The Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Series concluded on Thursday with its twelfth and final round of competition at the 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). For the second year in a row, Beezie Madden (USA) and Abigail Wexner's Cortes 'C' were the winners in the $50,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 12. The duo, named 2014 USEF Equestrian and International Horse of the Year, easily laid down the winning track. Conor Swail (IRL) and Grand Cru vd Jijf Eiken finished second; Tiffany Foster (CAN) and Tripple X III placed third.
The second $34,000 1.45m FEI speed class of the week was also held on Thursday with a win for Venezuela's Andres Rodriguez and Caballito. They jumped the fastest of 15 clear rounds out of 75 competitors with Kent Farrington (USA) and Cha Cha Cha 7 in second and Alvaro Tejada (GUA) with Voltaral Palo Blanco third.
WEF 12, sponsored by Rolex, runs March 25-29. The week features the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* on Saturday, March 28. Other highlights include the $10,000 Holtgers 5-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic, $15,000 Adequan® 6-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic, and $20,000 Adequan® 7-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic on Friday. The $100,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Final will be held on Saturday.
Steve Stephens (USA) set the track for 46 starters in Thursday's WEF Challenge Cup. Nine advanced to the jump-off, where seven of those jumped double clear. Last to go, Beezie Madden and Cortes 'C' clocked the winning time of 35.52 seconds. They edged out Conor Swail and Grand Cru vd Jijf Eiken, owned by Vanessa Mannix, with their time of 35.99 seconds. Tiffany Foster and Artisan Farms LLC's Tripple X III set the pace, first to go in the jump-off in 36.48 seconds, finishing in third. McLain Ward (USA) and Double H Farm's HH Azur placed fourth in 37.09 seconds.
Believe it or not, Thursday's win was actually Madden's first of the year. She was happy to see Cortes 'C' in top form and knew that Stephen's track suited her mount, a 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Randel Z x Darco).
"This is my first win of the whole season. I have been second a couple times, but it feels great to win in week 12. It feels great to not go through the whole circuit without winning," Madden laughed. "My horses have been going well. We have not put a lot of pressure on them yet, so it was nice that Cortes came through this week."
"Today I went for it," Madden said. "The jump-off suited him. It was not a real running track where you had to fly to the fences. I could make neat turns without running a lot, and still be quite fast today, so it was a good jump-off for that."
Madden picked Cortes 'C' to show in the final week because of the tracks she expected from Stephens in the final CSI 5* competition. "Usually he builds a course for a nice, big, scopey horse, so hopefully it will suit Cortes Saturday night too," Madden explained. "The top few were all big, scopey horses today. This is a 5*, so it should be difficult this week. You can kind of plan on that."
Madden will show Cortes in Saturday night's $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* to conclude the circuit and then plans to give the gelding a rest while her mount Simon steps up to compete in Miami and then travels to Las Vegas for World Cup Finals.
"Cortes feels really good. This is only his third week of showing, so I think he is just coming on to form for the year," Madden detailed. "After this, he will have a bit of a break. I am going to take Simon to the World Cup (Finals) because the venue in Las Vegas is so small that I think it suits him more than Cortes. Cortes will probably do a few classes at Old Salem in the spring, and then I am planning to take him to Aachen for the grand prix in May. Then he will go to Spruce Meadows from there. Simon will also do Miami to get ready for the smaller venue in Vegas. It is good for me to practice with him in the smaller ring."
Andres Rodriguez and Caballito Win $34,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.45m
A $34,000 1.45m FEI speed class was also held at WEF on Thursday with a win for Venezuela's Andres Rodriguez and Caballito. Seventy five-entries showed, with 15 clear rounds. Rodriguez and Arao Enterprises Caballito had a blazing fast time of 62.13 seconds. They beat Kent Farrington's round in 63.31 seconds with Haity McNerney and Amalaya Investments' Cha Cha Cha 7. Alvaro Tejada (GUA) with Palo Blanco Stables' Voltaral Palo Blanco stopped the clock in 63.73 seconds. Conor Swail (IRL) and Simba de la Roque placed fourth in 65.36 seconds.
Rodriguez has had a fantastic WEF circuit, with multiple wins, including a big win with Caballito in week ten's $127,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 3*. On Thursday, the 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Contendro x Argentinus) took the class by storm in a fantastic round.
"It was very fast today," Rodriguez stated. "It was sort of one of those classes where you go all in, and if it works, it works. Our plan at the beginning was to take a lot of risk and if a rail comes down, then we school the horse for the 1.50m class that has $100,000, but if everything keeps going then obviously keep going. I was going pretty fast in the last line, which when I walked it, I thought it was crazy to do six strides. But I jumped the vertical and it was right there, so I took the chance and it worked."
"When I saw Conor's round, I said okay, 'This is really annoying because it is getting very fast.' Then Kent almost beat him by two seconds, and then it was to the point where I had to go all in," Rodriguez continued. "Kent did seven strides. I did one stride less than him from jump four to five. I did eight strides and he did nine strides, and on the last line he did seven and I did six."
Rodriguez plans to jump Caballito again in Saturday's $100,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Final to conclude the circuit. The pair finished second in the class last year. He will jump his horse Verdi in the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5*.
Also showing on Thursday, the Adequan® 6-Year-Old Young Jumpers jumped their speed class in the International Arena with a win for Gemma Paternoster and Julia Harrison Lee's EBay.
Final Results: $50,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 12
1. CORTES 'C': 2002 Belgian Warmbloodd gelding by Randel Z x Darco BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Abigail Wexner: 0/0/35.52
2. GRAND CRU VD JIJF EIKEN: 2006 Belgian Warmblood stallion by Contact vd Heffinck x Heartbreaker CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Vanessa Mannix: 0/0/35.99
3. TRIPPLE X III: 2002 AES stallion by Namelus R x Cantango TIFFANY FOSTER (CAN), Artisan Farms LLC: 0/0/36.48
4. HH AZUR: 2006 Belgian Warmblood mare by Thunder van de Zuuthoeve x Sir Lui MCLAIN WARD (USA), Double H Farm: 0/0/37.09
5. BABALOU 41: 2005 Oldenburg mare by Balou du Rouet x Silvio I TODD MINIKUS (USA), Two Swans Farm: 0/0/37.41
6. SARENA: 2004 Selle Francais mare by Calvaro x Damoiseau d'Or BEN MAHER (GBR), Jane Clark: 0/0/38.55
7. CLEOFAS VAN WESTUUR: 2002 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Toulon x Wibramino RODRIGO MARINHO (BRA), Rodrigo Marinho: 0/0/43.60
8. EXQUIS WALNUT DE MUZE: 1999 Belgian Warmblood mare by Nabab de Reve x Chin Chin HARRIE SMOLDERS (NED), Team Exquis: 0/4/36.85
9. QUICK STUDY: 1999 Selle Francais gelding by Quick Star x What A Joy LAUREN HOUGH (USA), Laura Mateo: 0/10/49.77
10. QUABELLE: 2004 Selle Francais mare by Helrios de la Cour II x Kannan BLYTHE MARANO (USA), Riverview Farm LLC: 1/92.12
11. URUS 2: 2005 Oldenburg gelding by Canturo x Cento LJUBOV KOCHETOVA (RUS), Ljubov Kochetova: 1/92.77
12. FEROX B: 2005 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Quidam de Revel CSF x Contender LAURA KRAUT (USA), Mike Collins: 4/86.97
Final Results: $34,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.45m
1. CABALLITO: 2002 Oldenburg gelding by Contendro x Argentinus ANDRES RODRIGUEZ (VEN), Arao Enterprises LLC: 0/62.13
2. CHA CHA CHA 7: 2005 Oldenburg mare by Chacco-Blue x Quick Star KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Haity McNerney & Amalaya Investments: 0/63.31
3. VOLTARAL PALO BLANCO: 2002 KWPN mare by Voltaire x Contender ALVARO TEJADA ARRIOLO (GUA), Palo Blanco Stables: 0/63.73
4. SIMBA DE LA ROQUE: 2006 Selle Francais gelding by Kannan x Allegreto CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Conor Swail: 0/65.36
5. AZIBANTOS: 2005 KWPN gelding by Chin Chin x Cantos MCLAIN WARD (USA), Group C LLC: 0/65.88
6. ZAZOU: 2005 KWPN gelding by Furore x Zuidhorn CIAN O'CONNOR (IRL), Stall Gullik: 0/66.11
7. COSMA 20: 2003 Hanoverian mare by Couleur Rubin x Stakkato ABIGAIL MCARDLE (USA), David McArdle: 0/67.52
8. WAMIRA: 2003 KWPN mare by Oklund x Animo JOAO VICTOR CASTRO (BRA), Joao Victor Castro: 0/67.99
9. WALTER 61: 2002 Sachsen Anhaltiner gelding by Werenfels x Donator 1382 EMANUEL ANDRADE (VEN), Emanuel Andrade: 0/68.20
10. ROSIERE VESQUERIE: 2005 Selle Francais mare by Narcos II x Arpege Pierreville*HN LAUREN TISBO (USA), Tequestrian Farms LLC: 0/69.03
11. BARBARO: 2006 Oldenburg gelding by Balou du Rouet x Carthago NICOLAS PIZARRO (MEX), Nicolas Pizarro: 0/72.05
12. CORNET 39: 2004 Oldenburg gelding by Cornet Obolensky x Caletto I LAUREN HOUGH (USA), Paris Sellon: 0/73.20
Source: Press release from Jennifer Wood Media Inc.
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