Winter Equestrian Festival Week 6 Wrap-Up, March 1-5, 2006,
CN Worldwide Wellington Open, presented by Cosequin, CSI-5*

Norman Dello Joio and Glasgow Capture First Global Champions Tour Event with Win in €150,000 CN Worldwide Florida Open

Riders from around the world assembled for the first event on the all new CN Worldwide Global Champions Tour on Sunday at the Winter Equestrian Festival, but it was a rider from just around the corner from the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club that took home the top prize. Wellington, Florida’s Norman Dello Joio and his long time equine partner Glasgow survived two rounds of show jumping and a timed jump-off to take home the $59,300 (€45,000) top prize in the inaugural event on the new worldwide six nation tour.

Sixty-two starters went to the post for the 3 p.m. lift-off of the €150,000 CN Worldwide Florida Open, presented by Cosequin, CSI-5*. The Internationale Arena Course Designer was Marco Cortinovis of Italy. Today’s class was scored under the FEI Rules Table A. Article 273. 2.1-3.1-4-1, with two different rounds, against the clock for the first round, not against the clock in the second round, with one jump-off against the clock. Under this format, the top eighteen from round one were eligible for the second round. The scores from round one and round two were cumulative and those tied for first place jumped off against the clock.

Norman Dello Joio and Glasgow take
€150,000 CN Worldwide Florida Open.
Photo by Randi Muster

The first round was held over a very demanding and ambitious championship level course of thirteen numbered obstacles, with seventeen jumping efforts, set at 1.60m-1.80m, with a triple combination, a double combination, and a water jump. Only four of the eighteen that survived round one to advance to the much easier second course, carried a clean round with them. Three riders cleared the seventeen hurdles without penalty, but failed to get under the wire within the tight time allowed and advanced to round two with a single time fault. The remaining eleven competitors carried four faults into the second round of action.

The four fault performers from round one returned first in the second round according to their times from the first round, and all but one were clear over the far less challenging second set of fences.

The three duos that returned with only that single time fault blemish on their scorecard all had difficulties in their second effort. Eliza Shuford of the United States and Larentino, owned by the Larentino Group, was the best of the three, coming home with just one time fault to put her at the top of the leaderboard (2 total faults) with the four clean riders from round one yet to come.

Of the four that were clean in round one, three went clean again, to set up the encounter against the clock.

Bulgaria’s Samantha McIntosh returned first with Loxley, owned by Horst Jaeggle and G. Orsche. McIntosh found a fast and furious pace and toured the second round fault-free, setting what appeared to be a tough standard for her two challengers waiting in the wings. She crossed the finish line in 41.51 seconds.

McIntosh was followed immediately by “Stormin” Norman Dello Joio and his long time partner Glasgow, owned by the Glasgow Group. Dello Joio never let off the gas from start to finish, and his dazzling performance put him in the driver’s seat as he topped McIntosh’s time by 5/10ths of a second, flashing across the finish line in 40.94 seconds.

Dello Joio’s win was secured when Kimberly Prince and the Overlook Farm’s Couletto K. James pulled an early rail on her tiebreaking run, then ran into further difficulties and finished with eighteen faults in 56.70 seconds.

“I was very happy today, because I didn’t think my horse was that jumping fit,” admitted Dello Joio following his victory gallop. “I was concerned after the first round. We kind of sneaked through. But, he actually felt better in the second round and even better still in the third round. I thought he gave me everything he had today.”

Jumper Highlights: Wednesday through Saturday

Nineteen nations had representatives in the starting lineup for the opening event of the sixth week of action at the 2006 Winter Equestrian Festival at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington, Florida. This week, the CN Worldwide Wellington Open, presented by Cosequin, CSI 5* also features the debut of the all new Global Champions Tour. The tour links six of the world’s most prestigious outdoor show jumping events and begins officially on Sunday in Wellington. Each GCT Grand Prix will carry a purse of €150,000. A rider’s bonus pool of €600,000 will be split among the top eight finishers in the series.

Wednesday’s opening event, the €20,000 1.45m Welcome Stake, was scored under FEI Art. 238.2.1, Table A, Time First Round. The Internationale Arena Course Designer this week is Italy’s Marco Cortinovis.

An imposing starting field of 107 of the world’s best riders went to the early morning post for Wednesday’s inaugural event. Thirty nine of the starters were fault free, one had a single time fault, and another thirty four competitors rolled a single rail, picking up four faults. Twenty-one had two knockdowns, and eleven had more than eight.

Edgar 12 and Joe Fargis with Wednesday Wellington Win. Photo by Randi Muster

Olympic Gold Medalist Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil, first to go in the all-morning long affair, set the early pace with Cantate Z, cruising home clean in a speedy time of 62.35 seconds. That would hold up for an eventual fourth place finish once the dust had settled.

Pessoa’s stint at the top of the charts lasted until he was overtaken twenty-one horses later by another Olympic Gold Medalist, Joe Fargis of the United States. Riding Mary B. Schwab’s Edgar 12, Fargis sliced 1.51 seconds off of the Brazilian’s leading time, tripping the timers in a remarkable 60.84 seconds.

The eighty plus remaining in the class would chase that time all morning long, with no success. McLain Ward of the United States would come the closest, but as fast as he was, he still fell 1.32 seconds shy of Fargis’ blistering pace. Ward, aboard the Gut Einhaus, LLC entry of Optimum Pozitano, clocked in at 62.16 seconds. Sixteen year-old Addison Phillips of the United States would eventually drop Pessoa to fourth place as she raced home in 62.20 seconds on her mount Flight.

“I wouldn’t have thought my time would have held up through so many,” said a smiling Fargis following his win. “There were so many left after me, the odds were so against me, but it held up, and I’m happy for that. I’m a happy guy.” Fargis went on to say, “I went very early. I didn’t see many of the others go, but I rode it as I walked it, and it worked out nicely.”

On a gorgeous Thursday afternoon at the Winter Equestrian Festival at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington, Florida, the flag from Great Britain was once again hoisted to the top of the center ring flag pole for the victory celebration. It was the second major WEF victory in a row for the Brits. England’s Robert Smith led the round of honor following Sunday’s big win in the Masters Cup, and today it was fellow countryman Nick Skelton galloping home victorious on Russel in the €35,000 WEF Challenge Cup, Round Six.

Eighty-four competitors turned out for Round Six of the WEF Challenge Series, tying the record for the second largest starting field in WEF history. The original starting list was trimmed down from over one hundred entries. Today’s scoring was under FEI Art. 238.2.2. Time First Jump-Off. The Internationale Arena Course Designer this week is Marco Cortinovis of Italy.

Of the eighty-four, only five riders managed to negotiate the intricate and tricky fourteen effort course without penalty. Thursday’s course included an extremely difficult and very tight triple combination, a tough double coming home, the water, and an extremely tight time allowed. Three horse and rider combinations came home without jumping penalties, but couldn’t get under the wire in time, each collecting a single time fault. Seventeen riders accumulated four faults, another twenty-one had two rails down, while six riders lowered the height of three fences. Thirteen duos had more than twelve and a sizable eighteen competitors either withdrew or were eliminated.

Paige Johnson of the United States, who produced the first clear go of the day riding out of the twentieth spot in the order, returned first for the tiebreaker. Johnson was up on the Salamander Farm’s Kadena R. Johnson’s jump-off ride was fast and flawless until the final fence of the speed phase. That jump came down and Johnson finished with four faults in 39.47 seconds, the fastest time of the day.

The second rider back for the timed jump-off was today’s eventual winner, Nick Skelton of Great Britain. Riding Russel, owned by Lisa Hales, Skelton set the standard with a superb speed ride, clocking in at 40.45 seconds without penalty.

Skelton detailed his jump-off ride on Russel. “He’s not the easiest of horses to ride really. I’ve got to sort of take care of him at the fences. He’s very good at the oxers but the verticals are my difficult fences with him, and the tall brown vertical was quite a delicate fence, so I had a take a little bit of time to that one,” he said. “But I was able to let him run to the oxers. He jumped good and I was quite pleased.”

It was an American writer who penned “A Long Day’s Journey into Night,” but it was a Brit that once again authored the final show jumping chapter in Friday night’s drama that played out in the early morning hours at the 2006 Winter Equestrian Festival. Twenty year old Tim Gredley extended Great Britain’s winning streak to three major victories in a row with an amazing second round speed ride to capture the top prize in the €50,000 1.50m Jump For A Just World Classic.

Fifty-five starters went to the post in Friday night’s main event. Because of a heavy daytime schedule and a large Amateur Owner Jumper class just prior, the festivities for tonight’s feature didn’t get underway until 9:30 p.m., and it was well past midnight before the tale was completely told.

Tim Gredley and Omelli win Jump For Just World Classic.
Photo by Randi Muster

Friday night’s €50,000 1.50m Jump for A Just World Classic, presented by Chesapeake Petroleum, was scored under FEI Table A, over two rounds with the second round against the clock. Marco Cortinovis of Italy designed the challenge for tonight’s contest. Seventeen competitors with clean rounds were up to the first round test. Two riders had a single time fault, while nineteen riders had a single knockdown. A number of those riders also exceeded the adjusted, but still snug time allowed. Seven riders had two knockdowns, six had more than eight and four were eliminated or retired.

It was then time for the ride of the evening. Riding Omelli, Tim Gredley of Great Britain produced a jump-off ride that had the crowd gasping for air when he was done. Flying from start to finish, Gredley met every fence in perfect stride and flew through the finish line in an incredible 47.24 seconds, 1.23 seconds faster than the Hoster.

Gredley’s amazing run forced the balance of the class to chase and chase they did, but most at the expense of a rail or other error.

Olympic Gold Medalist Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil galloped to victory once again in Saturday’s main event at the Winter Equestrian Festival. In doing so, he captured his second 1.50m Classic in a row and notched his third win in five weeks of the Saturday specials. Pessoa, the three-time World Cup Champion who has called Wellington home all season, rode Cantate Z to the win for the second straight week.

Cantate Z and Rodrigo Pessoa race to the finish in the $25,000 1.50m Classic at WEF on Saturday.
Photo by Kenneth Kraus

Sixty-four starters took the field for Saturday’s 1 p.m. kick-off. Today’s €25,000 1.50m Classic, CSI-5* is part of CN Worldwide Global Champions Week at the Winter Equestrian Festival. Today’s event was a speed class scored under FEI Art. 238.2.1. Time First Round. Marco Cortinovis of Italy is the Course Designer for week five in the Internationale Arena at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club.

On Saturday, the premium was on clean rounds, as only twelve of the sixty-four came home without penalty. Four riders had clean jumping efforts but failed to get home within the allotted time. Another twelve lowered the height of a single obstacle, eighteen collected two knockdowns, and sixteen had three rails or more.

Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa overpowered the starting field today with the talented mare, Cantate Z, owned by Orlandi. Pessoa raced home in 57.00 seconds flat, which accounted for a margin of victory of 2.41 seconds over second place.

Last week, Pessoa and Cantate Z had to slice and dice their way to victory in the tight confines of the Internationale Ring Annex, but on Saturday, it was a wide open galloping track that proved equally easy for his mare. “It’s a totally different class out there on the big field,” said Pessoa. “Like I said last week, she’s been improving every class. Every time in the ring she’s better and more confident, and she’s starting to be really competitive now. She’s very, very careful, she’s really serious about her business, and she’s improved tremendously throughout the circuit here,” he said.

Hunter Highlights: Thursday through Sunday

In four divisions of professional hunter competition, Scott Stewart of Flemington, NJ, collected three championships and one reserve champion to be the most decorated rider of the day on Thursday.

Music Street and Scott Stewart,
Second Year Green Hunter champions
Photo by Jennifer Wood

Stewart began his streak in the Regular Working Hunter division on his own horse, Beyond. The handsome dark bay gelding was first and third over fences on Wednesday. He returned Thursday for another first and third over fences and the win under saddle. “He felt great in the under saddle,” Stewart recalled. “He was so light and moved wonderfully.” Reserve champion in the division was Wolfgang, ridden by Holly Orlando for Scott Hakim.

Stewart moved on to the Second Year Green division next and rode Alexa and Krista Weisman’s Music Street. The adorable bay gelding scored a fantastic 94 on his way to the win in all three classes on Wednesday. In both of Thursday’s over fences classes, he finished in second place. Reserve champion again went to Holly Orlando, who rode Rio Renoir for owner Brad Wolf.

“Yesterday’s class was one of the best rounds that Music Street has had,” Stewart commented. “Everything came up well and he really pulled it all together.”

In his last division of the day, Stewart made the most of it. He and Molly

Ohrstrom’s Compliment grabbed blue ribbons in five of six classes in the division and gained a second place in the under saddle class. Stewart said, “Compliment is amazing every week. He’s a phenomenal jumper, a beautiful mover, and has great conformation. He really is the perfect package for a hunter.” Reserve champions in the division were Ashton and Stewart, who rode for Karen Long Dwight.

The Regular Conformation Hunters saw a very familiar face in the winner’s circle once again this week. Elizabeth Spencer’s Popeye K and Tommy Serio picked up yet another championship, while Moonshine, ridden by David Boley and owned by Cara Walinsky, was reserve champion.

The hunters saw championships awarded to the First Year Green Working Hunters on Friday afternoon.

Morocco and Addison Phillips, Section A champions
in First Year Green Hunters

Photo by Jennifer Wood

In the A Section, the tricolor went to Morocco and owner/rider Addison Phillips of New York, NY. Phillips piloted the fantastic jumper to two firsts and two thirds over fences. Few 16 year olds would be able to hold their own against the best hunter professionals in the country, but Phillips had no trouble in the division. Reserve champion in the division was Heartfelt, ridden by Scott Stewart and owned by Molly Ohrstrom.

The championship in Section B went to Banner, ridden and owned by Scott Stewart. Stewart bought the cute seven year old bay gelding before WEF began. Banner had just been brought over from Europe from Geoff Teall. “He wasn’t quite ready to show right away,” Stewart said. “So I waited until the second week. He’s a great jumper, and he’s really easy.” Banner won both over fences classes on Thursday and returned on Friday for another blue ribbon. Stewart picked up the reserve championship on another of his horses, Federal Hill.

“Banner has been in the ribbons the last few weeks, but this is his first championship,” he went on to say. “I did him in the Pre-Green 3’3” division first, and he was just so brave and easy that I moved up. I think he’s a good one!”

In the Adult Amateur 51 & Over division, Carol Cone was victorious for another week. She won the championship in both sections with Harmony Bay and Glory Road. Reserve champion in Section A was Solitaire, ridden and owned by Stephen Martines. In Section B, the reserve championship went to Regall and Bruce Duchossois.

Pavarotti and Teri Kessler,
Amateur-Owner 36 & Over Hunter champions
Photo by Randi Muster

The Amateur-Owner 36 & Over division features experienced riders on magnificent horses. One such rider is Teri Kessler of Bedford Corners, NY. Kessler and her two fantastic mounts, Pavarotti and Trout Line, finished as champion and reserve champion in the division.

Pavarotti jumped to first and fourth places on Friday, while Trout Line was first and second over fences. Pavarotti, whom she has competed on for years, came back on Saturday and was first and second over fences. On her newer mount, Trout Line, Kessler was fifth over fences on Saturday.

In the Small Junior 16-17 division, the champion by a half point was Wunderlight and owner/rider Jack Hardin Towell Jr. Wunderlight finished with fourth and fifth place ribbons over fences on Friday. He and Towell returned on Saturday for a first over fences and third in the under saddle.

Close on his heels was the reserve champion, Cool Blue, ridden and owned by Alexandra Stathis. Cool Blue received a blue ribbon on Friday and was second over fences and sixth under saddle on Saturday.

In the Small Junior 15 & Under Hunters, last year’s most successful pony rider is really making her mark. Jennifer Waxman only got the ride on Christy Russo’s High Cotton last week, but they have already garnered two championship ribbons together. Waxman rides her own horse, The Frog Prince, in the same division. “My horse is a really good first junior hunter. He’s so sweet,” she said. Reserve champion in the division was Sublime, ridden by Jessica Springsteen and owned by Stone Hill Farm.

Saloon and Jennifer Waxman, Large Junior 15 & Under Hunter champions
Photo by Randi Muster

The Frog Prince gave Waxman confidence in the junior hunter classes, which has helped her on new horses, such as High Cotton. “I really like High Cotton, and I feel like I get along with him really well. The first time I rode him, it took a little to get used to him. Once you get used to it though, it’s so much fun,” she explained. “He jumps so well, no matter what. He’s also smooth, so he doesn’t pop me out of the saddle.” Although Waxman and the fancy chestnut gelding won both over fences classes yesterday, the young rider knew she had to concentrate on her last classes. “I was just trying to be consistent today,” she commented. Their consistency led to second and sixth place ribbons over fences and a fifth under saddle today. “I hope that I’ll show him next week,” she concluded.

Waxman also piloted Saloon to the championship in the Large Junior 15 & Under Hunters. Owned by Whitney Roper, the veteran bay gelding was first and eighth over fences on Saturday and first and second today. A third place in the under saddle sealed the tricolor. Reserve champion in the division was Westcliffe, ridden and owned by Christy Russo. Russo rode Westcliffe to first and second place ribbons on Saturday, was fifth in the under saddle, and returned today over fences to pick up second and sixth place ribbons.

The Pony Hunters are a very popular division and highlight some of the best young riders in the country. In the Large Pony Hunter division, which is based on the height of the pony, the championship was awarded to Orlando and Reed Kessler. Kessler is leasing the handsome bay gelding from Maggie McAlary and Beaver Brook Ponies. Reserve champions in the Large Pony Hunters were When In Rome and Alise V. Oken.

In the B Section of the Medium Ponies, First Hand and Schaefer Raposa, who rode for Ashley Toffolon, had a fantastic day to snag the championship ribbon. They were third over fences on Saturday, but returned Sunday for the win in both over fences classes. Reserve champion was Tuscany, ridden and owned by Ande Farish.

The final week of WEF in Wellington begins on March 8 and runs until March 12 for the CN Wellington Finale, CSIO-4*. WEF then moves to Tampa, FL, at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center from March 22-April 1, 2006.

 

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