Wellington, Fla. – Mar. 1, 2018 – The Week 8 $35,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) saw a change in its usual format, instead debuting a speed round format that challenged the 67 starters to put their fastest time in during the first and only round of the competition. Despite fast rides from seasoned athletes such as McLain Ward (USA), Darragh Kenny (IRL), and Daniel Bluman (ISR), it was Alex Granato of the United States who came out on top aboard Page Tredennick’s Carlchen W.
Granato and the 9-year-old Mecklenburg gelding have had a steady partnership of over four years together and have taken their time training and developing, having entered in their first FEI class just last season during WEF. Granato is excited to start pushing their partnership past the 3* level. Their impressive and fast round during Thursday’s WEF Challenge Cup demonstrated their training has paid off.
Ken Krome’s (USA) course design featured a time allowed of 75 seconds, with each athlete throughout the day pushing the limits with speedy times. Beezie Madden (USA) and Con Taggio, an 8-year-old Oldenburg gelding, held the lead for the majority of the class with a time of 68.51 seconds until the end of the class neared and Granato took the lead with a ride that was less than one second faster. Madden and Con Taggio, owned by Abigail S. Wexner, recently finished second in the $205,000 NetJets Grand Prix 4*, a win she claims was Con Taggio’s biggest success to date due to his young age.
It was Richie Maloney (IRL) who took third place with Ypaja Yando, an 8-year-old Finnish Warmblood stallion who is owned by Equinimity LLC. Their quick time of 65.93 seconds edged out seasoned WEF Challenge Cup winner McLain Ward and HH Callas by one tenth of a second.
Competition will resume in the International Arena at 8 a.m. with the Sleepy P Ranch High Junior Jumper. WEF Week 8 will highlight the $150,000 FEI Nations Cup™ CSIO4* as the Saturday Night Lights feature event on Mar. 3 at 7 p.m. and the $205,000 Grand Prix CSIO4* will take place at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Mar. 4.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Alex Granato – $35,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 8 winner
On Carlchen W:
“I’ve actually had him for quite awhile. The owner, Page Tredennick, bought him as a 5-year-old, so we’ve together for four and a half years. They’ve been great owners with me; they’ve really let me take my time developing him. Last season here at WEF was the first time we even put him in an FEI as a 9-year-old, he did his first 2* then. Then he had a really good season last year. We backed off a bit through the fall with him. We gave him some down time, so we really focused on building up a lot stronger this year and pushing past the 3*’s. I’ve been really happy with him. We did Deeridge a few weeks ago, he did his first World Cup Qualifier and he really exceeded expectations; he was super. Our next main focus after that was this week and so far it’s off to a great start.”
On the speed round format:
“[The speed round format] definitely did suit this horse for this class. He is very naturally fast so it’s nice to get in there and just pick up a rhythm and stick with it. I’ll re-focus for the rest of the week. It’s nice this week how we have two days off until the grand prix on Sunday. I’ll definitely use those two days to my full advantage on relaxing him back down and regaining his focus. I do think that this was a nice class for him to start with.”
On his round:
“I got to see Beezie [Madden] go early on and she is so deceivingly fast, so she is amazing to watch. She is just so smooth and tight with her track. Then with going so late in the class I had the benefit of watching some others go. McLain [Ward] came out and said to me that he should have done the six to the last line off of the double to the last jump. So, I went in with the mindset of stick to planning on the seven strides and see how the course was riding. My horse was really jumping super; he was very smooth and rideable today, so jumping through the last combination I put my eye on the track for the six and got right on it and I think that that’s probably the best place where I got the time. This is our first week doing the 4* and with it being Nations Cup week it means a lot to go in and have them play the national anthem for your country on home soil because of you, so that was really special.”
$35,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 8
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Faults | Time
1. Carlchen W / Alex Granato / USA / 0 | 65.03
2. Con Taggio / Beezie Madden / USA / 0 | 65.81
3. Ypaja Yando / Richie Moloney / IRL / 0 | 65.93
4. HH Callas / McLain Ward / USA / 0 | 66.05
5. Team De Coquerie / Darragh Kenny / IRL / 0 | 66.23
6. Entano / Daniel Bluman / ISR / 0 | 66.59
7. Dicas / Margie Engle / USA / 0 | 66.94
8. Chaganus / Rodrigo Pessoa / BRA / 0 | 67.06
9. Don’t Touch Du Bois / Shane Sweetnam / IRL / 0 | 68.06
10. RMF Echo / Denis Lynch / IRL / 0 | 68.27
11. H&M Ikker / Olivier Philippaerts / BEL / 0 | 68.54
12. Agatha D Ecuassinnes / Lauren Hough / USA / 0 | 69.64
For full results, click here.