The 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) continued on Thursday with round 8 of its Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Series and a win for USA's Beezie Madden aboard Abigail Wexner's Cortes 'C'. The class was held in a timed first round format with 19 clear rounds out of 78 starters with the win for Madden and Cortes 'C', with McLain Ward (USA) and Zander in second, and Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) and Citizenguard Cadjanine Z in third.
Steve Stephens (USA) set the speed track for Thursday's $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 8 that saw the winning round for Beezie Madden and Cortes 'C' in 65.83 seconds. McLain Ward and Zander completed the second place round in 66.44 seconds. Rodrigo Pessoa and Citizenguard Cadjanine Z set the pace early on in 66.83 seconds to eventually finish third.
Madden has a great relationship with Cortes 'C' that includes many top finishes in Wellington and around the world, and the rider was happy with their very fast round on Thursday. "He is a blast to ride. He just does it," Madden described of the 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Randel Z x Darco). "You just kind of canter around and steer. He canters to the jump, and he jumps over it. He makes my job very easy."
"It is difficult with a class this big, but I had plan of what I thought I could do with him," Madden said of her round. "He can leave out strides where other horses might not be able to. He did it easily, leaving out the strides, like to the last fence and from jump one to two. It doesn't really get him riled up to do that. He went beautifully, so I was happy."
Madden has a fantastic string of top horses right now, including Cortes 'C', Coral Reef Via Volo, and Simon, who she will ride in Friday night's $75,000 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™, presented by G&C Farm. She is also excited about a talented new mount, Breitling LS, who placed third in this morning's 1.45m class.
"I am very lucky with what I have right now," the rider acknowledged. "I have a fabulous young horse that was third today in the 1.45m, so I am really excited about that too. He is coming along really well."
Madden looks forward to Friday's Nations Cup and feels good about Team USA's chances on home turf. "We have a good team. On paper I think we look pretty good, but as we know anything can happen in the Nations Cup," Madden noted. "I think Robert (Ridland) did great picking the team. He's got hot riders and hot horses right now, so that's all he can do. For sure it is important to us to win here. It will be a pressure cooker tomorrow night."
Madden felt that Simon and Cortes 'C' were her top horses to compete this week and chose Simon for the Nations Cup. "He feels good," she stated. "Last week was the first week we showed him, so he feels fresh and ready to go. I had both he and Cortes ready to go this week because I think we were risking a little starting late with Simon, but he came out and he looked great last week, so I am going to go with him."
She spoke about the difference between the two incredibly talented horses, stating, "Simon is funny. He is laid back at home. He is not really more high strung than Cortes, but he gets his blood up a little more, and he takes a stronger hold of me. You have to keep him together, and that's when he makes his best jump. I know his moves a little bit now, and he knows mine, and we work together. He can jump from anything. It's amazing how slow you can go to a big oxer and he sails over. Cortes, he is just the happiest if you can pretty much just steer and leave him to his own devices."
"He is so sweet," Madden added of Cortes. "He loves people. I think he would like to be a lap dog in his next life because when you walk in his stall he just puts his head on your shoulder. That's all he wants to do is be cuddled."
Thursday's competition began with an $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45 jump-off class with a win for Italy's Lorenzo de Luca aboard Mike Collins' Cornetiero. The Hollow Creek Farm Nations' Cup Series also hosted jump-off Classics for its Children's, Junior, and Young Rider divisions in the afternoon.
Final Results: $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 8
1. CORTES 'C': 2002 BWP gelding by Randel Z x Darco
BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Abigail Wexner: 0/65.83
2. ZANDER: 2004 KWPN gelding Cantos x Saygon
MCLAIN WARD (USA), McLain Ward & Grant Road Partners: 0/66.44
3. CITIZENGUARD CADJANINE Z: 2002 Zangersheide mare by Canabis Z x Feinschnitt I Z
RODRIGO PESSOA (BRA), Alain Van Campenhoudt: 0/66.83
4. FYLOE VH CLAEYSSENHOF: 2005 BWP gelding by Burggraaf x Hearbreaker
DANIEL DEUSSER (GER), Stephex Stables: 0/69.53
5. VOLTARAL PALO BLANCO: 2002 KWPN mare by Voltaire x Contender
ALVARO TEJADA ARRIOLO (GUA), Palo Blanco Stables: 0/69.62
6. MARK Q: 2002 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Obos Quality 004 x Positively
KEVIN BABINGTON (IRL), Kevin Babington: 0/69.90
7. SHORAPUR: 2005 Hanoverian mare by Stakkato Gold x Drosselklang II
KEVIN BABINGTON (IRL), Shorapur LLC: 0/71.59
8. DYNAMO: 2003 BWP gelding by Skippy II x Lys de Darmen
MEAGAN NUSZ (USA), Amalaya Investments: 0/71.83
9. RECONNAISSANCE: 2005 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Camaro M x Irco Mena
LAUREN HOUGH (USA), Laura & Meredith Mateo: 0/71.94
10. ROUNDTHORN MADIOS: 2002 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Condios x Clover Hill
LAUREN TISBO (USA), Tequestrian Farms, LLC: 0/72.09
11. MAKAVOY: 2003 KWPN gelding by Hors La Loi II x Ahorn
BEN ASSELIN (CAN), Attache Stables: 0/72.31
12. CONTANGA 3: 2004 Oldenburg mare by Catoki x Contango
ANDRE THIEME (GER), Andre Thieme: 0/72.32
Source: Press release from Lauren Fisher and Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
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