Beezie Madden and Authentic Win $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup
WELLINGTON, FL, March 13 -
Beezie Madden of Cazenovia, N.Y., proved why she is one of the best riders in the world by winning the $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round VIII held Thursday, March 13, during week nine, the CSI4*-W CN WorldWide, of the CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
Of the 70 horses that lined up for Thursday’s featured event, nine left all the rails in place to advance to the jump-off over the track set by Olympic course designer Leopoldo Palacios. Marie Hecart of France also jumped clear riding Why Not for owner Don Eddy Farms, but incurred one time fault for exceeding the 84-second time allowed. A truly international jump-off field was set with riders representing Brazil, Canada, France, Great Britain, Ireland and the United States.
Great Britain’s Ben Maher was the first rider to challenge the jump-off track, but the final fence on course, the JustWorld International vertical, came down. Katie Prudent, riding under the French flag, also had a rail with Sassicaia II while Kent Farrington of Chicago, Ill., had two rails down with Up Chiqui before eight-time Canadian Olympian Ian Millar entered the International Arena. Riding the 10-year-old grey Dutch Warmblood gelding, Redefin, for owner Susan Grange, Millar left all the rails in place, much to the crowd’s delight, and stopped the clock at 42.03 seconds to move into the lead.
Ireland’s Edward Doyle and Sequoyah Farm’s Utopia were clear, but their time of 46.68 seconds would eventually leave them in fourth place. The Olympic Gold Medal partnership of Beezie Madden and Authentic, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Abigail Wexner, were next on course. Performing like the world-class athletes they are, Madden and Authentic left all the rails in place and stopped the clock at 39.48 seconds to move to the top of the leader board.
Canada’s Mac Cone, who had bested Madden and Authentic three weeks earlier to win the $60,000 Kilkenny International Cup Grand Prix CSI3*, was next on course riding Ole, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Sara Houstoun and Larry Evoy. Although all the rails stayed up, Cone’s time of 41.99 seconds was not fast enough, instead moving him into second position.
Current Olympic Champion Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil was well within striking distance, but when Pessoa tried an incredibly tight turn to the second-last fence, his Pan Am Team Gold and Individual Silver Medal mount, Rufus, owned by Double H Farm, had no chance to clear the fence.
Conor Swail and Gold Digger, who had won Wednesday’s $8,000 1.45m competition, were the final challengers. The Irish combination had an early rail, ending their chances for victory.
“When I walked it, I thought it was a good course but, typical Leopoldo, it proved to be tricky,” noted Madden who collected $9,000 in prize money for the win. “I liked my jump-off ride. It was fast, but not crazy. This was not an Olympic course, but it was tough enough.”
Madden will now aim Authentic at Sunday’s $200,000 CN WorldWide Grand Prix which also acts as a World Cup Qualifying event, as will runner-up Cone with Ole.
“It is hard to pull the trigger twice in one week, so my plan wasn’t to go too fast and instead save something for Sunday,” explained Cone of King City, Ontario, Canada, and the only rider to have represented both the U.S. and Canadian Equestrian Teams.
Cone, 55, only began jumping Ole in the 1.60m classes during the CN Winter Equestrian Festival but has been enjoying impressive results, including winning the $60,000 Kilkenny International Cup Grand Prix CSI3* and being members of Canada’s second-place team in the $75,000 FEI Nations’ Cup on March 7. When asked if he was surprised by the horse’s strong performances at the grand prix level, Cone said, “If I said ‘no’ I would be lying. I always thought he was a good horse, but now the power is staying and the consistency is staying. He’s always been brave. I am thrilled. It is a dream come true.”
The CSI4*-W CN WorldWide runs from March 12 to 16. Featured events include Saturday evening’s $50,000 ‘U.S.A. against The World’ Showdown and Sunday’s $200,000 CN WorldWide Grand Prix which also acts as a World Cup Qualifying event.
CN Worldwide CSI 4* - Results of $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round VIII
1 - 2100 AUTHENTIC
BEEZIE MADDEN USA 0.00 81.16 0.00 39.48 ABIGAIL WEXNER
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