Friday evening of week nine at the 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) featured the $25,000 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series Semi-Final, presented by Kingsland Equestrian, under the lights of the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). Laurenz Buhl (GER) took the victory with Gotham Enterprizes LLC's River Dance Semilly. Stephen Moore (IRL) placed second with Fantasy, owned by Oakland Ventures LLC, while Alise Oken (USA) and Hitchcock vd Broekkant were third.
Douglas Elliman Real Estate is the title sponsor of week nine's competition. WEF nine runs March 4-8, 2015, featuring the $372,000 FEI World Cup™ Grand Prix CSI-W 5*, presented by Douglas Elliman Real Estate, on Saturday, March 7. Several classes throughout the week will be live streamed at www.coth.com. Watch Saturday night's grand prix beginning at 7 pm here - http://bit.ly/1FY5PkK. Sunday's $85,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic will be shown live beginning at approximately 10:00 a.m. at http://bit.ly/18QxRVj.
The Under 25 competition saw 34 entries with just two able to clear the challenging track set by Alan Wade (IRL) without fault. Buhl and Moore, both 22 years old, went head-to-head in the tiebreaking jump-off.
First to go, Buhl and River Dance Semilly completed the short course in a fast time of 45.67 seconds, but dropped a rail at the final fence that left the win in the balance. Moore tried for a clear round, but also had a rail on course with Fantasy. His time was slower time in 45.78 seconds to put the pair in second place.
Buhl first came to the United States to ride for Georgina Bloomberg's Gotham Enterprizes two years ago and happily returned at the end of 2014 to spend his winter in Wellington. He showed River Dance Semilly for the first time in the under 25 class on the derby field during week six and was excited for the opportunity to compete the 10-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Kalaska de Semilly x Ulior des Isles) again under the lights.
"I came to Georgina in October and I started to ride him a little bit, but when the season started here she showed him. Then, lucky me, I got the opportunity to ride him for the under 25 series. I rode him once two weeks ago and now this class," Buhl explained. "He is very comfortable to ride. He is careful, he is quick and he gives you a very good feeling on the jumps, so it is actually an easy job."
Buhl was disappointed to have the rail at the final fence in the jump-off, but he was thrilled to get the win in the end and took the experience in stride.
"I got a little bit excited to the last jump," he declared. "I actually planned to do one more stride there, but I just saw the distance and I took it. That was the wrong decision, but it still came out good. This series definitely gives you that experience. It is great that we have the opportunity to jump under the lights. It is just different to jump in this ring, so it is great for us."
Moore also had a good learning experience under the lights with his mount, Fantasy, a 10-year-old Hanoverian mare (For Pleasure x Acord II). Moore first came to Wellington last winter and returned to train with Darragh Kenny this year. Fantasy began the winter with a second place finish with Kenny in the Trump Invitational Grand Prix, presented by Rolex, and has since carried Moore throughout the under 25 series.
"She has been knocking on the door; we have just had stupid mistakes," Moore stated. "She should have been clear in a couple of the classes. Tonight she was very good and jumped a nice clear. She should have been clear in the jump-off too, but it was my own fault."
The riders agreed that Alan Wade's course was difficult, but fair, with many different challenges. For Oken and Hi Hopes Farm LLC's Hitchcock vd Broekkant, it was the tight time allowed that placed the pair in third with one time fault on the first round course.
"When I walked it, it was a stout 1.45m, but there was not one place that I thought was going to be the toughest area," Oken stated. "I think Alan did a really good job of making it difficult throughout the course. You didn't have any time to take your time. I had to go first, so I didn't really know what to expect. I probably would have done things a bit different if I had known I had to go faster, but I think he did a great job designing tonight."
With seven classes held throughout the WEF circuit, the Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series, presented by The Dutta Corp. in association with Guido Klatte, gives young riders a valuable stepping-stone from the junior and amateur ranks to the grand prix level. The $50,000 series final will be held week 11 on Sunday, March 22.
"This under 25 series is a great opportunity for young riders to have experiences like showing out on the derby field and under the lights," Oken noted. "I was riding my eight-year-old, so he is a young horse and I think it was a great experience for him to be under the lights. I didn't know what to expect, but it was really good preparation for him and I for the future. I can't thank Artisan enough for sponsoring the series."
"It gives us a chance to be competitive in this kind of environment," Moore added. "There is no chance that I would jump in a Saturday night class. This is a brilliant chance for me to do something like this, or to jump on the derby field, and it gives us something that we can really lock stock into and aim towards, so I am very thankful for the chance. Thank you to the Zieglers and Gianluca Caron and Kingsland, (as well as The Dutta Corp. and Guido Klatte)."
1. 509 RIVER DANCE SEMILLY LAURENZ BUHL (GER) GOTHAM ENTERPRIZES LLC: 0/4/45.67
2. 1391 FANTASY STEPHEN MOORE (IRL) OAKLAND VENTURES LLC: 0/4/45.78
3. 1008 HITCHCOCK VD BROEKKANT ALISE OKEN (USA) HI HOPES FARM LLC: 1/81.61
4. 4752 URBAN VIRGINIA INGRAM (USA) RIVERVIEW FARM LLC: 1/82.59
5. 2549 CHAMONIX H KELLI CRUCIOTTI (USA) SERENITY EQUESTRIAN VENTURES LLC: 4/78.06
6. 817 DON'T GO CATHERINE TYREE (USA) CATHERINE TYREE: 4/78.32
7. 4461 QUIDAM MB ADRIENNE STERNLICHT (USA) STARLIGHT FARMS LLC: 4/79.19
8. 2359 LUCCA TONI EUGENIO GARZA (MEX) EL MILAGRO: 4/79.79
9. 5282 AVON ALEXANDER ZETTERMAN (SWE) PVRY EQUESTRIAN AB: 4/79.82
10. 4229 HESTER LUCY DESLAURIERS (USA) LISA DESLAURIERS: 4/79.92
11. 1368 G&C FLASH TAYLOR ALEXANDER (USA) ALEXANDER LLC: 4/80.74
11. 7062 DOMINO VAN DE HEERMITAGE STEPHEN MOORE (IRL) OAKLAND VENTURES LLC: 4/80.74
Source: Press release from Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
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