Equestrian Sport Productions' Holiday & Horses competition concluded on Sunday at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL, with a win for Sharn Wordley (NZL) and Popstar Lozonais in the $10,000 Equiline Open Stake class. Catsy Cruz of Mexico has been the course designer for international jumper competition all week and concluded with a challenging track for Sunday's exhibitors. Fifty entries showed in round one with 17 clear rounds to advance to the jump-off.
The riders were given an option to jump immediately following their first round or wait until the end of the first round to jump-off, and although several chose the immediate option, there were no double clear rounds until the end.
Abigail McArdle (USA) set the pace in 37.19 seconds aboard David McArdle's Cadeto eventually finish in third place. A few rounds later, Lucas Porter (USA) and Sleepy P Ranch LLC's Mill's Georgia stole the lead in 36.14 seconds. They eventually settled for second place when Sharn Wordley and Ashland Stables' Popstar Lozonais took over the top spot, last to go and almost two seconds faster in 34.39 seconds.
Wordley has ridden Popstar Lozonais, an 11-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Quick Star x Muguet du Manoir), for one year and has had great results. "He is a speed machine," the rider smiled after his win. "He is by Quick Star, and he actually won the seven-year-old championships in Fontainebleau. He is 11 now, so he has always been a good horse. At the 1.45m level he is really fast. He is a little tricky to ride, but always wins a class at most shows that I go to."
"He is just a typical Quick Star," Wordley described. "He is mouthy and he hops up and down and bucks halfway through a line. It took me a while to get a partnership with him, but now it has been good. He has won a couple of the $10,000 classes here, and he won in Kentucky and Tryon. He is winning all over the place, so I am really happy to have him as a part of the team."
Speaking of Sunday's course, Wordley noted, "I thought it was tricky enough. There were quite a lot in it and there weren't that many double clean, so it was obviously tricky enough even though it was only 1.40m. I think the triple combination away from the gate caught a few people, and it just took some jumping with all the other jumps."
"I got to see Abigail and she was really fast, and then Lucas came out and beat her," Wordley detailed on the jump-off. "I was planning to do one more extra stride to the last jump, so I had to make up a bit of time at the beginning, but he is so fast. It is hard to judge how fast you are actually going. I didn't plan on being two seconds faster because it was already a fast class, but it just happened that way. He is so fast at turning, and he is so quick. He is an amazing horse." Wordley looks forward to the winter season in Wellington and will continue aiming Popstar Lovonais at the 1.45m world ranking classes throughout the circuit.
Final Results: $10,000 Equiline Open Stake
1 612 POPSTAR LOZONAIS SHARN WORDLEY ASHLAND STABLES: 0/0/34.393
2 346 MILL'S GEORGIA LUCAS PORTER SLEEPY P RANCH LLC: 0/0/36.142
3 123 CADE ABIGAIL MCARDLE DAVID MCARDLE: 0/0/37.195
4 749 PHENIX ROYAL JUAN ORTIZ STRANSKY'S MISSION FARMS, INC: 0/0/37.238
5 181 BRIANDA ALI WOLFF JOHN C WOLFF: 0/0/39.042
6 211 HOT TOPIC NINA FAGERSTROM FINCA HORSES: 0/0/41.645
7 442 LIVERPOOL MARK BLUMAN STRANSKY'S MISSION FARMS, INC: 0/4/36.685
8 522 SHIVER LIZA FINSNESS LIZA FINSNESS: 0/4/40.049
9 583 UTAN ANGELA COVERT ANGELA COVERT: 0/4/40.809
10 498 OSIRIS GEMMA PATERNOSTER GEMMA PATERNOSTER & JULIA HARRISON LEE: 0/4/42.433
11 956 AHAVEROS HENRIK GUNDERSEN HENRIK GUNDERSEN: 0/4/47.654
12 759 WOODSTOCK O KALVIN DOBBS TREESDALE FARMS: 0/4/50.556
Source: Press release from Equestrian Sport Productions
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