Wellington, FL- The USA's Todd Minikus continued his winning streak aboard Wyndmont's Zephyr at the 2017 WEF, securing the pair's second win of week five, and their fourth consecutive win of the WEF circuit, in Sunday's $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic.
Fifty-one entries contested the first round course set by Robert Ellis, with ten advancing to the jump-off and seven double clear rounds. Minikus and Zephyr smoothly navigated the short course in the winning time of 35.98 seconds. Conor Swail (IRL) and Finca Horses' Flower finished second in 36.38 seconds. Tiffany Foster (CAN) and Artisan Farms' Brighton placed third in 36.61 seconds, and Eric Lamaze (CAN) and the Chacco Kid Group's Chacco Kid rounded out the top four in 37.06 seconds.
"It was kind of a fast rider 'Who's Who' in the jump-off with riders like Kent, Conor, and Eric," Minikus continued. "I thought it was going to be fast, and it ended being blistering, really. That was a very fast round. It seemed like everything came up nice for me, and I was able to just keep going and going, so I am pretty happy with it."
With each win, Minikus is gaining confidence in Zephyr's ability and getting to know the 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Landor S x Calvados) better. Owner Ronnie Beard purchased Zephyr from Great Britain's Peter Charles five years ago after the gelding was named best seven-year-old in Spain that year and has also enjoyed watching the partnership excel. Dorman brought along the horse, but he had almost a year off.
"With that rest, he has just come back into his old self again," Beard said.
Minikus also rides Wyndmont's Valinski S. Beard compared, "They are both careful horses, and I think Todd challenges them enough with the pace. I think that after slowly bringing them along, they are ready for it, and I think Todd is the person to do it with them."
As for Minikus, who only rides the Wyndmont horses at the show and leaves their training to Beard and Dorman at home, piloting different horses is nothing new.
"I have ridden so many horses in my life that there is not much that I have not seen or felt at this point," said the veteran competitor. "It does not take long for me to adapt to different horses really. I like that challenge of getting on new horses. When you are as old as I am, you don't need much practice!"
Also competing in the International Arena on Sunday, McKayla Langmeier and Jane Clark's Whistler topped the $10,000 Hollow Creek Farm Medium Junior Jumper Classic.
The 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival continues with its highly anticipated World Championship Hunter Rider week on February 15-19, 2017. For full results and more information, please visit www.PBIEC.com.
Final Results: $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic
1. ZEPHYR: 2004 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Landor S x Calvados TODD MINIKUS (USA), Wyndmont: 0/0/35.98
2. FLOWER: 2005 Belgian Warmblood mare by Bon Ami x Randel Z CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Finca Horses Inc: 0/0/36.38
3. BRIGHTON: 2006 KWPN gelding by Contendro II x Quick Star TIFFANY FOSTER (CAN), Artisan Farms LLC: 0/0/36.61
4. CHACCO KID: 2006 Oldenburg gelding by Chacco-Blue x Come On ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Chacco Kid Group: 0/0/37.06
5. ARMANI SL Z: 2008 Zangersheide stallion by Asca Z x Cumano EUGENIO GARZA (MEX), El Milagro: 0/0/38.35
6. VIVA COLOMBIA: 2005 Oldenburg mare by Couleur-Rubin x Landor S ALBERTO MICHAN (MEX), Ilan Ferder & Tal Milstein: 0/0/38.36
7. DUBLIN: 2007 Deusches Reitpferd gelding by Cobra x Calido KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Tanma Corp. & Kent Farrington: 0/0/41.74
8. DOUBLE O SEVEN 7: 2008 KWPN gelding by Mr. Blue x Celano KEVIN BABINGTON (IRL), Kevin Babington & Katznelson Jumpers LLC: 0/4/39.14
9. BEEZIE: 2006 KWPN mare by Cardento x Canabis Z SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), The ISB Group LLC: 0/4/39.15
10. HH QUATUOR: 2004 Selle Francais gelding by Col Canto x Rosire QUENTIN JUDGE (USA), Double H Farm: 0/8/42.91
11. WIN FOR LIFE: 2006 Zangersheide gelding by Winningmood van de Arenberg X Chatman CHRISTINE MCCREA (USA), Candy Tribble: 1/72.02
12. DAZZLE WHITE: 2008 KWPN gelding by Calvino Z x Narcos II SAMUEL PAROT (CHI), Samuel Parot: 1/72.43