Lauren Hough Wins $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup
and First Olympic Selection Trial
WELLINGTON, FL, Feb. 28 -
Lauren Hough took one step closer to her goal of once again representing her country in Olympic competition when she won Thursday night's $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Series Round VI, the first United States Show Jumping Team Selection Trial for the 2008 Olympic Games. The event was held during the CSI3* Zada Enterprises Wellington Masters, presented by PowerIce, during week seven of the CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
Held under lights and on the same footing that will be used at the equestrian portion of the Olympic Games in Hong Kong, the International Arena mimicked the conditions that horses and athletes will face in August. A total of 78 horse-rider combinations attempted the track designed by Christa Heibach of Germany with 13 producing clear rounds.
With several of the clears produced by Olympic selection trial contenders, some opted not to return for the jump-off and instead save their horses for the next round of Selection Trials which will take place on Sunday as part of the $100,000 Zada Enterprises, LLC Masters Cup. By opting not to return, Jeffery Welles and Armani, Laura Kraut and Anthem, Brianne Goutal and Onira, Danielle Torano and Vancouver D'Auvrey, and Charlie Jayne and Thomas Edison tied for equal tenth in the $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Series Round VI. However, those same five horse-rider combinations, joined by Lauren Hough and Casadora, Laura Kraut and Cedric, and Beezie Madden and Judgement, are tied for first place in the Selection Trial standings.
First back for the jump-off was 2000 Sydney Olympian Hough, who guided Casadora to a polished clear round in a time of 46.57 seconds. Todd Minikus followed with Pavarotti, shaving two seconds off the leading time, 44.58 seconds, but incurring four faults in the process. Edward Doyle of Ireland was next into the International Arena, incurring four faults in a time of 47.29 seconds with Sequoyah Farm's Utopia to eventually place fourth.
Ft. Lauderdale's Jimmy Torano posted eight faults with Caldam'Or to finish seventh. Hillary Dobbs, who has been riding a winning streak in Wellington this season, was poised to move into the lead when Corlett stopped at the final obstacle, throwing Dobbs into the fence and eliminating them from the jump-off.
Beezie Madden and the black stallion Judgement were next on course, but again two rails fell, placing the pair fifth. Canada's Mario Deslauriers and Paradigm also had eight faults to finish sixth. Laura Kraut and Cedric were next, and produced a clear round in a time of 48.82 seconds to move into second place. Hillary Dobbs, now mounted on Quincy B, bravely returned to the International Arena, but with eight faults in a time of 50.66 seconds, the pair placed eighth overall in the final standings.
Despite being the first jump-off challenger, the night belonged to Hough who, along with seven other horse-rider combinations, is leading the Selection Trial standings following the opening round of competition.
"It was a nice start, but it is a long road ahead of us," noted Hough who, in January, won the World Cup Qualifier in Jacksonville, Fla., riding Casadora, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare owned by Laura Mateo. "Tonight was a Selection Trial, so the course needed to be 1.60m. It was a nice course, it wasn't overly technical. I thought it was a fair test for the beginning of our process."
Runner-up Kraut was pleased with having both her declared Trial horses, Anthem and Cedric, jump clear. While she opted not to ride Anthem, a 17-year-old gelding owned by the Summit Syndicate, in the jump-off, she did return with Cedric, a 10-year-old grey German-bred gelding owned by Happy Hill Farm.
"When I bungled the last jump in the first round, I said I would come back to give Cedric a forward, confident ride," explained Kraut, who was teammates with Hough at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. "I am quite pleased, Anthem and Cedric are my Trial horses and they pulled through tonight."
The CSI3*-W Zada Enterprises Wellington Masters, presented by Power Ice, concludes with Sunday's $100,000 Zada Enterprises, LLC Masters Cup, which acts as a World Cup Qualifying event for the 2008 World Cup Final in Goteborg, Sweden. It is also the second U.S. Show Jumping Team Selection Trials for the 2008 Olympic Games.
of Class 100 - $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Series Round VI
1. 5012 CASADORA LAUREN HOUGH USA 0.00 81.51 0.00 46.57 LAURA MATEO
2. 2070 CEDRIC LAURA KRAUT USA 0.00 83.94 0.00 48.82 HAPPY HILL FARM
3. 2316 PAVAROTTI TODD MINIKUS USA 0.00 82.85 4.00 44.58 TODD MINIKUS LTD
4. 7594 SEQUOYAH FARM'S UTOPIA EDWARD DOYLE IRL 0.00 83.65 4.00 47.29 SEQUOYAH FARM
5. 2112 JUDGEMENT BEEZIE MADDEN USA 0.00 81.70 8.00 44.92 IRON SPRING FARM
6. 2927 PARADIGM MARIO DESLAURIERS CAN 0.00 79.76 8.00 45.48 MARIO DESLAURIERS
7. 5856 CALDAM'OR JIMMY TORANO USA 0.00 84.99 8.00 50.41 SCNC INVESTMENTS
8. 3047 QUINCY B HILLARY DOBBS USA 0.00 84.06 8.00 50.66 HILLARY DOBBS
9. 3043 CORLETT HILLARY DOBBS USA 0.00 82.53 elim.THE DOBBS GROUP
10. (tie) 515 ARMANI JEFFERY WELLES USA 0.00 79.24 KIMMEL YEAGER EQUINE LLC
10. (tie) 2069 ANTHEM LAURA KRAUT USA 0.00 81.25 SUMMIT SYNDICATE THE
10. (tie) 435 ONIRA BRIANNE GOUTAL USA 0.00 81.61 CLOVERLEAF FARM
10. (tie) 6472 VANCOUVER D'AUVREY DANIELLE TORANO USA 0.00 81.75 SIR RULY
10. (tie) 1799 THOMAS EDISON CHARLIE JAYNE USA 0.00 82.94 IRA SCHULMAN & ALEX JAYNE
15. 7476 HICKSTEAD ERIC LAMAZE CAN 4.00 79.55
ASHLAND STABLES & TORREY PINES
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