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Philip McGuane and Orphea HQ rise to the challenge

Saturday, 17 February 2024
CSI3* Winter Equestrian Festival 2024 (W6)

Photo © Sportfot. Philip McGuane & Orphea HQ, winners of the $62,500 Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup Round 6. Photo © Sportfot.


Press release from Wellington International



Ireland's Philip McGuane piloted the Evergate Stables-owned Orphea HQ to a career-best victory for the mare in Friday’s $62,500 Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup Round 6. The qualifying event for Saturday's $140,000 KASK CSI3* Grand Prix took place on the grass derby field at Equestrian Village during Week 6 of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).

The field was made up of 67 horse jumping courses designed by Anna Catalina “Catsy” Cruz of Mexico. McGuane claimed the win in a nine-horse jump-off by just under one second over Canada’s Susan Horn riding Kirlo Van Den Bosrand. Horn’s time of 39.27 over the short track was just off the pace from McGuane in 38.62 second, and she took second for owner Kingsfield Farm. Alexandra Worthington (USA) rounded out the podium on De l’Oiseliere, owned by Turn a Blind Eye LLC, in a time of 39.51 seconds.

Photo © Sportfot. Susan Horn & Kirlo Van Den Bosrand finished second. Photo © Sportfot.

The win was a career-best for Orphea HQ, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Emerald x Epleaser van't Heike). After starting the season with a top-five finish in the WEF 1 three-star grand prix, Orphea has been knocking on the door of a blue ribbon.

“Phillip has developed a really strong partnership with her. It's been really cool to see him really come into his element, get more competitive, and dig in for these kinds of classes because we always knew he was capable of it,” said owner Nayel Nassar of Evergate Stables about McGuane’s partnership with the mare that has been part of the Evergate string since her seven-year-old year. “The way she warmed up today, I knew that this was very winnable for her. She's continued to impress us and keeps improving. It's a very proud moment for team Evergate and we're proud of Phillip too.”

Photo © Sportfot. Alexandra Worthington & De l’Oiseliere placed third. Photo © Sportfot.

McGuane joined the Evergate Stables team to develop their younger stock after riding for Switzerland’s Beat Mändli and U.S. rider Katie Dinan. During that time he has developed an undeniable connection with Orphea HQ.

“She’s not very big herself, but she has a big heart,” said McGuane of the mare that bears a striking resemblance to her sire, Emerald. “She knows where the jumps are, and as long as I don't make a mistake she's always there. I just need to get her anywhere near the jumps to be honest.”

McGuane first came to Wellington in 2019 and now calls it home. “I'm super happy and very lucky,” he concluded. 

After Friday's win, McGuane and Orphea HQ secured the last-to-go spot in Saturday afternoon’s $140,000 KASK CSI3* Grand Prix on the derby field. 






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