Canada’s Mac Cone on the Attack in Wellington
WELLINGTON, FL, Feb. 17 -
A veteran rider and his rookie horse teamed up to score victory in the $60,000 Kilkenny International Cup Grand Prix CSI3* on Sunday at the CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
Mac Cone of King City, Ont., the only rider to have competed for both the U.S. and Canadian Equestrian Teams, led the victory gallop aboard Ole, competing in his first 1.60m Grand Prix, at the conclusion of Sunday’s Grand Prix. Cone produced the only double clear round of the day over the track set by course designer Olaf Petersen of Germany. Canadian teammate Karen Cudmore also jumped clear in the jump-off riding Southern Pride but failed to cross the timers after clearing the final fence, resulting in a four-fault penalty and eventually placing her seventh.
The first round course saw 56 horse-rider combinations attempting to pass the test, but only eight succeeded to advance to the jump-off. Charlie Jayne and Urbanus were first to go, incurring four faults in a time of 50.77 seconds to place sixth. Wellington’s Norman Dello Joio was on the pace with a time of 45.23, but took down two rails riding Malcolm to place eighth.
Karen Cudmore was next to jump and looked poised to take the lead until the timer mishap ended her chances of victory. Jeffrey Welles was fast, 43.79 seconds, with the classy Armani, but again a rail fell, putting the pair in third overall. Cone then gave the appreciative crowd its first double clear of the day, but there were still three more riders to follow.
Danielle Torano of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., incurred four faults with her stallion, Vancouver D’Auvrey, to place fourth. Beezie Madden, in her first week of showing Authentic, her Olympic Gold Medal and World Championship Silver Medal horse, at the Winter Equestrian Festival was lightning fast, turning in a stunning time of 40.73 seconds, but yet again a rail fell, placing the pair second. Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam was the final challenger, but a four-fault effort with Little Emir placed the pair fifth.
With the only clear round in the jump-off, Cone and Ole edged the best in the world, Beezie Madden and Authentic, for the victory and $18,000 in prize money.
“I told Beezie that I wasn’t going to beat her unless she knocked something down because I was not going to outrun her. To beat the best horse and the best rider, you need luck and a prayer,” laughed Cone, 55, who recently became a grandfather.
Cone was pleasantly surprised to win as it was the first time Ole had jumped a grand prix featuring jumps set at 1.60m in height.
“The original plan was to get him comfortable at the height of the WEF class, and this week he jumped double clean. I stewed over it and said “the footing is perfect, the weather is going to be perfect, let’s give it a go!”" said Cone of his decision to enter Ole, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Sara Houstoun and Larry Evoy, in the $60,000 Kilkenny International Cup Grand Prix. “This was his first time jumping at this height as opposed to Beezie’s horse, which has done it countless times.”
It was announced earlier in the week that Madden would be given a bye from competing in the United States Equestrian Team Show Jumping Selection Trials with Authentic, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Abigail Wexner. As for her jump-off round which produced four faults, Madden said, “I maybe pushed him a bit too hard, but I wouldn’t have done much differently. I showed him on Thursday and Friday, and then today. He was still fresh and aggressive, so it maybe wasn’t my smoothest round.”
The $60,000 Kilkenny International Cup Grand Prix CSI3* concluded week five of the 12-week CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising.
Week Six opens on Wednesday, February 20, with the CSI3* Equestrian Sport Productions LLC “AA” WCHR Spectacular, presented by the Palm Beach Post. While the focus will be on hunter competition, including Saturday night’s AHJF/WCHR Hunter Classic, Thursday will feature the $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round V while Sunday brings the $60,000 Spy Coast Grand Prix.
Results of Class 101 - $60,000 Kilkenny Internationale Grand Prix CSI3*
1 - 2622 OLE
MAC CONE CAN 0.00 79.81 0.00 47.50 HOUSTON & EVOY
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