Wellington, Fla. – Jan. 14, 2018 – Capping off a successful first week of equestrian competition at the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival, Great Britain’s Emily Moffitt and Tipsy Du Terral clinched the top spot in the $75,000 Rosenbaum PLLC Grand Prix, the first grand prix of the season, held Sunday afternoon at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. With more than $9 million in prize money available over the course of the 12-week circuit, 19-year-old Moffitt and Tipsy Du Terral, owned by Poden Farms, easily snagged the lion’s share of the largest purse of the week with their quick jump-off to edge out their fellow contenders, nearly two seconds ahead of the reserve champions.
Hoping to end Week 1 with a promising start to the series, 44 horse-and-rider pairs took a trip over course designer Eric Hasbrouck’s 16-fence track in the International Ring for the first phase of competition. Hayley Barnhill and Barnhill LLC’s Zephire set the tone for the afternoon as the first clear pair of the class, followed by a steady stream of faultless rides by their counterparts. Hasbrouck’s friendly track lended itself well to riders, with no specific fence posing a major obstacle for the competing pairs. By the mid-way drag break, eight duos had added their names to the jump-off list, with seven more pairs leaving all the rails in their cups to join them in the second round.
Whittled down to 15 remaining, Barnhill and Zephire commenced the final phase of the $75,000 Rosenbaum PLLC Grand Prix with another clear ride in 40.082 seconds as the first to ride over Hasbrouck’s abridged track, but the early leaders were quickly surpassed by Ward and HH Gigi’s Girl’s quick time of 37.713 seconds. The statistics were in McLain Ward’s favor as the only rider with two horses qualified for the jump-off, but unfortunately his time would not retain the spot atop the leaderboard. Just two pairs later, Moffitt and Tipsy Du Terral subsequently broke the beam in a fiery 35.508 seconds to take an impressive lead, and though ten combinations attempted to chase them down, none would prove victorious, leaving the young Moffitt at the head of the ranks.
Six pairs ultimately concluded the afternoon double clear, with 23-year-old Mattias Tromp and Chicago Hof Eversem Z, owned by Swede Ventures LLC, coming the closest to overtaking Moffitt and Tipsy Du Terral with their jump-off time of 37.323 seconds. Ward and HH Gigi’s Girl’s claimed the third position to round out the top finishing competitors. Coincidentally, Ward was the one who found Tromp’s mount for him. Though Ward is no stranger to the winner’s circle, Sunday’s results proved especially heartfelt, with his ride, HH Gigi’s Girl, named by the late Hunter Harrison after his wife. The grey mare was the last horse that Harrison purchased for Ward before his passing in December 2017.
The 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival will continue to feature hunter, jumper, and equitation competition at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Fla. through Apr. 1, 2018. Though Sunday’s results marked the conclusion of the first week of competition, WEF Week 2 will return Wednesday Jan. 17, 2018 with more action.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Emily Moffitt – $75,000 Rosenbaum PLLC Grand Prix champion
On her reaction to winning:
“It is awesome. Last year was a rough year for me, so I’m happy to come here and immediately start off on the right foot. I had an accident with my horse in Ocala last year and she had to be put down. I wasn’t hating the sport after that, but I wasn’t as in love with it as I had been. To come here and automatically do a good job, it is a nice feeling to be back.”
On her horse, Tipsy Du Terral:
“We got Tipsy earlier last summer. I tried her and loved her, but I haven’t really ridden her since August. I had a seven-week break, and then came straight here and we entered the grand prix and it obviously went pretty well, so maybe I should take vacations more often!”
On her plan for the jump-off:
“I figured I would go as fast as I could. Tipsy is a fast horse, but she is also a really big horse. Going into the double I saw a stride that wasn’t super close to the jump, but I figured ‘why not, it’s going to save some time’ and it ended up working in my favor. I’m happy she is as careful as she is. I hadn’t jumped her in a big class before this and even though I had a little miss she helped me out.”
On her plans for the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival:
“I have about 15 horses here, so I’m pretty busy. Tipsy was originally supposed to jump next week, but since she did so well I think I may let her have a vacation. I have a few new horses, so I think I’m just going to focus on getting to know them and hopefully by the end of WEF I will be able to be at the top level with them all and ready for the summer. When you have so many horses, I can’t always have time for them all. On the Global Champions tour, I can only take two or three horses. When I have 20 horses at home, some of them get left behind for weeks and it is hard to get them caught up to the others that have been competing regularly. That definitely doesn’t happen here though. I had almost every single horse out this week because you can compete multiple horses in multiple rings.”
Mattias Tromp – $75,000 Rosenbaum PLLC Grand Prix reserve champion
On his horse, Chicago Hof Eversem Z:
“Chicago is a new horse for me. I started competing him last week. It is a horse that McLain [Ward] found for me in Belgium. I think the horse has all of the things that he needs. He is big-strided, careful and scopey.”
On his plan for the jump-off:
“I know that I have a very big-strided horse, so I did six strides from one to two and maybe lost my balance a little on the backside of that. I tried to be as direct and big-strided as I could be everywhere”
McLain Ward – $75,000 Rosenbaum PLLC Grand Prix third place
On his horse, HH Gigi’s Girl:
“Gigi is a horse we purchased last summer. It was actually the last horse that Hunter [Harrison] bought for me. He named it after his wife’s nickname. Jeannie was here today so it was nice that the mare went so well in the first grand prix after his passing. It’s a very talented horse. She doesn’t have a wealth of experience, but she is off to a very good start this week and jumped well both in the WEF Challenge and today. We have high hopes for her, and luckily she has the support from the other horses in the stable to do that.”
On the courses:
“I think Eric Hasbrouck did a beautiful job with the courses this week. A lot of these horses and riders are coming off of a short winter break and it is a long season here. We are trying to start up some new horses, new relationships, greener horses and so you want to make it challenging, but on the friendlier side to let the horses get going. I thought it was a great course. There were places to have fences down, but if the horses were performing relatively well they had a chance to succeed. There is still plenty of time for it to get more difficult.”
$75,000 Rosenbaum PLLC Grand Prix
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Owner / R1 Faults / R2 Faults / Time
1. Tipsy Du Terral / Emily Moffitt / GBR / Poden Farms / 0 / 0 | 35.50
2. Chicago Hof Eversem Z / Mattias Tromp / USA/ Swede Ventures LLC / 0 / 0 | 37.323
3. HH Gigi’s Girl / Mclain Ward / USA / Double H Farm / 0 / 0 | 37.713
4. Heliante Ter Wilgen / Hector Florentino / DOM / Marion Head / 0 /0 | 38.142
5. Udstrum Du Lys / Alexa Lowe / USA / Windsor Farm Sales / 0 / 0 | 38.935
6. Zephire / Hayley Barnhill / USA / Barnhill LLC / 0 / 0 | 40.082
7. Bockmanns Lazio / Margie Engle / USA / 0 / 4 | 35.110
8. Hija Van Strokappelleken / Mclain Ward / USA / 0 / 4 | 36.184
9. ISHD Dual Star / Laura Chapot / USA / 0 / 4 | 37.513
10. For Edition / Taylor Land / USA / 0 / 4 | 37.549
11. Shiver / Liza Finsness / USA / 0 / 4 | 38.973
12. Win For Life / Christine McCrea / USA / 0 / 4 | 39.299
For more information on the Winter Equestrian Festival, please click here.