), Show Jumping Syndications International: 0/8/37.05
12 URBANUS: 1997 BWP gelding by Heartbreaker x Ramiro CHARLIE JAYNE (USA), Alex Jayne: 0/8/46.89
Photo Credit: Mario Deslauriers and Vicomte D won the $31,000 WEF Challenge Cup CSIO during week eight at the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Mario Deslauriers and Vicomte D with ringmaster Cliff Haines and Gustavo and Carolina Mirabal of G&C Farm. Photo © Sportfot, Official Sport Photographer of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, www.sportfot.com.