Canada's Eric Lamaze and Rosana du Park are now two for two in this year's Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Series at the 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). After winning the $25,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 1 in the first week of competition, the pair stepped up to win Thursday's $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 2 in week two at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.
Sponsored by Wellington Equestrian Realty, the week's competition continues through Sunday, January 18, featuring the $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix CSI 2* on Saturday, January 17. The Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series will also get underway with its first two competitions of the circuit. The $10,000 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Welcome will be held on Saturday, January 17. The $25,000 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix, presented by Equine Couture/Tuff Rider, will be held on Sunday, January 18. WEF features 12 weeks of world-class competition through March 29, awarding over $8.2 million in prize money.
Luc Musette of Belgium set the track for Thursday's $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 2 in the International Arena at PBIEC with 73 entries and 13 clear rounds. Twelve of those moved on to the jump-off, where ten jumped double clear.
Kent Farrington (USA) and Amalaya Investments' Waomi were first to go and set a blistering pace in 40.92 seconds, but were pushed from the lead moments later when Lamaze and Artisan Farms LLC's Rosana du Park raced through the timers in 39.78 seconds. The time proved unbeatable, but Ian Millar (CAN) gave it his best effort.
Millar cleared the course in 40.75 seconds with Ariel and Susan Grange's Dixson to take second place, pushing Farrington into third. Laura Chapot (USA) and Mary Chapot's ISHD Dual Star jumped into fourth place in 41.60 seconds. Last to go, McLain Ward (USA) and Double H Farm's HH Cannavaro grabbed fifth place honors with their time of 41.66 seconds.
Commenting on another winning round with Rosana du Park, Lamaze stated, "Kent was really, really fast as an opening ride, so it just sort of answered all of the questions when you had to go for it. She is naturally so quick in the air, and she was very dependable in the rollback. I was very lucky to not only turn tight after the second to last fence, but I had a very forward distance to the oxer, which I think is where I made up a bit of time."
"When a horse is good and they are careful, everything suits them," Lamaze said of the ten-year-old Selle Francais mare (by Kannan). "I think she is very competitive. I can ask her to go fast on a straight line or turn very sharp to anything and she gives 100%, so she is a great mare and she is going to win a lot."
Lamaze also spoke of the day's course set by Luc Musette, declaring, "Luc is an incredible course designer. We see a lot of him in Europe. To build these types of classes with that many in it and be restricted to 1.45m I think is very difficult. He had 13 clear, so he really got the right number. It felt bigger than 1.45m. When I walked it I thought it was a nice course, but it ended up riding quite a bit bigger because of the lines, and it was full of options everywhere. A lot of riders took different options. People were trying to solve the puzzle with their own ability with their horse, so it made it interesting."
In week one, Lamaze and Rosana du Park won the WEF Challenge Cup out of 45 entries. This week the challenge increased to 73 entries in search of bigger prize money and FEI World Ranking points. The class was one out of 48 ranking classes throughout the circuit.
In addition to the winning portion of prize money, Lamaze was awarded the $3,000 SSG Gloves "Go Clean for the Green" bonus for the second week in a row. Each week of the WEF Challenge Series, a $3,000 bonus will be awarded to the winning rider if they are wearing SSG 'Digital' Riding Gloves in all rounds of competition with the SSG logo clearly visible.
Lamaze now heads on to Saturday night's $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix CSI 2* with Rosana du Park and hopes to continue his already winning season.
Also showing in the International Arena on Thursday, Venezuela took the top two places in the $8,000 1.45m jump-off class in the morning. Forty-seven showed with 15 clear rounds to jump-off and four double clears. Pablo Barrios and ZL Group, Inc.'s Zara Leandra were the winners in 40.23 seconds. Emanuel Andrade and AD Clouwni finished second in 40.93 seconds.
Source: Press release from Lauren Fisher and Maddy Stover for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
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