Wellington, FL - Week eight of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) began Wednesday morning at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL, with a win for Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, FL, riding Austria 2 in the $25,000 Nutrena Jumper Classic.
TWEF 8 features CSIO 4* jumper and "AA" rated hunter divisions running March 2-6, 2016. The week will highlight the $150,000 FEI Nations' Cup on the evening of Friday, March 4. The $150,000 Nations Cup will have free general admission and free seating this year. Everyone is welcome to attend! Gates open at 6 pm. For a hospitality seating package on Friday through Sunday, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 561-784-1125. Availability is limited so book your VIP weekend soon!
The Hollow Creek Farm FEI Children's, Junior and Young Rider Nations' Cups will be featured on Saturday, March 5. The $216,000 Lugano Diamonds CSIO 4* Grand Prix will conclude the feature events of the week on Sunday, March 6. The 12-week WEF circuit runs through April 3 offering more than $9 million in prize money.
USA's Steve Stephens and Ken Krome are co-course designers in the International Ring for week eight's jumper competition. The duo set the course for the opening $25,000 Nutrena Jumper Classic to begin WEF 8 on Wednesday morning with 53 entries and a 22-horse jump-off. Thirteen entries went double clear over the short course as the times steadily got faster.
Colvin and Take the High Road LLC's Austria 2 clocked in at 33.63 seconds, just ahead of McLain Ward (USA) and his own and Arthur Hawkins' Tina la Boheme in a time of 33.92 seconds. Paul O'Shea (IRL) and Nordic Lights Farm's NLF Newsflash finished third in 34.98 seconds. Ian Millar (CAN) and The Baranus Group's Baranus placed fourth in 35.37 seconds, and Alexander Zetterman (SWE) and Springfield Showjumpers' Cordalis finished fifth in a time of 35.49 seconds.
Class winner, Austria 2, is an eight-year-old Holsteiner mare (Casall x Corrado I) that was previously ridden by Belgium's Jonas Vervoort. The mare was purchased in Sweden when she was seven years old, and Colvin has slowly been bringing her along. "She has not shown a lot, so we are trying to save her and start her slow, but she was fantastic today," Colvin said following her win. "She is a spicy mare, and I love that. She is just fast, and little, and quick in the air. She is like a cat; she just slides right over the jumps, and she is amazing."
Speaking of her winning jump-off, Colvin noted, "I have never really gone super fast with her because she is younger, so I do not want to run her off her feet. I was planning seven strides down the last line, and it was very good in the beginning and she felt amazing, so I went for the six and she was fantastic. When I saw McLain go before me, he went really fast and I was like, 'Oh boy.' I was not planning on going that fast because I have never really gone for it with her, but I was feeling it today. I was ready."
Colvin also spoke about Austria's ride, comparing the mare to Lauren Hough's mount Ohlala. "It is a different ride. She is very easy, but you have to kind of let go and then hold her a bit," Colvin described. "It is kind of like a hunter ride, but she is very spicy at the same time. She is fun. She is little, so sometimes you have to add a stride. I would compare her to Ohlala. Hopefully someday she will be that good. She is a very tiny, spicy mare. You have to package her a little bit, but she is great."
As Austria 2 continues to develop, Colvin will continue to compete her at the 1.45m level and hopes to possibly step up to 1.50m by the end of the year. "This was only my second 1.45m on her," Colvin pointed out. "We have really gone slow with her because I think that she is going to be very special, so we are just trying to do it right."
The eighth week of competition at the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival continues on Thursday with the $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 8 featured in the International Ring. In the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring, the First Year Green Working Hunter division will award championship honors for week eight. For more information and full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.
Final Results: $25,000 Nutrena Jumper Classic
1. 2358 AUSTRIA 2 VICTORIA COLVIN TAKE THE HIGH ROAD LLC: 0/0/33.631
2. 2196 TINA LA BOHEME MCLAIN WARD MCLAIN WARD & ARTHUR HAWKINS: 0/0/33.926
3. 2137 NLF NEWSFLASH PAUL O'SHEA NORDIC LIGHTS FARM LLC: 0/0/34.986
4. 4137 BARANUS IAN MILLAR THE BARANUS GROUP: 0/0/35.372
5. 2122 CORDALIS ALEXANDER ZETTERMAN SPRINGFIELD SHOW JUMPERS: 0/0/35.499
6. 5475 HILFIGER VAN DE OLMENHOEVE MARIA SCHAUB MARIA SCHAUB: 0/0/35.614
7. 255 BALOU DE COEUR JOYE LORENZO DE LUCA STEPHEX STABLES: 0/0/35.793
8. 501 CALISTA GEORGINA BLOOMBERG GOTHAM ENTERPRIZES LLC: 0/0/36.241
9. 6951 CHANELEUR MCLAIN WARD MCLAIN WARD: 0/0/36.450
10. 5915 CENZO CONOR SWAIL ILAN FERDER: 0/0/37.077
11. 6859 CHACCO KID ERIC LAMAZE CHACCO KID GROUUP: 0/0/38.428
12. 108 CHESNEY TIFFANY FOSTER ARTISAN FARMS LLC: 0/0/39.509