USA's Wilton Porter led the victory gallop over Venezuela's Emanuel Andrade and Luis Fernando Larrazabal in Friday's $34,000 1.45m speed class at the 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Porter and his mount, Sleepy P Ranch LLC's Paloubet, steered to victory for the first time this season as they gear up for the end of the winter circuit and the season ahead.
The tenth week of WEF competition, sponsored by Horseware Ireland, runs March 11-15. The highlight event of the week is the $127,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 3* on Saturday, March 14, which will be live streamed at this link - http://bit.ly/18EqpLH. The $34,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic on Sunday will also live streamed here - http://bit.ly/1wZSYz4.
Michel Vaillancourt (USA) saw 64 entries on his 1.45m speed track on Friday with 17 clear rounds. Andrade held an early lead in 68.49 seconds with ZZ Top v/h Schaarbroek Z, until Larrazabal and San Francisco Stables LLC's G&C Close Up took over in 66.55 seconds. Porter then soon stole the top spot with Paloubet in 64.95 seconds. Andrade returned at the end, determined with his second mount Fananka A, but just missed the mark and posted the second best time of 65.01 seconds.
Paloubet, a 14-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Baloubet Du Rouet x Voltaire), has had a light show schedule this winter. He placed eleventh in week two's $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix CSI 2* and showed lightly throughout the winter. This week, he came out fresh as Porter prepares for the final weeks of the circuit.
"He had kind of a quiet season, especially compared to last year," Porter stated. "We have been trying to save him here for the end, for the final stretch. We got results in the grand prix week two and since then he has just been taking it easy and he was really good today."
Commenting on his winning round, Porter explained, "I saw Luis go, and he was pretty fast. It was a tough course I thought. Sometimes the speed courses are not quite as difficult and people really end up racing around, but today you had to balance a little bit between speed and trying to jump a clear round. There was one turn to the triple combination that, when I walked it, I thought everybody was going to do that inside turn, but you ended up not even having to do that in order to have the fastest time. I didn't see Emanuel on his last horse, but I would have been sweating it. I was still walking around in the warm-up ring."
Porter and Paloubet have a great partnership that has improved with each year, and the gelding has brought his rider up the ranks and taught him a lot.
"I have had him for a few years now, and I have definitely gotten to know him really well. He is obviously pretty unique," the rider noted. "I think over the years I have just become smoother with him with the help of my trainer, John Roche, and my past trainers, Katie and Henri Prudent. I have just developed smoothness, he has taught me that, because otherwise he just runs away with me."
"He is pretty calm at home. You would not think that he is such a strong horse in the ring when you are just flatting him at home," Porter added. "He is very quiet, and he is pretty nice to ride actually."
A sophomore at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, Porter travels back and forth from school each week to compete. He now has his sights set on next week's WEF Challenge Cup and hopes to qualify for the week's grand prix with Paloubet. He kept the horse rested for the final weeks of competition with the ultimate goal of competing in week twelve's $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5*.
Along with his success in the 1.45m, Porter also finished second with Sleepy P Ranch LLC's Patriot in Section A of Friday's $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Speed Challenge. Held in a California split, Laura Chapot (USA) and Bradberry were the winners in Section A, and Sydney Shulman (USA) and Jill Shulman's Venice topped Section B. Chapot was also second and third in Section B with The Edge's Out of Ireland and Mary Chapot's Umberto respectively.
1. PALOUBET: 2001 Selle Francais gelding by Baloubet Du Rouet x Voltaire
WILTON PORTER (USA), Sleepy P Ranch LLC: 0/64.95
2. FANANKA A: 2005 BWP mare by Chin Chin x Kannan
EMANUEL ANDRADE (VEN), Emanuel Andrade: 0/65.01
3. G&C CLOSE UP: 2007 KWPN gelding by Eurocommerce Washington x Cobra
LUIS LARRAZABAL (VEN), San Francisco Stables LLC: 0/66.55
4. ZZ TOP VH SCHAARBROEK Z: 2001 Zangersheide gelding by Zandor Z x Latus I
EMANUEL ANDRADE (VEN), Emanuel Andrade: 0/68.49
5. DOOLEY'S DELUXE: 2004 Sachsen Anhaltiner gelding by Dinglinger x Lesotho
VANESSA MANNIX (CAN), Vanessa Mannix: 0/68.85
6. HEROS: 2007 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Canadian River x Clinton
AMY MILLAR (CAN), AMMO Investments: 0/71.09
7. UNICO: 2001 KWPN gelding by Odermus R x Wuzo
SPENCER BRITTAN (USA), Stransky's Mission Farms, Inc: 0/71.86
8. VICTORY DA: 1998 Belgian Warmblood mare by Clinton x Attach Z
AUDREY COULTER (USA), Copernicus Stables, LLC: 0/73.21
9. GENTLEY: 2006 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Bentley vd Heffinck x Major de la Cour
FILIP DE WANDEL (BEL) Filip de Wandel: 0/73.48
10. REBECA LS: 2006 SLS mare by Rebozo LS La Silla x Cassini I
BRIANNE GOUTAL (USA), Remarkable Farms LP: 0/74.27
11. CORNET 39: 2004 Oldenburg gelding by Cornet Obolensky x Caletto I
LAUREN HOUGH (USA), Paris Sellon:0/75.77
12. ZIPPO CG: 2004 KWPN stallion by Hold Up Premier x Quinar
JUAN PABLO PIVARAL (GUA), Luis Garcia: 0/77.91
Source: Press release from Jennifer Wood Media.
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