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Marilyn Little and Clearwater top Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic at WEF

Sunday, 19 February 2017
CSI3* WEF Week 6 2017

Photo (c) Sportfot. Marilyn Little and Clearwater. Photo (c) Sportfot.

USA's Marilyn Little won the $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic riding Clearwater on Saturday of week six at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival.

Jumping a course set by Richard Jeffery (GBR) on the derby field at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, Little and Karen O'Connor's Clearwater topped a class of 34 and a three-horse jump-off to take victory. They cleared the short course in 39.27 seconds. 

France's Marie Hecart and Myself de Breve stopped the clock in 41.96 seconds for second place. Mavis Spencer (USA) and Neil Jones Equestrian's Chacco finished third with four faults for a rail, as well as one time fault, in the jump-off.

Saturday's win was a quick comeback for Little, who was leading the $100,000 Land Rover Wellington Eventing Showcase two weeks ago when she and her mount, RF Scandalous, took a bad fall on the cross-country course. Although RF Scandalous was unharmed, Little hit her head and took some time to recover. 

"The last time I was out here I had a fall in the Eventing, so this is a little bit of redemption for me on the field," she acknowledged. "After the fall, I have been getting better and better. Yesterday was the first day that I really felt like I was back to myself. A week ago, it was dicey. I hit my head pretty hard. Luckily, I had an airvest on and a great helmet that really cushioned me. It could have been a lot worse, but here we are. We are still playing the game, and I am happy to be here.

"It was a great course today. It was really exciting, and Clearwater is so much fun to ride in the jump-offs," Little continued, speaking of the ten-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Clearway x Come On). "He is young, but he really loves the fields. He has been a little bit unlucky over the last few weeks, but he has been getting progressively better over the last year. He has jumped some really big classes, so this was nice to back him down to the 1.50m."

Speaking of her winning jump-off, Little explained, "I knew that Marie's horse in particular can be very fast. I have known that horse for a long time. It is clever, and fast, and Marie is always super competitive. Initially, I thought if I laid down a good clear round, Mavis would have to chase me, but then once I knew that Marie was in the jump-off, everything changed. I knew that I was going to have to lay down something that could win no matter how many people were in the jump-off. Luckily, he is a really quick horse. This was his first time out on that field, so he was a little bit lost, but he really looks. He is always looking for the flags; that is what we say about eventers." 

Lucy Deslauriers and Hester win Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Welcome, presented by EnTrust Capita

Lucy Deslauriers (17) of New York, NY, guided Lisa Deslauriers' Hester to victory in Saturday morning's $10,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Welcome, presented by EnTrust Capital, on the derby field at PBIEC. The 2015 winners of the Under 25 Series overall, the pair perfected Richard Jeffery's (GBR) speed track in 69.57 seconds.

Forty-eight entries started over the first round speed course, and nine completed clear rounds. Second place went to Mackenzie Drazan (USA) and Waliba VDL in 70.85 seconds. Third place was presented to Jessica Mendoza (GBR) riding Horst van de Mispelaere with a time of 72.42 seconds. Lauren Fischer (USA) took fourth and fifth place honors, guiding Tosca de Feugre through the times in 73.74 seconds and stopping the clock in 75.83 seconds riding My Pleasure, both horses under the ownership of Cheryl Fischer. 

"He's back!" Deslauriers smiled after Saturday's win. "He has been on a break since the National Horse Show (in November). Besides yesterday's warm-up class, this is his first real class back this year, so I really could not be happier. He is really happy to be showing, and I am so happy with him."

Deslauriers (17) is a full-time student in New York City and travels to compete in Wellington every weekend. She trains with her father, Olympian Mario Deslauriers, and mother, former international show jumper Lisa Deslauriers. She has been a top junior rider, as well as a winner of many Under 25 and international competitions throughout North America. 

Many of Deslauriers' victories have come aboard Hester, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Wandor van de Mispelaere x Palestro vd Begijnakker) that she has ridden for almost four years. Saturday's course caused problems for many competitors, but Deslauriers and Hester's experience together was a great advantage.

"I thought it was a pretty steep track, especially for the welcome," she noted. "The last few jumps were quite big and the double liverpools definitely caught a few people. Luckily, Hester is quite brave, so I do not really have to worry about that. There was a careful plank, and the short turn to the double in front of the bank caught a bunch of people as well. Throughout the course there were a lot of tough places.

"He really thrives on grass fields," Deslauriers detailed. "He has a huge stride, and he just gets to open up, and really show what he can do. I really just stay out of the way and let him do his thing."

Deslauriers has also been showing some young horses that she is bringing along with her father this winter and hopes to move up to compete with Hester in some FEI classes now that the gelding is back in action. 

The series was expanded to ten events in 2017, offering a total of $245,000 in prize money for the circuit. Developed as a bridge to the international level of grand prix competition, the Series gives athletes, both human and equine, an opportunity to compete under a myriad of conditions, including jumping on grass, under the lights at night, and in team competition; all important elements that competitors will face as their international careers progress. The series concludes with a $50,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix Final, which the top 30 riders in the point standings will be invited to contest on Sunday, April 2.

Final Results: $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic

1CLEARWATER: 2007 Holsteiner gelding by Clearway x Come On
MARILYN LITTLE (USA), Karen O'Connor: 0/0/39.27

2. MYSELF DE BREVE: 2000 Selle Francais mare by Quidam de Revel x Grand Veneur
MARIE HECART (FRA), Marie Hecart: 0/0/41.96

3. CHACCO: 2006 Oldenburg gelding by Chacco-Blue x Achill
MAVIS SPENCER (USA), Neil Jones Equestrian Inc: 0/5/50.95

4. QUICK DU POTTIER: 2004 Selle Francais gelding by Hurlevent De Breka x Cuba
SAMUEL PAROT (CHI), Samuel Parot: 4/81.11

5. CORNETIERO: 2006 Westphalian gelding by Cornet Obolensky x Liberty Life
MAVIS SPENCER (USA), Mike Collins: 4/81.25

6. TEQUILA DE LILE: 2007 Selle Francais mare by Luccianno x Etna Paulelle
MARKUS BEERBAUM (GER), Artemis Equestrian Farm LLC: 4/83.50

7. CAPITO Z: 2008 Zangersheide gelding by Capitos x Burggraaf
PETER LEONE (USA), Lionshare Farm: 4/83.68

8. CIANA: 2007 KWPN mare by Rascin x Chin Chin
ANDREW KOCHER (USA), Eagle Valley Partners LLC: 4/84.32

9. AUDI'S DIMPLE: 2008 KWPN gelding by Wittinger VDL x Ahorn
MOLLY ASHE (USA), Maarten Huygens: 4/87.17

10. QUIDAMS QUIT 2: 2006 Oldenburg gelding by Quidam's Rubin x Carthago
GABRIELA MERSHAD (USA), Mershad Stables LLC: 4/88.00

11. COUSCOUS VAN ORTI: 2002 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Nabab de Reve x Cash
SAMUEL PAROT (CHI), Samuel Parot: 8/78.37

12. ALWAYS ME: 2005 KWPN mare by Larino x Heartbreaker
BENJAMIN MEREDITH (AUS), Carben Farms LLC: 8/83.87

Source: Press release from Jennifer Wood Media Inc / Photo (c) Sportfot

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