The second week of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival came to a close Sunday, and competition in the International Arena was fierce with the $25,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic. Marie Hecart (FRA) was the fastest clear round in the jump-off on Ecurie Michel Hecart's Oceane de Nantuel. Second place went to last week's 1.50m winners, Nick Skelton (GBR) and Beverley Widdowson's Unique. Yann Candele (CAN) and Lansdowne, owned by Susan Grange, were third. Today's class was the second in the in the Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Series. The Series returns this year with the $50,000 Leading Horse/Rider Combination Award, which gives bonus money to the top three horse/rider combinations in the series.
Luc Musette of Belgium designed the course for today's class. There were 38 entries in the class, and nine were clear into the jump-off. As the second pair into the ring for the jump-off, Hecart and Oceane de Nantuel set the winning time at 37.552 seconds and couldn't be beat.
"I went fast 1-2-3, but then I added a stride to the combination," Hecart said of her jump-off ride. "I thought that I would not win because I added and everybody went fast. The end was fast too, but the combination wasn't fast at all. I was a little bit right, left and I waited a bit. It worked this time."
Skelton and Unique made a great bid for the win but were just 5/10ths of a second slower in 38.025 seconds. Candele and Lansdowne posted a time of 39.783 seconds for third place. Laura Kraut (USA) rode Woodstock O, owned by Joan Kalman, to fourth place in 40.147 seconds. Riding Sinead and Oonagh Kennedy's KEC Alligator Alley, Ireland's Cian O'Connor placed fifth with a clear round and a time of 40.239 seconds.
Hecart has gotten the ride on Oceane de Nantuel, a 10-year-old Selle Francais mare by Diamant de Semilly x Quidam de Revel, since her father Michel was injured. "She jumped the $500,000 (grand prix at the FTI WEF) with my father last year and she went clear. My father got hurt this year; he had a bad fall, so I'm riding the horses," she explained. "It's the third class that I've done with her. She is ready!"
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Source: Press release Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.