Canada's Eric Lamaze and Coriana Van Klapscheut, owned by Artisan Farms LLC, emerged victorious in Thursday afternoon's $32,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 8 at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). With 82 starters and a ten horse jump-off, the pair beat out Nick Skelton (GBR) and Beverley Widdowson's Carlo 273, who finished second and David Will (GER) and Klaus Isaak's Colorit, who placed third.
Anthony D'Ambrosio, of Red Hook, NY, is the course designer in the International Arena this week. D'Ambrosio set a demanding track for the Challenge Cup starters, and just ten were able to conquer the course to advance to the jump-off. The short course, in a time allowed of 50 seconds, saw six clears.
First to go in the jump-off, Eric Lamaze set a super fast pace that would go unbeaten with Coriana Van Klapscheut, jumping clear in 37.04 seconds. Ninth in the jump-off order, Nick Skelton and Carlo 273 were fast in 37.99 seconds to finish in second place. The final competitor on course was David Will, who went clear in 39.26 seconds with Colorit and placed third. Also completing this afternoon's jump-off course without fault, Cara Raether (USA) and Trelawny Farm LLC's Saskia 269 cleared the course in 39.34 seconds to finish in fourth place. Luca Moneta of Italy jumped clear in 46.03 seconds with Mastroeni Nicoletta's Neptune Brecourt to finish in fifth, and Germany's Meredith-Michaels Beerbaum and EOS Sport's Bella Donna 66 stopped the clock in 46.46 seconds, which finished sixth.
Coriana Van Klapscheut is a ten-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare by Darco x Heartbreaker. After the tragic loss of his Olympic gold medalist mount Hickstead in November, Lamaze has shown Coriana in top classes throughout the world, and she has risen to the challenge. This was the mare's first big class this winter, and he described her path to success in a greatly progressing career.
"She's a horse that we used as a speed horse most of her career to be honest. Behind Hickstead, she was always the second horse," Lamaze stated. "She ended up doing a lot of 1.45m and 1.50m speed classes and she was a winner doing that. I always thought she was brave and could jump the big fences, but she was never asked the question too many times."
"When I had no choice at the end of the year, she surprised me. It was a pleasant surprise, not only that she did it, but that she did it easily," Lamaze recalled. "She was second in the Top 10 in Paris, and that's one of the most difficult classes in the world that I've been in. To be honest, a lot of people with horses don't know what they have until they ask them the real question."
"Towards the end of the year she became my main horse, my best horse, my most experienced horse," he continued. "She had to step up to the plate in the fall and she went in such great style that when I got home from Geneva, she had some time off. She did two 1.40m classes at the beginning of this circuit and this was her first big class of the year. I'm really happy. I don't know what is next for her, but I think she'll do Paris indoors; this is her preparation for that. Then she goes on to Qatar from there."
Commenting on the jump-off today, Lamaze said he knew he was fast, but he never counts out the other competitors. "She's very quick, but Nick is a very fast rider. On this circuit, I've seen jump-offs that I've watched with my own eyes and said, 'There's the winner,' and at the end they've ended up being fourth, so it's extremely competitive. I can't say I had it, but I know she's extremely fast. She spends no time in the air. I thought for sure I gave it a very good go, whatever the result. I don't think if I went again I could beat that time."
For full results, please visit www.showgroundslive.com.
Final Results: $32,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 8
1. CORIANA VAN KLAPSCHEUT: 2002 BWP mare by Darco x Heartbreaker ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Artisan Farms LLC: 0/0/37.04
2. CARLO 273: 2001 Holsteiner gelding by Contender x Cascavelle NICK SKELTON (GBR), Beverly Widdowson: 0/0/37.99
3. COLORIT: 2003 Württemberger stallion by Coriano x Capitol DAVID WILL (GER), Isaak Klaus: 0/0/39.26
4. SASKIA 269: 2002 Holsteiner mare by Quantum x Carthago CARA RAETHER (USA), Trelawny Farm LLC: 0/0/39.34
5. NEPTUNE BRECOURT: 2001 Selle Francais gelding by Cumano x Kayack LUCA MONETA (ITA), Mastroeni Nicoletta: 0/0/46.03
6. BELLA DONNA 66: 2003 Holsteiner mare by Baldini II x Calido I MEREDITH MICHAELS-BEERBAUM (GER), EOS Sport: 0/0/46.46
7. CEDRIC: 1998 Holsteiner gelding by Chambertin x Carolus Z LAURA KRAUT (USA), Cherry Knoll Farm, Inc: 0/4/39.08
8. LEVISTANO 2: 2002 Holsteiner stallion by Levisto x Lord TODD MINIKUS (USA): Starwyn Ventures LLC: 0/4/40.78
9. BARONEZ: 2001 Warmblood mare by Heartbreaker x Unknown KIRSTEN COE (USA), Ilan Ferder & Kirsten Coe: 0/4/43.36
10. WANNAHAVE: 2003 KWPN gelding by Manhattan x G. Ramiro Z DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), The Wannahave Group: 0/8/39.15
11. HUNTER'S SCENDIX: 2003 Hanoverian stallion by Stakkato x Dinar ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), LVS Hunters/Torrey Pine Stables: 1/76.11
12. URAYA: 2001 KWPN mare by Farmer x Zeno CHARLIE JAYNE (USA), Pony Lane Farm: 4/68.68
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