The senior jumping finale class of the season on the derby field, the $205,000 CaptiveOne Advisors CSI4* Grand Prix, came right down to the wire. It was last-to-go Beezie Madden (USA) who clinched the win in the five-strong jump-off.
The remaining highlight in week 11 is the $50,000 Hermés Under 25 Grand Prix Series Final at 11 a.m. at the grass derby field on Sunday, March 25. WEF hosts hunter, jumper, and equitation competition until April 1 and offers more than $9 million in prize money.
Clears in the first round were few and far between over Olaf Petersen Jr.’s big and challenging track, with many careful combinations being caught out by the yawning water jump. The first 39 starters produced only two clears, but the jump-off numbers were bolstered by three late clears from the final six riders.
The class, held in the penultimate week of the 12-week 2018 WEF circuit, was held on the expansive grass arena of the derby field at Equestrian Village (home to the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival).
Madden was riding Breitling LS, a quick and careful 12-year-old stallion son of Quintero owned by Abigail Wexner, who was clocking up his second grand prix win of the season — the first having been in the $205,000 CSIO4* Grand Prix, presented by Lugano Diamonds, in WEF 8.
“This is Breitling’s final prep before he goes to Paris for the World Cup Finals and I know it sounds funny to do a big field class, but I think that the grass and a different venue helps keep him feeling fresh and feeling good,” said Madden, who is no stranger to the World Cup Final, having won it in 2013 on Simon. “Breitling’s always been a horse that goes well when he’s in a good mood, so we’re just trying to keep him happy and he seems to like the grass. That’s why we chose this class.”
The 54-year-old Olympic gold medalist had the advantage of crafting her jump-off tactics after watching her fellow competitors tackle the course. She broke the beam in 47.19 seconds, cruising more than a second under Irishman Daniel Coyle’s time. He finished second with Cita.
“I was lucky that I was able to keep an eye on what was going on and able to see Daniel go, so it was lucky he went into the lead because I could see exactly what I needed to do,” explained Madden. “I think when I did five strides from fence two to three, it took maybe almost a little too much time at the double which worried me and made me hustle the rest of the way around. I’m not sure where I caught up exactly; maybe I just had a little more speed in general, but it was close!”
Madden has ridden the talented stallion for five years, buying him from the Dutch show jumping champion Jeroen Dubbeldam — who was at PBIEC to watch the win — in the spring of his seven-year-old year.
She added: “Any grand prix win is exciting — not only for me but for my entire team; I have a fabulous owner in Abigail Wexner and a great support team behind me, so it’s nice for all of them when we have success like this. It’s also great prize-money thanks to sponsors CaptiveOne, plus this is a beautiful venue and an international field with some very top riders competing.”
Second-placed Coyle was also enthusiastic about his result, saying: “I’ve tried to save Cita for certain grands prix and every time I’ve asked her this year, she’s been brilliant. The mare is jumping fantastically and she’s never been in better form.
“Any four-or five-star result like this anywhere in the world is not easy to do,” said Coyle, who also won the $384,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate Grand Prix CSI 5* in WEF 9 with Cita. “The course was well built today and jumped a little harder than it walked. There were only five clears, but it always makes it better when a class isn’t easy to jump, which is why it was good to be second in this one.”
Ariel Grange and Lothlorien’s 12-year-old Casall daughter will jump in WEF 12 before moving on to the summer season.
Fellow Irishman Richie Moloney sewed up a success-fueled week, finishing third in this class to add to his 1.45m victory on Friday. This latest result came aboard Equinimity LLC’s Freestyle De Muze, a 13-year-old gelding by Lord Z, who finished in 50.68 seconds.
“Week four was his last grand prix and he was double clear out here as well to finish sixth, so since then we’ve been aiming for today,” said Moloney, who has been based in Florida for seven years. “He’s been great and he loves it out on the grass; the ring really suits him — I think he enjoys the footing and big grass arenas.
“This result is probably equal to Freestyle’s best result,” he continued. “He hasn’t done a lot lately, and these classes are as good as he’s done in past couple of years as he was off with a little injury for a while, so I’m very happy to have him back.”
Emily Moffitt was named the Martha Jolicoeur Leading Lady Rider, in memory of Dale Lawler, for her top finishes in Thursday’s $70,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 11 and Saturday’s Grand Prix.
The Grass Series Major Rider Bonus, sponsored by the McNerney Family, was for riders’ results in WEF 4 and WEF 11 FEI competitions on the grass derby field at Equestrian Village. First place went to Daniel Bluman (ISR), who received $15,000, Richie Moloney (IRL) received $7,500 for second place, and Emily Moffitt (GBR) won $2,500 for third place.
$205,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Grand Prix CSI 4*
1. Breitling LS, Beezie Madden (USA) 0/0/47.19
2. Cita, Daniel Coyle (IRL) 0/0/48.23
3. Freestyle De Muze, Richie Moloney (IRL) 0/0/50.68
4. Fee Des Sequoias Z, Juan Manuel Gallego (COL) 0/0/53.11
5. Hitchcock Vd Broekkant, Alise Oken (USA) 0/0/53.84
6. Comic, Luiz Francisco De Azevedo (BRA) 1/85.13
7. Waterford, Lauren Hough (USA) 4/79.23
8. Tipsy Du Terral, Emily Moffitt (GBR) 4/79.99
9. Explosion W, Emily Mason (GBR) 4/80.12
10. Toulago, Adrienne Sternlicht (USA) 4/80.48