A great crowd came out to watch the $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival. Topping a full field of competitors and winning in front of more than 4,000 spectators was Great Britain's Scott Brash on Stan Brash's Intertoy Z. Olympic gold medalist Eric Lamaze was second on Torrey Pines & Ashland Stables' Derly Chin de Muze. Eighteen-year-old Katherine Dinan was third on Grant Road Partners' Vancouver.
This week's course designer in the International Arena is Luc Musette of Belgium. The class had 50 entries, and 12 of those were clear to advance to the jump-off. Brash noted, "The course was good. It wasn't overly big, but it is nice to not have to jump big every single weekend. Although it wasn't too big there were still not too many clear. Twelve clear was good, and the jump-off was good. It caught a lot of people. It was a good class."
The jump-off started slowly with the first four riders having faults, but then Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum recorded a clear round on Cantano, owned by Octavia Farms LLC. She crossed the timers in 42.16 seconds, which would hold up for fourth place. The next clear round came from Andrew Bourns on Roundthorn Madious. They stopped the clock in 42.50 seconds for fifth place.
Brash was the next in, and he brought the winning pace down to 40.02 seconds. "He is a big, slow jumper but he was fast tonight. The big ring suits him," Brash said. Eric Lamaze went for the victory with Derly Chin de Muze, but they were just off the pace in 40.23 seconds. "I saw Scott go and he was very fast," Lamaze remarked. "I did one less to the double, but she is a big horse and she is fairly inexperienced, so I was very happy with the result. I think I went as fast as I could go, it just wasn't fast enough tonight. It was close, but I am really happy."
He said of Derly Chin de Muze, "It is a horse that the Fleischhackers own. She was purchased for Ashley but she was nice enough to lend her back to me. I started the horse as a seven-year-old and then did a little bit with her last year. I am very happy to have her and she is a really good horse. It is a horse that is going to for sure have a great career. We are going to aim at the highest standard with her."
The final horse on course was Vancouver and Katherine Dinan. They were quick and clean in 41.20 seconds for third place. Dinan was also named the Leading Lady Jumper Rider, an award sponsored by Martha Jolicoeur of Illustrated Properties in memory of Dale Lawler. "I am just excited to be consistent in the classes here. Last year I did a few grand prixs here but this is really the first year where I am trying to do them consistently every weekend in bigger classes," Dinan said. "I am lucky to have Vancouver who is perfect. He is a brave soul and he will try anything for me, so that made me feel a lot of confidence going into these big classes under the lights. I am just thrilled to be in the jump-off and to go clear and try to go as fast as I can while staying composed. That is a big thing for me."
Dinan trains with McLain Ward, who was injured last week and still recovering at home this week. "This week has been a little different because my trainer is at home, so I have been kind of having to figure a few things out for myself a little more, but for the most part I just try to figure what I am going to do walking the course, and then try to execute it as well as I can," Dinan pointed out. "I was glad to be able to do something to put a smile on his face while he is at home."
The 26-year-old Brash already has a wealth of international experience, and has had his own business for seven years. Brash has owned Intertoy Z, a 13-year-old Zangersheide gelding by Interadel x Centauer, since he was five years old, and they have grown up together to compete in the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and the European Championships. Brash has come to the FTI WEF for the entire circuit this winter and brought four horses. He hopes to get his top horses ready for an Olympic Games bid.
"It is great to win here. Hopefully I can continue to do as well. It is quite important. You want to come here and get up and running for the season and get your horses going early and then hopefully just tick along really, but you have to prove a bit of form," Brash explained. "When it comes down to championships there are only so many horses that can do them to be honest and you just have get your horse in good form and then keep it sound really and then keep things right until the championships. That is the main idea."
For full results, please visit www.showgroundslive.com.
1. INTERTOY Z (1999 Zangersheide gelding by Interadel x Centauer)/SCOTT BRASH (GBR), Stan Brash: 0/0/40.02
2. DERLY CHIN DE MUZE (2003 BWP mare by For Pleasure x Nebab de Reve)/ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Ashland Stables: 0/0/40.23
3. VANCOUVER (1998 Thoroughbred cross gelding by Voltaire II x Unknown)/KATHERINE DINAN (USA), Grant Road Partners: 0/0/41.20
4. CANTANO (2000 Holsteiner stallion by Cascavelle x Acord)/MEREDITH MICHAELS-BEERBAUM (GER), Octavia Farms LLC: 0/0/42.16
5. ROUNDTHORN MADIOS (2002 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Condios x Clover Hill)/ANDREW BOURNS (IRL), Andrew Bourns: 0/0/42.50
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