Hometown Hero Candice King Reigns in Wellington
WELLINGTON, FL, Jan. 31 -
Wellington's Candice King won the $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Series II held Thursday during the Smart for Life CSI2*, presented by Gold Coast Feed, week three of the CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
Nine combinations from the 70-horse starting field found the key to mastering the first-round technical track set by course designer Luc Musette of Belgium. Eliza Shuford was the first to successfully clear the track riding Plenty, followed by American Olympian Laura Kraut and the nimble chestnut, Olympia 90. Hungary's Henri Kovaks and Sassicaia II were clear, followed by a long wait until Amy Millar and Costa Rica put their names on the leader board. Candice King and Rubert jumped clear before eight-time Olympian Ian Millar made it a family affair by adding his name to the jump-off list. Cara Raether and her 2007 Pan Am mount Ublesco and Michelle Spadone riding Melisimo followed suit before Great Britain's Peter Charles and Murkas Pom D'Ami brought the jump-off total to nine.
Hometown favorite Candice King was the first to post a clear round in the jump-off, shouting encouragement around the course to Rubert, a rambunctious nine-year-old chestnut gelding owned by Skara Glen Stables. The pair stopped the clock in a time of 40.65 seconds. As the last to go, Peter Charles was the only other rider to jump double-clear, but in a slower time of 41.44 seconds to take second.
"I'm quite pleased," said King, unable to recall the last time she had scored a major victory at the Winter Equestrian Festival. "I tried to stick to the plan that I walked in the jump-off, I didn't think about who was coming after me."
Explaining her vocal encouragement, King noted, "It was a big issue last year, his kicking out."
The win came in Rubert's first grand prix appearance. Besides competing with King in the bigger classes, the Belgian-bred also shows in the medium amateur-owner division with Amanda Gumberg.
Charles arrived in south Florida three days ago and said of his jump-off strategy, "I didn't want to go to war. I just tried to keep clear."
He has been riding Murkas Pom D'Ami, a nine-year-old Belgian gelding, for just over a year. Between that horse and another mount called Rubert, the same name as King's winning mount, Charles feels a berth for the 2008 Olympics is a possibility.
"It took me a long time to get here," quipped the Liverpool native, a veteran of both the Irish and British show jumping teams who is making his first visit to Wellington for the Winter Equestrian Festival.. "I have done a lot of tours in the world, and this one is the best by far. I'm using it to get back in the game. I think one of these horses could end up going to the Olympics if the results go the right way."
The Smart for Life CSI2*, presented by Gold Coast Feed, is the third of 12 weeks comprising the CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising and runs through Sunday, February 3, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The 2008 CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising, attracts the best horses and riders from around the world to Wellington, Fla., and offers more than $5 million in prize money.
Results of Class 100 - WEF Challenge Cup Series - Round 2 CSI 2*
1 - 330 RUBERT
CANDICE KING USA 0.00 77.65 0.00 40.65
The 2008 CN Winter Equestrian Festival attracts the best horses and riders from around the world to Wellington and offers more than $5 million in prize money. For more information, visit www.equestriansport.com