Will Simpson Wins Again,
WELLINGTON, FL, March 5 -
Will Simpson won the third United States Show Jumping Team Selection Trial for the 2008 Olympic Games while Laura Kraut moved into top spot in the standings. The third of five selection trials, the $20,000 USEF Selection Trial #3, presented by Equine Motorcoach and Hong Kong Tourism Board, was held Wednesday night during the CSIO5* CN Wellington Open, week eight of the CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
Simpson, 48, has traveled across the country from his base in Thousand Oaks, Calif., to contest the Selection Trials. The trip has proven worthwhile as Simpson has now won the second and third Selection Trials, moving him into sixth place overall in the standings.
The third selection trial, which was one-round speed class open to Trial candidates only, saw 30 horse-rider combinations contest the track set by course designer Jose Gamarra of Bolivia. Nine clear rounds were produced, but Simpson's was by far the fastest.
"I was so proud of him, he came in and did everything step by step, exactly as I wanted him to, under the lights," noted Will Simpson of the 12-year-old horse sired by Cassini I and owned by El Campeon Farms. "It's a lifetime worth of work that comes down to two weeks. It's exciting that he is jumping so well, he's come across the country, and he's peaking at the right time. He's a real special horse."
Riding Carlsson vom Dach, Simpson stopped the clock at 84.86 seconds, over four seconds faster than second-place finisher Nicole Simpson of Wellington, Fla., who clocked in at 89.15 seconds with SRF Dragonfly. Nicole Simpson and her other Trial candidate, Jane Clark's Vicomte D, unfortunately parted ways at fence number six, dropping them from fifth to 28th place in the Selection Trial standings.
However, Nicole Simpson's fault-free performance with SRF Dragonfly, owned by Silver Raven Farms, catapulted her from seventh to second place overall in the standings behind Laura Kraut and Cedric, who are now in top spot on the leader board with a total score of two faults.
"He's an unbelievable horse. He understands this sport, he knows he is not supposed to knock the rails down," said Kraut, 42, of Wellington, Fla., about the 10-year-old grey German-bred gelding owned by Happy Hill Farm. "I am thrilled and so proud of him. He's gotten so mature tonight."
Of her hopes of once again representing the United States in Hong Kong, 2000 Sydney Olympian Kraut noted, "That's everybody's dream and I've been lucky enough to do it. I would be very thrilled. I've done so many of these Selection Trials now, since 1992, and you always expect the unexpected. You need the stars and the moon to line up."
The fourth Selection Trial is Thursday's night's $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round VII while the fifth and final Selection Trial will be Sunday's $150,000 CN US Open Jumping Championship, presented by Cosequin. At the conclusion, a total of 10 horse-rider combinations will be named to a pre-Olympic European tour. Beezie Madden's Authentic and McLain Ward's Sapphire were given byes before the Selection Trials began while Jeffery Welles and Armani, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Guidam, were given a bye following the second Selection Trial.
Results of USEF Selection Trial #3
1 - 2616 CARLSSON
VOM DACH WILLIAM SIMPSON 0.00 84.86 EL CAMPEON FARMS
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