Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 28, 2019 – Laura Chapot (USA) and Out of Ireland topped a field of 92 entries to win the $25,000 ProElite® 1.45m Jumper Classic on Thursday in the International Arena at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL.
The large starting field was narrowed down to 11 entries qualified to return to jump off over the Steve Stephens-designed course, and once onto the jump-off, the early time to beat – and the first double clear effort – was turned in by the sixth to return, Kelli Cruciotti (USA), who tripped the timers in 30.76 seconds to move into the lead aboard Grandy de Laubry, owned by 3 Seas, LLC. Cruciotti’s lead would prove to be short-lived however, as Chapot returned next, stopping the clock in 28.81 seconds to ultimately take the win aboard Out of Ireland, owned by The Edge.
With three of the remaining entries proving fast enough to catch Cruciotti, but not quite quick enough to catch Chapot, second place with a time of 29.58 seconds went to Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) and Soory de l’Hallali, owned by Stephex Stables, with a time of 29.79 seconds. Third place was awarded to Martin Fuchs (SUI) riding Faberlys for owner SPCS, and fourth place on a time of 29.84 seconds went to Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Palina de l’Escaut, owned by Sweet Oak Farm, Spy Coast Farm, and Paul Tracy. The final double clear in the jump-off was Georgina Bloomberg (USA) on Gotham Enterprizes LLC’s Tulara Colmine, who finished in 33.55 seconds.
“I think [Steve Stephens] did a fantastic job,” said Chapot. “To have 92 horses in the class and only 11 clear – it wasn’t like he built massively, or there weren’t any people on the ground or anything like that, I think it was just technical; time was tight, and it kept you thinking the whole way around. That catches people.”
For Chapot, who has had the ride on Out of Ireland for five years, the time was not something she really had to worry about.
“From the first day I had her, she’s always been very strong-willed and opinionated,” said Chapot of the 13-year-old Anglo European mare. “She really has her own style of jumping, but she does try to be very careful, and she’s very quick. She’s almost deceptively fast. A lot of the time, you’ll not think you’re going very fast, and she’s still winning the class.”
The mare’s own style that Chapot mentions is one with the mare’s head naturally held higher in the air than most horses, but that seems to suit her well.
“That’s been her style always,” said Chapot. “She seems to find a way to miss the jumps anyway. When I ride her, I just try to think about keeping things smooth because the less you interfere with her, the better she’s going to jump – as with most horses.”
Chapot will next aim the mare at Saturday afternoon’s $50,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m National Grand Prix before looking to potential national level grand prix events through the remainder of the WEF season.
“She’s just been sort of edging up to that level,” continued Chapot. “She certainly has a lot of ability, it’s sometimes just her spirit gets a little bit in the way. She gets a little over the top going; she wants to go fast. So, we’ve been very careful about always keeping her confidence level very high because she does try hard. I think we’ll just keep looking for the opportunities as they arise to keep pushing her up a level!”
The eighth week of WEF, sponsored by Lugano Diamonds, features the $36,000 Hermès U25 Grand Prix on Friday, March 1, at 7 p.m.; the $150,000 Nations Cup CSIO4* on Saturday, March 2, beginning at 7 p.m.; and the $209,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix CSIO4* on Sunday, March 3 at 1 p.m.
$25,000 ProElite® 1.45m Jumper Classic
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / R1 Faults / R2 Faults | Time
1. Out Of Ireland / Laura Chapot / USA / 0 / 0 | 28.81
2. Soory De L’hallali / Lorenzo De Luca / ITA / 0 / 0 | 29.58
3. Faberlys / Martin Fuchs / SUI / 0 / 0 | 29.79
4. Palina De L’escaut / Shane Sweetnam / IRL / 0 / 0 | 29.84
5. Grandy De Laubry / Kelli Cruciotti / USA / 0 / 0 | 30.76
6. Tulara Colmine / Georgina Bloomberg / USA / 0 / 0 | 33.55
7. HH Venice Beach / Ali Wolff / USA / 0 / 4 | 30.22
8. Cornetiero / Carly Anthony / USA / 0 / 4 | 30.82
9. Cade / Abigail McArdle / USA / 0 / 4 | 31.21
10. Valentino V Z / Maria Costa / USA / 0 / 4 | 32.35
11. Fancy Girl / Willie Tynan / IRL / 0 / 12 | 32.30
12. Lucky Strike / Hunter Holloway / USA / 1 | 78.60