Wellington, Fla. – March 14, 2019 – A weekly attraction at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), round ten of the $36,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup CSI3* got underway in the International Arena with the third largest group of the season vying for the top prize around the 1.50m grand prix course. Of the 85 horse-and-athlete combinations, Laura Chapot (USA) found herself at the top of the podium after riding Chandon Blue to the championship title.
Michel Vaillancourt designed the 13-obstacle first round course for the Thursday afternoon event, giving competitors 72 seconds to pass through the final set of timers. The Canadian Olympian is a FEI Level 4 course designer with extensive experience, including his title of course designer for the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. After clearing challenging obstacles such as a triple bar oxer, two liverpools and a triple combination, 19 athletes went on to qualify for the jump-off, with Irishman Darragh Kenny paving the way as the first to show a qualifying ride.
The 13 athletes who chose to return for the eight-fence jump-off were given a time-allowed of 48 seconds. The shortened course kept the first four obstacles the same from the first round, with the exception of the removal of element A in the triple combination. Exhibitors then had a long gallop to a vertical, followed by a rollback to what was originally jump 12. To finish, athletes opened their horses’ steps in anticipation of crossing the timers on the back side of the final fence, a wide-set oxer which was a new addition to the course.
Nine horses completed the jump-off with rails down, leaving the playing field wide open for Chapot to take the lead with the first clear ride of round two. A quick time of 39.212 seconds secured her position in the lead for the remainder of the class with Mary Chapot’s Chandon Blue, a 14-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Chacco-blue. The pair have been a team for just over a year now and most recently won the $50,000 Dutta Corp./Guido Klatte Grand Prix CSI2* during Week Seven of WEF. Chapot received the team bronze medal at the 2007 Continental/Regional Games in Rio de Janeiro and won the WEF Equiline Overall Jumper Rider title in 2018.
Twenty-one-year-old Zoé Conter (BEL) followed behind Chapot with no faults on the scoreboard. Her time aboard Davidoff De Lassus, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion, rang in at 40.486 seconds, only 1.274 seconds slower than Chapot. Conter was a part of the Belgian Young Riders team at the 2017 European Championships in Samorin, Slovakia, where she contributed to the team silver medal. Thursday’s second place is the first big finish for Conter and Davidoff De Lassus, who only began their FEI career together this year.
Rounding out the top three was Georgina Bloomberg (USA) and Manodie II H in a faultless time of 45.815 seconds. The 14-year-old Oldenburg by Carthago is owned by Gotham Enterprizes, LLC. Bloomberg has ridden the mare since 2016 but has not competed with her since Week Four of WEF. Bloomberg completed the 2018/2019 season of the East Coast division of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League in eighth, following the final leg of the series at Live Oak International CSI3*-W in Ocala, Florida, on Sunday, and is aiming to be a part of the 2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Gothenburg, Sweden, in April.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Laura Chapot – $36,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round Ten CSI3* winner
On Chandon Blue:
“He jumps better and better every time I ride him. He has a lot of ability and he always tries his heart out. I started showing him last year so we’ve been together for just over a year now. Our plan was to do him in the 3* this week. He’ll have next week off and then we’ll decide what we do for the last week. He feels so great; he is jumping so easily and sound. We’re going to try to keep him that way and just take it step-by-step.”
On Thursday’s course:
“It was a good course. It’s always so difficult with so many people in the class. There were a lot of difficult questions asked throughout the course. A lot of different questions were involved in distances and you could really choose whatever suited your horse best.”
On the jump-off:
“When you have so many in the jump-off, you think it’s going to be very fast. In the start of the class, people were going fast with the cost of a rail so towards the end, having a clear round became more important. It didn’t have to be the fastest jump-off ever. My horse jumped great and fortunately we had a great clear round. I didn’t take any risks to the last fence and it held out. He’s a very neat horse so I thought if I jumped clear then I could take some opportunities to gallop him so he could make up some time. He gets across the ground very quickly.”
$36,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round Ten CSI3*:
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / JO Faults / JO Time
1. Chandon Blue / Laura Chapot / USA / 0 / 39.212
2. Davidoff De Lassus / Zoe Conter / BEL / 0 / 40.486
3. Manodie II H / Georgina Bloomberg / USA / 0 / 45.815
4, Roulette BH / Amanda Derbyshire / GBR / 4 / 38.743
5. Catch Me Imperio Egipcio / Francisco Jose Mesquita Musa / BRA / 4 / 39.059
6. Aristoteles V / Jonathan Mcrea / USA / 4 / 40.03
7. Valentino D’elte / Vanessa Mannix / CAN / 4 / 43.018
8. Soory De L’Hallali / Lorenzo De Luca / ITA / 4 / 47.503
9. All In / Katherine Strauss / USA / 8 / 38.685
10. Chinook II / Darragh Kenny / IRL / 8 / 40.265
11. Dicas / Margie Engle / USA / 8 / 41.203
12. Magic Mike / Michael Murphy / USA / 8 / 42.413
13. Truman / Amy Millar / CAN / 8 / 44.139