Hillary Dobbs Wins First Wellington Grand Prix
WELLINGTON, FL, Feb. 14 -
Hillary Dobbs claimed her first grand prix victory of the CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising, by winning Thursday’s $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Series Round IV during the 12-week international competition at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
The 19-year-old Harvard student was one of 14 competitors from the starting field of 59 to advance to the jump-off over the track set by two-time Olympic course designer Olaf Petersen of Germany. Canada’s Eric Lamaze also jumped clear with Sadin but failed to advance to the jump-off when his time of 77.01 seconds just exceeded the 77-second time allowed.
Three riders opted not to return for the jump-off - Ireland’s Darragh Kerins with the stallion Orlando, Jeffery Welles with Armani and Olympic Gold Medalist Chris Kappler with VDL Oranta.
Of the 11 that did return, Dobbs was fifth in the order and jumped clear in a time of 42.18 seconds to move into the lead. Canada’s Amy Millar, who was celebrating her 31st birthday, made a valiant effort with Costa Rica Z, but her time of 42.86 seconds would eventually place her third overall. Peter Charles proved to be the strongest competition, stopping the clock at 42.36 seconds to become the runner-up riding Murkas Pom D’Ami, a nine-year-old Belgian-bred gelding by Bon Ami.
The victory was the second one for Dobbs in under a week. On Saturday, February 9, she won the $20,000 1.50m Classic riding Marengo. She also rode Marengo in the $30,000 WEF Challenge Series Round IV, but an unscheduled dismount resulted in elimination.
“It is surreal. I was thrilled to win the 1.50m Classic, and this is my first grand prix win in Florida. It hasn’t hit me yet,” said Dobbs.
Of her 11-year-old German-bred mare, Dobbs commented, “She’s a quick horse across the ground and she tries her heart out. She gives me everything she has.”
Charles, who is hoping to be selected to this year’s British Olympic Team with either Markus Pom D’Ami or his other mount, Rubert, was content to finish second to Dobbs, commenting, “She effective and very competitive. I knew I wasn’t going to catch Hillary; she goes like the bloody clappers. I can’t catch her on the flat, our pace across the floor isn’t as fast, but it will get better with time. I’m not going to grumble about where I finished today.”
1992 Olympic Bronze Medalist Norman Dello Joio of Wellington, FL, was double clear to take fourth place riding Malcolm while 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist Peter Wylde, who is currently based in Holland, rounded out the top five riding Esplanade 7.
The CSI3* Kilkenny Insurance, week five of the international show jumping competition, features Sunday’s $60,000 CSI3* Grand Prix. The 2008 CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising, attracts the best horses and riders from around the world to Wellington, FL, and offers more than $5 million in prize money.
Results of Class 100 - $30,000 Kilkenny WEF Challenge Cup - Round 4 CSI 3*
1 - 3043 CORLETT
HILLARY DOBBS USA 0.00 73.75 0.00 42.18 THE DOBBS GROUP
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