For Immediate Release
Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Wellington, FL – January 28, 2018 – The third week of the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) ended with a victory for Olympic team gold medalist Ben Maher (GBR) riding Don Vito in the $35,000 Hollow Creek Farm 1.50m Classic on Sunday. WEF continues through April 1 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL, and offers more than $9 million in prize money.
The fourth week of WEF, sponsored by NetJets, runs March 31-February 4 and features the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby “Hunt and Go” on Friday, February 2, at 12 p.m. in the International Arena, the $205,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI 4* on Saturday, February 3, at 11 a.m. on the grass derby field at Equestrian Village (home to the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival), and the Great Charity Challenge, presented by Fidelity Investments®, on Saturday evening at 6:30 p.m. in the International Arena.
A total of 58 entries challenged a course designed by Peter Grant of Canada with 11 ultimately advancing to the jump-off. Returning half-way through the short course order, Maher thought he left an opportunity for someone in the talented field to bump him from the lead, but had done just enough to take the win in 39.61 seconds.
Fabio Leivas da Costa (BRA) was knocked from the top spot by fractions of a second, but held on for second place riding Tosca de l’Esque to a time of 39.72 seconds. Rounding out the top three, Jonathon Millar (CAN) piloted Daveau to third in 40.18 seconds. With five different countries represented in the top five placings, Catherine Tyree took fourth riding Enjoy Louis for the United States and Wilhelm Genn (GER) placed fifth aboard Bugatti.
“The time was tight with a lot of short distances, which suited Don Vito,” said Maher of the ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Quaprice Z x Jus de Pomme) owned by Poden Farms. “In the jump-off, there was one option inside to the original number three and I had a couple of looks when I went in and couldn’t make my mind up. Don Vito sometimes can get too sharp on the turn and then he turns too tight, so I decided to take the option to go around l thought I left the door open there, but fortunately today things went our way.”
Maher and his student, 19-year-old Emily Moffitt (GBR), have traded off riding Don Vito since the gelding joined Poden Farms’ string a year and a half ago. For Maher, the horse has allowed him to stay at the top level while developing younger horses or resting his top mounts.
“Don Vito has been a great horse for me,” said Maher, who will celebrate his 35th birthday on January 30. “I am very lucky because Poden Farms has some incredible horses right now. Emily is going to go back on him soon, but I have been lucky to ride him for the past eight to ten months.”
Maher’s win joins a string of successes for Poden Farms at WEF, including a win for Moffitt in the $75,000 Rosenbaum PLLC Grand Prix during week one and a second-place finish for fellow Poden Farms rider Emily Mason (GBR) in the $70,000 Marshall & Sterling Grand Prix CSI 2* during week two.
“I like being here at WEF where we can really spend time with the horses working on things rather than traveling to the shows,” said Maher. “This has been a lucky place for me; I have many good memories here and we have had a great start. The whole team is doing quite well!”
Also highlighting the Sunday schedule in the International Ring, Samantha Cohen piloted Carmen to a win in the $10,000 SJHOF High Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, presented by Sleepy P Ranch, and Fabrizio Caffarena riding Hermoine Jean topped the $10,000 Medium Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, presented by Equiline.
Final Results: $35,000 Hollow Creek Farm 1.50m Classic
1 DON VITO: 2008 KWPN gelding by Quaprice Z x Jus de Pomme
BEN MAHER (GBR), Poden Farms: 0/0/39.61
2 TOSCA DE L’ESQUE: 2007 Selle Français mare by Cardento x Apache d’Adriers
FABIO LEIVAS DA COSTA (BRA), Bonne Chance Farm LLC: 0/0/39.72
3 DAVEAU: 2008 KWPN gelding by Zento x Glennridge
JONATHON MILLAR (CAN), Millar Brooke Farm: 0/0/40.18
4 ENJOY LOUIS: 2004 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Coriano x Kannan
CATHERINE TYREE (USA), Mary & Joe Tyree: 0/0/40.70
5 BUGATTI: 2006 KWPN gelding by Heartbreaker x Pilot
WILHELM GENN (GER), Eduardo Leon: 0/0/40.95
6 THEODORE MANCIAIS: 2007 Selle Français gelding by Kashmir van Schuttershof
SPENCER SMITH (USA), Ashland Farms: 0/0/41.83
7 LADY MARIA BH: 2006 Holsteiner mare by Cartani x Corrado I
AMANDA DERBYSHIRE (GBR), Gochman Sport Horses LLC: 0/4/40.22
8 LILLYFEE: 2003 Holsteiner mare by Limbus x Carthago Z
SUSAN HORN (CAN), Kingsfield Farm: 0/4/43.59
9 IMPORTANT DE MUZE: 2008 BWP gelding by Erco van’t Roosakker x Nabab de Reve
DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Kerry Anne LLC: 0/8/39.35
10 CARONA: 2007 KWPN mare by Untouchable x Silverstone
KARA CHAD (CAN), Torrey Pines Stable: 0/8/43.08
11 NATHAN DETROIT: 2007 Hanoverian gelding by Contendro I x Acord II
PARIS SELLON (USA), Paris Sellon: 0/8/43.25
12 SIG IRON MAN: 2004 KWPN gelding by Van Cantos x Oklund
CHRIS PRATT (CAN), SIG International, Inc.: 1/72.08
Hallie Grimes and Inquisitive Take Top Honors in Small Junior Hunter 15 & Under Division
Ava Lindsay for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Hallie Grimes, of Houston, TX, piloted her mount, Inquisitive, owned by Can We Keep It?, LLC, to championship honors in the Small Junior Hunter 15 & Under division with a second under saddle and a first, first, fifth, and eighth over fences. The pair took both of their first-place blue ribbons with a top score of 87 in the Handy round on Saturday and an 84 on Sunday.
“We just started this division,” said Grimes. “We did the 3’3” hunters all of last year, and he ended up winning the championship in the division at [The National Horse Show]. He has been a really nice horse for me to move up on, and he jumped amazingly today.”
The young rider continued to explain her game plan going into Sunday’s rounds after a tough handy course in the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter ring the previous day.
“I had a great day yesterday,” said Grimes. “I made some risky decisions in the handy and they worked out well. He doesn’t have the biggest stride, so today I was focusing on landing and trying to get up the lines early. He really marches down there more in the bigger rings.”
In light of her recent win, Grimes commented that she hopes to qualify for the Devon Horse Show with the ten-year-old Warmblood gelding this coming year.
“I think it’s a pipe dream, but I would love to go to Devon with him,” said Grimes. “It all depends on how the points shake out!”
Reserve honors went to Mimi Gochman aboard Evermore, owned by Gochman Sport Horses, LLC, with a first and three thirds over fences.
The Winter Equestrian Festival continues with its fourth week of competition, sponsored by NetJets on January 31 through February 4.
Photo Credit: Photos © Sportfot, Official Photographer of the Winter Equestrian Festival. These photos may be used only in relation to this press release and must include photo credit.