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Twinning for time: Abigail McArdle and Amanda Derbyshire tie for first in Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup

Saturday, 20 January 2024
CSI3* Winter Equestrian Festival 2024 (W2)

Photo © Sportfot. Abigail McArdle & Olympia Van Het EikenHof, winners of the $32,000 Adequan® CSI3* WEF Challenge Cup Round 2. Photo © Sportfot.


Press release from Wellington International



Jumper action continued at the Equestrian Village Derby Field on Friday with the $32,000 Adequan® CSI3* WEF Challenge Cup Round 2. A competitive field of sixty-two riders took to the course designed by Germany’s Olaf Petersen Jr, with fifteen pairs returning for the jump-off. 

Of those fifteen returning combinations, two riders laid down an identical track to take a rare tied win. Abigail McArdle (USA) and her own Olympia Van Het EikenHof (Elvis Ter Putte x Toulon), set a fast pace on the short course in a swift 39.85 seconds, taking her to the top of the leaderboard early on in the order. 

Great Britain’s Amanda Derbyshire and her own Otto BH were twelfth to go in the jump-off with the goal of defeating McArdle’s time. Derbyshire rode a fast track, galloped across the finish line, and stopped the clock at a familiar 39.85 seconds, joining McArdle on the winning podium.

“When I first finished my course I actually had no idea we had tied,” said Derbyshire. “When I finished on the lower end of 39 seconds I just figured that Abigail [McArdle] was faster; she had held the lead since the beginning.

Photo © Sportfot. Amanda Derbyshire & Otto BH, winners of the $32,000 Adequan® CSI3* WEF Challenge Cup Round 2. Photo © Sportfot.

“I knew I could count on Otto for this class.” said Derbyshire about the twelve-year-old stallion by Norton D’Eole with the same dam’s sire as his winning opponent, Toulon. “This class is actually his first start of the season. He’s had the last few months off from competition focusing on getting fit at home, but we jumped him on the field at Spruce [Meadows] last summer, so I knew he wouldn’t be phased by starting out on the grass.”

Of Otto’s talents, Derbyshire said, “He’s an extremely careful horse, it can be a bit of a pro and con. I know he will do everything in his power to keep the jumps up, but he is quite powerful, so it’s up to me to control that and put him in the right spot.”

As far as the rest of Derbyshire’s season goes, she will let Otto BH’s talent on the field continue to shine while also bringing out her other mount, Cornwall BH, to the field for Sunday’s $140,000 KeyFlow Feeds USA CSI3* Grand Prix. 

The initial leader of the class, McArdle will return to the field for Sunday’s Grand Prix as well, atop Friday’s winning mount, Olympia Van Het EikenHof. 

“I never thought I would have a horse like this again,” said McArdle of the ten-year-old mare. “The last horse I had at this level was a stallion named Victorio. He won a few of these classes and I never thought I would have another one like him, so to have Olympia at this level is a blessing.

“We got her as an amateur horse after my dear friend Taylor Land mentioned her to me and we saw a lot of potential,” continued McArdle. “She’s the easiest horse I’ve ever ridden in my life. She wants to be good everyday and always wants to learn.” 

Following the leading ladies in third was Ireland’s Cian O’Connor and Maurice (Thunder VD Zuuthoeve x Eros Platiere), owned by Pat Crean. O’Connor and the twelve-year-old gelding closed out the podium with a clear 40.08 seconds. 

Riders who qualified during Friday’s WEF Challenge Cup will be seen in Sunday’s $140,000 KeyFlow Feeds USA CSI3* Grand Prix on the field at Equestrian Village.


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