Wellington, Fla. – March 10, 2019 – The ninth week of the Winter Equestrian Festival continued with it’s third 5* week of competition at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center with the FEI CSI5* CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Classic. A total of 43 competitors were seen over the timed course where Mclain Ward rode HH Gigi’s Girl to the winner’s circle. William Whitaker piloted RMF Echo to the second place ribbon while Erynn Ballard rode Ceitasi to round out the top three.
Alan Wade set the International Arena with a challenging 13 obstacle course in a Table A format. A tight 76-second time allowed forced competitors to hustle through the course to avoid time faults. While the course overall did not have many areas that were consistently an issue for competitors, the majority of faults came from single time faults or rails in the double combinations of the course. A total of 14 horses finished their rides with 4 or fewer faults on the scoreboard, leaving 16 horses to return for the jump-off after their quick and clear first round.
The large contingency of riders who moved onto the jump-off included Ward, Whitaker, Ballard, Tiffany Foster, Kevin Babington, Karrie Ruffer, Hunter Holloway, Carlos Hank Guerreiro, Kristen Vanderveen, Ali Wolff, Rodrigo Lambre, Petronella Andersson, Martin Fuchs, Sergio Alvarez Moya, Lorenzo De Luca and Lillie Keenan. The time allowed of 52 seconds was no problem for riders, all completing the seven-fence jump-off in less than 40 seconds. However, a more difficult course led nine riders to faults, shortening the list of double clear rides to seven in the final result. In the end, a matter of 1.154 seconds pushed Mclain to the top while Whitaker followed swiftly behind.
Ward’s win aboard HH Gigi’s Girl (Vingino x Zaline), an 11-year-old Royal Dutch Sport Horse mare owned by Double H Farm, comes after Thursday’s Round 9 WEF Cup Challenge where they retired from the course. Their ride today has a form of redemption for the two that have been together since 2017 and have had a handful of other top finishes at the FEI level, including their win in the Longines Jumping World Cup Toronto and Hampton Classic Grand Prix CSI4* in 2018.
Thirty-year-old Whitaker and RMF Echo took the reserve title for Great Britain after their double-clear and quick ride with a time of 34.514 seconds. RMF Echo (Virus De Laubry x Jasmine D) is a 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding owned by Rushy Marsh Farm LLC. The pair have been competing together since December of 2018 when Whitaker made his move to the US. Whitaker currently ranks 78th in the FEI Longines Rankings and 35th in the FEI Jumping World Cup Standings.
Canada’s Ballard is the current leader of the FEI CSI5* 1.50m Classic series. Her third-place finish today riding Ilan Ferder’s Ceitasi, a 9-year-old Westphalian mare by Caretello B, will keep her in the top rankings for the classic. The new partnership made their FEI debut only in February.
Week 9 of the Winter Equestrian Festival will conclude its competition in the International Arena on Sunday with the FEI CSI2* $50,000 Griffis Residential Grand Prix.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Mclain Ward – FEI CSI5* CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Classic Winner
On the first round:
“She was great. She jumped a nice first round. On Thursday, it was not the round we wanted in the WEF [Challenge Cup], but she came back really strongly today.”
On the jump-off
“In a jump-off like that with a large number and very fast ones and very good prize money, everyone is trying hard. It’s doesn’t matter if you go first or last, you have to try and do the best round you can.
The jump-off was actually set up pretty nice for her; it was a good track for her strength. This is her fourth week of competition this circuit, and we’ve had the program we planned. She’s actually been very consistent and a little bit unlucky. It was great to have it all come together nicely today.”
On HH Gigi’s Girl:
“She’s a very good jumper, a very careful horse. We’ve been lucky to have some great results and nice wins on her. She’s been a very good grand prix horse.”
FEI CSI5* CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Classic:
Place / Athlete / Horse / Country / R1 Faults / R2 Faults / Time
1. Mclain Ward / HH Gigi’s Girl / USA / 0 / 0 / 33.36
2. William Whitaker / RMF Echo / GRB / 0 / 0 / 34.891
3. Erynn Ballard / Ceitasi / CAN / 0 / 0 / 34.891
4. Carlos Hank Guerriero / H5 Just The Music / MEX / 0 / 0 / 35.201
5. Petronella Andersson / Finally Z / SWE / 0 / 0 / 35.25
6. Tiffany Foster / Brighton / CAN / 0 / 0 / 36.361
7. Lillie Keenan / Skyhorse / USA / 0 / 0 / 36.526
8. Sergio Alvarez Moya / Charmeur / ESP / 0 / 4 / 33.198
9. Martin Fuchs / Karel VDB / SUI / 0 / 4 / 33.637
10. Ali Wolff / Casall / USA / 0 / 4 / 34.655
11. Rodrigo Lambre / Chacanno / BRA / 0 / 4 / 36.161
12. Kevin Babington / Super Chilled / IRL / 0 / 4 / 37.73