Wellington, FL - February 2, 2012 - The $32,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 4 had an imposing field of 84 entries today, but it was Yann Candele (CAN) and Carlotta Singular La Magnifica, owned by Susan Grange, who were able to beat the strong contenders for victory. Today's grand prix was the highlight class in the International Arena at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF). Beezie Madden (USA) and Cortes C, owned by Abigail Wexner finished second, while Laura Kraut (USA) and Happy Hill Farm's Cedric were third.
Week four of the FTI WEF runs February 1-5, and is sponsored by Adequan. The Budweiser Clydesdales will be making two appearances at the FTI WEF this week. The first will be before the $80,000 Adequan Grand Prix, CSI 2* on Saturday, February 4, and again on Sunday, February 5 before the Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic. The 2012 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of competition that conclude on April 1, 2012, and they will be awarding more than $6 million in prize money through the circuit.
This year's Olympic Games course designer, Bob Ellis of Great Britain, set a course that would whittle down the 84 entries to 15 for the jump-off. There were seven double clear efforts. Candele noted, "I think he did unbelievable to get 15 clear. We saw a few jump-offs before with more clear and less starters. I think he managed it well. Nobody crashed anywhere, there were rails here and there. I think he did a magnificent job."
Candele and "Carlotta" went 11th in the jump-off and brought the winning time down to 47.51 seconds. The earlier leading time was set by Beezie Madden and Cortes C in 47.81 seconds. Madden was also fourth on Simon, who went first in the jump-off and set a solid time in 48.15 seconds.
Candele said of his jump-off ride, "Actually I got lucky. In the beginning I was efficient and I was lucky to get a good turn to the double. The last line, I did one more stride than everybody else, so I could have lost there. I think it was the draw of luck. It just happened."
Laura Kraut and Cedric jumped into third with a quick time of 47.90 seconds. Fifth place went to Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) and HH Let's Fly, owned by Double H Farm, who crossed the timers in 48.66 seconds. Jeffrey Welles (USA) and Noel Love Gross' Aries notched a clear round in 48.69 seconds for sixth place, while David McPherson (GBR) rode Chamberlain Z, owned by McPherson and Ellen Holtgers, to a seventh place clear round in 49.77 seconds.
Candele has been working with Carlotta since she was eight years old, with a plan from the beginning on preparing her for championships. "We've had her in development for a year and a half. The idea is to get on the Nations Cup team in Wellington and get on the Canadian national team for the Olympic Games," he explained. "She's been starting nicely and today is a good win."
While the pair has won grand prix events in Canada, this is their first win together at the FTI WEF. Candele wants to make sure they continue this success throughout the circuit. "The key of the circuit is to be competitive and develop the horses, but mostly to get on the Nations Cup team," he agreed. "This is a good opening but we still have to confirm and be consistent, be sure everything is running well."
Candele described Carlotta Singular la Magnifica, a 2002 Hanoverian mare by Chasseur x Singular Joter, as "really careful." He added, "She's not too worried. She's got a lot of blood and you have to control the balance. I got some help from Eric Lamaze on starting to figure her out, so today is a good step in the right direction."
Earlier in the day, Quentin Judge and HH Sandor finished on top of the standings in the G&C Farm 1.45m Jumpers, while young rider phenom Katie Dinan won the High Amateur-Owner Jumpers with Sandro.
Humor Me and Haylie Jayne Top the Sanctuary Regular Conformation Hunters
Humor Me and Haylie Jayne of Elgin, IL, rose to the championship position in week four of the Sanctuary Regular Conformation Hunter division. Jayne kept the eight-year-old grey Holsteiner in the top ribbons all week with scores of 84, 82, 82 and 78 over fences. The pair was also second in both the model and the under saddle, topping the division with 46 points. Smoking Gun and Cynthia Williams brought home the reserve tricolor, winning both the model and under saddle and finishing with a first and two seconds over fences for a total of 38 points.
Humor Me, affectionately known as "Happy" in the barn, is one of Jayne's favorite rides. Although this year marks Happy's first FTI WEF season competing in the Sanctuary Regular Conformation Hunter division, the gelding was recognized as the 2011 FTI WEF Circuit Champion of the Second Year Green Hunter division with Havens Schatt in the irons.
Watch Happy and Haylie in a winning round! Videos by Shownet - View 2012 FTI WEF Videos at www.shownet.biz
Following today's win, Jayne commented on Happy's performance in the arena. "He was actually great all weekend," Jayne said. "He's really fun to ride. He's never spooky and he kind of has no vices. He has this big, slow canter so he always gets down the lines nicely. I think he jumped beautifully both days."
Happy spends his days at Pony Lane Farm where owner Madeline Thatcher keeps him fit during the week and competes in the Antarés Large Junior Hunter division on the weekend. According to Jayne, Thatcher is just getting to know Happy as the pair's relationship is relatively new. Describing Happy's plan for the winter, Jayne commented, "I'll continue to do the Regular Conformations on him and Maddie will show him in the Large Juniors, but he's not one we have to show too often because he stays pretty dialed in. He knows his job really well and he wants to win."
Additional FTI WEF Hunter division champions this week include Calvert and Tommy Serio who topped the Pre-Green 3 & 4 Year Old Hunter Division with a total of 36 points and Elizabeth Boyd atop her mount Casallo who won this week's High Performance Working Hunter division with a total of 42 points.
The FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival will continue tomorrow with a full schedule of hunter and jumper competition. The highlight class in the International Arena is the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm Speed Challenge, while adult riders compete in the Ariat National Adult Medal class.
Final Results: $32,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 4
1. CARLOTTA SINGULAR LA MAGNIFICA: 2002 Hanoverian mare by Chasseur x Singular Joter YANN CANDELE (CAN), Susan Grange: 0/0/47.51
2. CORTES 'C': 2002 BWP gelding by Randel Z x Darco BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Abigail Wexner: 0/0/47.81
3. CEDRIC: 1998 Holsteiner gelding by Chambertin x Carolus Z LAURA KRAUT (USA), Happy Hill Farm: 0/0/47.90
4. SIMON: 1999 KWPN gelding by Mr. Blue x Polydox BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Abigail Wexner: 0/0/48.15
5. HH LET'S FLY: 1999 Hanoverian gelding by Lordanos x Forrest RODRIGO PESSOA (BRA), Double H Farm: 0/0/48.66
6. ARIES: 2001 Oldenburg gelding by Argentinas x Grannus JEFFERY WELLES (USA), Noel Love Gross: 0/0/48.69
7. CHAMBERLAIN Z: 2001 Zangersheide gelding by Chellano Z x Peter Pan DAVID MCPHERSON (GBR), David McPherson & M/M Holtgers: 0/0/49.77
8. URICO: 2001 KWPN gelding by Zandor Z x Fedor MARIO DESLAURIERS (USA), Jane F. Clark: 0/4/44.91
9. SANCHA LS: 2003 SLS mare by Chin Chin x Polydor DANIEL BLUMAN (COL), Daniel Bluman: 0/4/46.90
10. QUINTENDER 2: 2001 Holsteiner stallion by Quinar x Contender HENRIK GUNDERSEN (DEN), Emilie Martinsen: 0/4/51.23
11. KEC ALLIGATOR ALLEY: 2002 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Aldatus Z x Clover Hill CIAN O'CONNOR (IRL), Sinead & Oonagh Kennedy: 0/4/54.97
12. QUICK STUDY: 1999 SFA gelding by Quick Star x What a Joy LAUREN HOUGH (USA), Laura Mateo: 0/8/47.44
Photo Credit: Yann Candele (CAN) and Carlotta Singular La Magnifica and Haylie Jayne with Humor Me won at the 2012 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival. Photo © Sportfot, Official Sport Photographer of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, www.sportfot.com.