The 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) continued with its twelfth week of competition at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) on Thursday with a full schedule of jumper action in the International Arena. The Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Series hosted its final leg of the twelve-week series with a win for Beezie Madden (USA) and Cortes 'C'.
Anthony D'Ambrosio (USA) set the track for Thursday's Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup competition, which saw 69 competitors in round one with 15 clear rides to advance to the jump-off. Eight jumped double clear over the short course, where Madden and Abigail Wexner's Cortes 'C' blazed through the course in 36.91 seconds for the win, second to last in the jump-off order. The pair surpassed the time of last week's winners, Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Artisan Farms LLC's Zigali P S, who finished second in 37.74 seconds. Jessica Springsteen (USA) had another great finish with Stone Hill Farm's Vindicat W, placing third with their time of 38.19 seconds.
This was the second win of the series for Madden and Cortes 'C' after the pair also topped the $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 8 during CSIO week. They now have their sights set on Saturday night's big class as the finale to the circuit.
"He is fantastic. He just canters around and jumps over the fences," Madden praised Cortes. "He makes my job very easy. I know him quite well right now, so I know where I can leave strides out and I know where I might want to do the normal strides. He is so solid about everything; I feel like I don't have to do this or have to do that, I can do whatever I think is best to jump the course clear."
Detailing her plan in jump-off, Madden noted, "In the beginning I was going to hunt around nice, but then it looked like I could probably take a shot at winning without taking a lot of risk, especially when McLain (Ward) did seven (strides) up the first line as easy as he did on his second horse. I thought if somebody could do it, then I could do it the same. I was just nice back to the vertical and I knew I could take a cut into that double with him, and then the end was kind of how I would have done it anyway even if I wasn't blazing around, so it worked out good for me. I would have done the end the same anyway just to get him to gallop. He goes Saturday night too, so it is good for him to really gallop and set himself up at the fences."
Madden feels good going into the finale grand prix with another win for Cortes and hopes for a good class. "It is nice. Sometimes you wouldn't run a horse before a big class like that, but I didn't think I had to run that fast," she admitted. "He seems to like it, to just be able to go, and it is nice to be able to set the tone for the week and be on a roll."
Madden chose to use Cortes for Saturday night after making the decision to take Simon back to the FEI World Cup Finals this year to defend his championship title. Cortes remains confident showing day or night, and Madden looks forward to a great end to the circuit.
"He has been confident at night," she stated. "I have to say when he was younger the first year here, the night bothered him a little, but knock on wood since then he has been very good at night."
The horse is also very simple to prepare, no matter how big the class. "This morning he got a few bucks out on the lunge line because he had not shown in a while and it was windy and cold," Madden explained. "He never acts that fresh when I'm on him, but he has it pent up sometimes, so it is nice for him to get some bucks out. Then I flatted him and went. He is pretty simple that way. I will probably give him a light day tomorrow and then a flat Saturday morning and go. He is uncomplicated, and we try to keep it that way."
Final Results: $50,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 12
1. CORTES 'C': 2002 BWP gelding by Randel Z x Darco
BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Abigail Wexner: 0/0/36.91
2. ZIGALI P S: 2004 KWPN gelding by Kigali x Palfrenier
ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Artisan Farms LLC: 0/0/37.74
3. VINDICAT W: 2002 KWPN gelding by Guidam x Libero H
JESSICA SPRINGSTEEN (USA), Stone Hill Farm: 0/0/38.19
4. PIRONELLA: 2005 Canadian Warmblood mare by Non Stop x Pilot
KEEAN WHITE (CAN), Angelstone Partners: 0/0/38.35
5. FYLOE VH CLAEYSSENHOF: 2005 BWP gelding by Burggraaf x Hearbreaker
DANIEL DEUSSER (GER), Stephex Stables: 0/0/38.56
6. Q ROYAL PALM Z: 2005 Zangersheide mare by Quidam de Revel
EIKEN SATO (JPN), Stephex Stables: 0/0/38.84
7. WAOMI: 2003 KWPN mare by Lupicor x Boreas
MEAGAN NUSZ (USA), Amalaya Investments: 0/0/38.91
8. QUIDAM'S CHERIE: 2005 Oldenburg mare by Quidam's Rubin x Lifestyle
CIAN O'CONNOR (IRL), Adena Springs: 0/0/44.34
9. SHOWGIRL: 2000 Selle Francais mare by Gold De Becourt x Elf III
YANN CANDELE (CAN), The Watermark Group: 0/4/37.35
10. TIC-TAC: 2003 Belgian Sport Horse stallion by Clinton x Darco
LESLIE HOWARD (USA), Jane Clark: 0/4/39.38
11. POWERPLAY: 2004 Holsteiner gelding by Casall x Limbus
ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Artisan Farms LLC: 0/4/39.87
12. CANNAVARO D: 2004 Holsteiner stallion by Caplan x Caretino
MCLAIN WARD (USA), Arnoud Dobber: 0/4/40.29
Source: Press release from Jennifer Wood Media Inc.
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