Todd Minikus and Valinski S Victorious in First WEF Challenge Cup of 2017

© Caroline Nickolaus: Todd Minikus and Valinski S
Todd Minikus and Valinski S claim top honors in the $25,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup.

Wellington, Fla. – Jan. 12, 2017 – The 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) is underway, and on Thursday it was Todd Minikus who piloted Valinski S for Wyndmont, Inc. to a first-place finish in the premier $25,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup of the season. Blazing through the timers in the jump-off round at 37.996 seconds, Minikus put a time on the clock that none of the other riders could beat.

Todd Minikus and Valinski S’ winning jump-off round in the $25,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round One on Thursday.

The popular class, held in the International Arena on Thursday each week of WEF, attracted 53 talented horse and rider combinations who were each vying for the coveted title, but only 10 contenders made it to the jump-off.

Minikus has had great success in the WEF Challenge Cups in previous years, and this time was no different. Minikus and the 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding were ninth to go in the first round, laying down an impressive quick and clear ride. He also advanced to the jump-off with his other mount, Zephyr, also owned by Wyndmont, Inc., but was unable to outdo Valinski S’s speed.

© Caroline Nickolaus: Todd Minikus and ZephyrTodd Minikus’ second mount in the class, Zephyr, came in seventh place.

Minikus credited part of his success on Thursday afternoon to the team at Wyndmont, as every horse is always prepared and feels their best.

The team at Wyndmont, Inc., based in Loxahatchee, Florida, consists of Ronnie Beard and Michael Dorman, both well-respected horsemen in their own right. Beard, an internationally renowned trainer and R-rated judge, works with Dorman, who rides and prepares the horses for the show ring.

“Wyndmont has a great team and they always have the horses ready for me,” said Minikus. “I just ride them here in the ring. The boys that take care of them, Michael [Dorman] and everyone else who does all of the work there, do a good job and are making it easy for me.”

Minikus continued, “Both horses went great last week. They were first and second in a class last week and then they both got a ribbon in the grand prix. Valinski S won the grand prix last week, so that is two classes in a row for him, which is outstanding.”

Minikus admitted that he has had his eye on the talented bay gelding for a few years now.

“I always really liked him and I even asked about him a couple of years ago, and it’s funny how things come around,” said Minikus. “They called a couple of weeks ago and asked me if I’d ride him. It’s not a fluke [that he won]. He’s a top horse.”

When asked about his strategy going into the class, Minikus smiled and said, “Basically just put your foot to the floor and hang on. A couple of weeks ago, I don’t think he understood how when I said I wanted to go. I think he thought I was joking. I think he’s getting the drift a bit now, because that was really fast.”

© Caroline Nickolaus: Todd Minikus and Valinski STodd Minikus rode his victory lap on his second mount of the class, Zephyr.

In preparation for the jump-off, Minikus galloped a few fences in the warm-up ring to really make sure that Valinski S was in front of his leg and ready to show off his speed.

“Well, if you’re racing you might as well practice running,” Minikus commented. “They don’t trot race horses very much; they pick up the canter and then they run, so if you’re going to go in there and race, you might as well run. That’s my theory on it.”

Beard said, “I think Todd is doing a great job with him. He laid down the gauntlet. I think he made it very difficult for the other horses because not only was he clear but he was extremely fast. They had to move up to the test. We felt that he did everything he could do. He did it beautifully.”

Dorman had similar sentiments saying, “It was exciting. They’re a really great match. The horse really enjoys going fast and Todd enjoys going fast. I think they’ll stay solid the whole time. They really seem to click well together.”

Just missing the fastest time were second place finishers Marilyn Little and Clearwater, while Emanuel Andrade and Dipssy came in third place.

As the newest addition to Minikus’ string, including Babalou and Quality Girl, Valinski S will surely be one to watch in the top grand prix classes this year. Looking ahead to the rest of the season, Minikus and the Wyndmont team are aiming to compete in the Palm Beach Masters World Cup qualifier, which will be held in February at Deeridge Farms, as well as several other top events throughout the season.

© Caroline Nickolaus: Marilyn Little and Clearwater
Marilyn Little and Clearwater – 2nd place

© Caroline Nickolaus: Emanuel Andrade and DipssyEmanuel Andrade and Dipssy – 3rd place

© Caroline Nickolaus: Shane Sweetnam and CoboltShane Sweetnam and Cobolt – 4th place 

© Caroline Nickolaus: Emily Moffitt and Harriri
Emily Moffitt and Harriri – 5th place

© Caroline Nickolaus: Quentin Judge and HH QuatuorQuentin Judge and HH Quatuor – 6th place

© Caroline Nickolaus: Todd Minikus and ZephyrTodd Minikus and Zephyr – 7th place

© Caroline Nickolaus: peter wylde and Aimee
Peter Wylde and Aimee – 8th place 

Results: $25,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round One

1 1016 VALINSKI S TODD MINIKUS 0 76.384 0 37.996
2 4946 CLEARWATER MARILYN LITTLE 0 76.06 0 38.337
3 1371 DIPSSY EMANUEL ANDRADE 0 79.212 0 40.992
4 70 COBOLT SHANE SWEETNAM 0 77.611 0 41.029
5 1172 HARRIRI EMILY MOFFITT 0 74.536 0 43.472
6 3056 HH QUATUOR QUENTIN JUDGE 0 77.541 0 45.859
7 1007 ZEPHYR TODD MINIKUS 0 75.24 4 40.074
8 1805 AIMEE PETER WYLDE 0 79.996 4 41.377
9 824 BOKAI CATHERINE TYREE 0 77.074 4 42.864
10 4529 RETIRO PETER LUTZ 0 75.82 8 44.574

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