Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 16, 2018 – Week Six of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) featured a special edition of “Friday Night Lights” for international show jumping competition held at the Global International Arena in Equestrian Village while hunter horses take over the main grounds of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). The evening highlighted the $132,000 Rushy Marsh Farm Grand Prix CSI3* where Olivier Philippaerts (BEL) and H&M Ikker took to the winner’s podium once again, following Thursday’s victory in the $35,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round VI.
Ana Catalina Cruz-Harris’ (MEX) tight track and the smaller venue proved difficult with only seven riders from the starting field of 43 advancing clear through the first round into the jump-off. Philippaerts and Roger Van Nuffelen’s 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding showcased their speed in the second round, capturing the lead by almost two seconds to mirror yesterday’s sizable lead and finish with a time of 38.858 seconds. The 24-year-old athlete captured his first WEF victory just yesterday in the Challenge Cup and completed the phenomenon by also claiming the week’s main grand prix title.
Argentina’s Gustavo Prato set the jump-off pace aboard Equus Forte LLC’s 12-year-old Zangersheide mare Carna Z with a time of 40.389 seconds, but it could not hold up to Philippaerts’ quick round and the pair finished in second place.
The third place ribbon was awarded to Canada’s Mario Deslauriers and Wishing Well Farm LLC’s Bardolina 2. Deslauriers and the 8-year-old Holsteiner finished with a fast, fault-free time of 41.39 seconds. While the mare is still a newer mount for Deslauriers, they have already found success with a top five finish in the $216,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping New York CSI4*-W at the 2017 American Gold Cup.
Competition will return to the Adequan Global Dressage Festival facility on Saturday, Feb. 17, in the Derby Field with the $10,000 Hermès U25 Welcome beginning at 9:00 a.m. and the $35,000 Hollow Creek 1.50m Classic at 12:00 p.m. WEF Week 6 will highlight the $100,000 WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular on Saturday, Feb. 17, for the week’s “Saturday Night Lights” feature beginning at 6:35 p.m. in the International Arena at PBIEC.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Olivier Philippaerts – $132,000 Rushy Marsh Farm Grand Prix CSI 3* winner
On H&M Ikker:
“He was a little tired from yesterday. This one is more like an outdoor horse and he jumps from well out here…this week he went very well. I think he’s going to stay a little longer here. I think he’s a very good horse and my plan is to get him ready for WEG because I think he could be a good horse for that. I plan to do one more show here as well as WEF Week 12 then he’ll get some time off. After that we’ll start again in Europe doing some Nation’s Cups and try to make the team.”
On his recovery from his shoulder injury:
“I had a bad fall in the end of August and I had to have surgery on my shoulder, so then I ended up having to go three months without riding, which is quite a long time. It feels pretty good now; it’s still not perfect, but I think it’s getting stronger and with a few more months I’ll be completely back to normal again.”
On changing venues:
“I think the different venues has been very good for me as a European rider because we go to different venues every week. It’s been great that I’ve been showing here for three weeks and I’ve been to four different venues.”
Gustavo Prato – second place
On Carna Z:
“I have had Carna for two years. She started her career very late and only started doing bigger 1.40m-1.50m classes last season, so now she’s finally starting to become consistent. I thought she would be a little tired today because she jumped the two days previous and so this was her third day in a row jumping. The first course she was in fact a little tired and rubbing some fences, but in the jump-off she really felt more alive.”
On Carna Z’s tack preferences:
“She’s a very sensitive horse and whenever you put something on she doesn’t like it upsets her and gets under her skin, so I feel she goes best with no boots or anything like that on. She also has a special bridle to keep the pressure off of her neck. I don’t know if that really works, but I put it on because I feel it does. She’s gone like that since I got her because whenever I tried to change the tack it didn’t work out well.”
Mario Deslauriers – third place
On Bardolina 2:
“This is a new horse I got last March and I only competed in the 1.40m here last year. I took her to Old Salem and Calgary and moved up quite fast and placed 4th in the World Cup at Old Salem. She’s a young horse that I think is the real deal so I backed off a little and tried to build her up for this year at WEF. She had a long rest after indoors so I’m just trying to get everything ready for the summer and hopefully be on the team for WEG.”
On changing venues:
“I think to make a good show horse it’s very nice to have classes at the main show-grounds and some over at AGDF as well as some on the field because it gives the horse more experience. It’s more likely that they will get better and more confident when they see different venues.”
$132,000 Rushy Marsh Farm Grand Prix CSI 3*
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / R1 Faults | Time / R2 Faults | Time
1. H&M Ikker / Olivier Philippaerts / BEL / 0 | 71.49 / 0 | 38.858
2. Carna Z / Gustavo Prato / ARG / 0 | 73.23 / 0 | 40.389
3. Bardolina 2 / Mario Deslauriers / CAN / 0 | 73.87 / 0 | 41.39
4. Austria 2 / Amber Harte / USA / 0 | 72.94 / 0 | 42.177
5. Iliona / David Raposa / USA / 0 | 73.07 / 0 | 45.012
6. Canamera 2 / Peter Wylde / USA / 0 | 73.95 / 4 | 41.371
7. Randon Pleasure / Stephanie Macieira / BRA / 0 | 72.63 / –
8. Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili / Kristen Vanderveen / USA / 4 | 69.82
9. Dicas / Margie Engle / USA / 4 | 71.82
10. Gentille / Kaely Tomeu / USA / 4 | 72.56
11. Thriller P / Samuel Parot / CHI / 4 | 73.56
12. Button Sitte / Richie Moloney / IRL / 4 | 73.62
For full results, click here.