Spencer Smith and Ayade Hero Z Fly to Win in $140,000 Southern Arches Grand Prix CSI3* at 2022 WEF

Jan 15, 2022 - 11:23 PM

For Immediate Release

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Wellington, FL – January 15, 2022 – The $140,000 Southern Arches Grand Prix CSI3* was the feature event of the week at the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) on Saturday, January 15, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL. Part of the popular “Saturday Night Lights” series, Spencer Smith (USA) wowed the crowd and jumped to victory with Ransome Rombauer’s Ayade Hero Z. WEF 1 concludes on Sunday, January 16, and the circuit continues through April 3.

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Equestrian Sport Productions President Michael Stone with Spencer Smith and Ayade Hero Z. © Sportfot

There were 45 entries in the biggest class of the week, and they competed over a course set by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) and Andy Christiansen Jr. (ECU). Eight were able to find the path to a clear round and continued to the jump-off.

Starting out the jump-off with a bang was Olympic team silver medalist Kent Farrington (USA) and his 10-year-old KWPN mare Orafina (For Fashion x Canturo). They set the time to beat at 36 seconds flat, which would hold up for second place.

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Kent Farrington and Orafina © Sportfot

Farrington has had Orafina in his barn for nearly a year and recorded consistent top finishes at the 2021 WEF, Kentucky, Tryon, Knokke (BEL), and Valkenswaard (NED), along with a win in Calgary at Spruce Meadows.

With Orafina as a younger horse moving up and competing in her first night class under the lights at WEF, Farrington thought the mare jumped “exceptionally well.” Farrington enjoyed the atmosphere and enthusiasm that has returned to WEF in 2022 and has plans to let Orafina develop further during the circuit.

I hope she keeps growing in confidence like she showed tonight and that I can finish out the season with a much stronger horse that’s ready to do some bigger things,” he noted.

Two trips after Farrington, it was Nayel Nassar (EGY) who would come closest to Farrington’s time. Nassar and Evergate Stables LLC’s Igor van de Wittemoere jumped clear in 36.65 seconds.

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Nayel Nassar and Igor van de Wittemoere © Sportfot

Igor was phenomenal tonight. I didn’t think I could have done much more without letting him unravel,” said Nassar of the 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding by Cooper van de Heffinck x Orlando. “I just wanted to keep things together and keep him jumping well. We have a whole circuit ahead of us.”

Nearly two years ago, Nassar took over the ride on “Igor” but in 2021 they raised their level, winning the Longines Grand Prix of Switzerland CSIO5* in St. Gallen, the CNOOC International at Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ CSI5*, the new CaptiveOne Advisors Grand Prix of Greenwich CSI3*, and the Noltrex®Vet Grand Prix CSI3* in Wellington during the ESP Holiday Series in November. They also had a clear first Individual round at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

“I have to say that he’s really been hitting his stride,” commented Nassar. “He’s finally really finding the consistency. This is a level down from what he’s used to jumping but it’s early in the season, and I thought it would be great to get him out here under the lights. I was just really pleased with how he jumped. My plan is to hit most of the five-star grand prix [classes] that will be under the lights with him, and then fill in the gaps with the other horses.”

Smith and Ayade Hero Z were able to bring the winning time down to a blisteringly fast 34.31 seconds to take the win. Leaving out a stride in the first line was not originally in Smith’s plan.

Click to watch the winning jump-off ride, presented by Premier Equestrian!

I thought it was a big risk for sure,” he admitted. “I wasn’t planning it, and then going to it I thought she was in a good rhythm, and I got a good jump to number one. I just let her get down it, and she ate it up easily so I took the risk. I think to try to beat these guys you have to take a big risk, and either it pays off or it totally doesn’t.”

Farrington noted, “As Spencer said, he took all the risk. He deserved the win today. I thought he had an amazing round, but I’m very happy with my horse, and it was a great way for her to start the season.”

Two more rides were double clear on the night: 19-year-old Tanner Korotkin (USA) and Volo’s Diamond, owned by Sandalwood Farms, were just off the pace in 36.85 seconds for fourth place, while right behind them in fifth place were Hector Florentino (DOM) and Wyndmont’s ABC Quantum Cruise in 36.89 seconds.

Ayade Hero Z has always done double duty with Smith and owner Rombauer, and the adaptable mare had six top three FEI finishes in 2021 – three with Smith and three with Rombauer.

“We have had her since she was seven from Eric Lamaze, and she’s just been produced by me and [Ransome] back and forth, which I think has given her a lot of maturity,” described Smith.

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Spencer Smith and Ayade Hero Z © Sportfot

With a tour of five-star events under her belt last year, Ayade Hero Z has “come back in a different state of mind, a different league now this year,” said Smith. “The experience of jumping really big tracks at different venues and traveling and everything made her strong, and I think mature in her head and in her body actually.”

Having grown up in Wellington, Smith was thrilled to win in his hometown in front of his whole family. “I have amazing support, and it’s been a great night,” he said.

Smith and Rombauer, who will compete in the Hermès Under 25 Grand Prix Series, will both continue to take Ayade Hero Z into the show ring during this circuit.

Smith added, “I hope Ransome can have a win. It would be cool to have both of us have a big win this winter. I think that’s kind of rare in our sport.”

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Lauren Balcomb (AUS) won the Martha W. Jolicoeur Leading Lady Rider award for WEF 1, presented by Martha Jolicoeur, Isabel Jolicoeur, and Dr. Stephen Norton. © Sportfot

Final Results: FEI $140,000 Southern Arches Grand Prix CSI3*

1 AYADE HERO Z: 2011 Zangersheide mare by Aganix du Seigneur x HH Radco
SPENCER SMITH (USA), Ransome Rombauer: 0/0/34.31

2 ORAFINA: 2012 KWPN mare by For Fashion x Canturo
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Kent Farrington LLC: 0/0/36.00

3 IGOR VAN DE WITTEMOERE: 2008 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Cooper van de Heffinck x Orlando
NAYEL NASSAR (EGY), Evergate Stables LLC: 0/0/36.65

4 VOLO’S DIAMOND: 2011 Oldenburg gelding by Stakkatol x Baloubet de Rouet
TANNER KOROTKIN (USA), Sandalwood Farms: 0/0/36.85

5 ABC QUANTUM CRUISE: 2009 Irish Sport Horse gelding by OBOS Quality x Cruising
HECTOR FLORENTINO ROCA (DOM), Wyndmont: 0/0/36.89

6 CHESS: 2011 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Bufero van het Panishof x Latano I
NICHOLAS DELLO JOIO (USA), Kent Farrington LLC: 0/4/40.54

7 H&M CARAT DESIRE: 2008 Holsteiner gelding by Carinjo x Latus II
MCLAIN WARD (USA), Susan Heller & McLain Ward: 0/8/37.59

8 MARCIANO MVF: 2011 Zangersheide gelding by Stakkato x Leberoi H
HEATHER CARISTO WILLIAMS (USA), Stephanie Bulger: 0/8/38.93

9 EL BALOU OLD: 2012 Oldenburg stallion by Eldorado VD Zeshoek x Balou Du Rouet
DAVID O’BRIEN (IRL), Chansonette Farm LLC: 1/78.87

10 IMERALD VAN’T VOORHOF: 2008 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Emerald x Bacardi Orange de Muze
PAUL O’SHEA (IRL), Tequestrian Farms & Imerald Partners LLC: 4/74.12

11 VERDINI D’HOUTVELD Z: 2011 Zangersheide gelding by Verdi TN x Caretino 2
LAUREN BALCOMB (AUS), Lauren Balcomb: 4/74.20

12 HAMILTON: 2011 Holsteiner gelding by Quadros 3 x Acolord
TIFFANY FOSTER (CAN), The Hamilton Group: 4/74.52

First Lady is First Place with McLain Ward in the CP National Grand Prix

Day-time competition in the International Arena was highlighted by the $30,000 CP National Grand Prix. McLain Ward and Robin Parsky’s First Lady outran the rest of the field to emerge victorious.

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Owner Robin Parsky with McLain Ward and First Lady © Sportfot

Thirty-eight entries attempted the course designed by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) and Andy Christiansen Jr. (ECU) with 10 horses jumping clear to advance to the jump-off.

First to jump off was Jennifer Waxman (USA), who set the time to beat at 43.786 seconds aboard The Scato Group LLC’s Scato van de Molenbrug Z. With each round, the jump-off got faster and faster until McLain Ward (USA) and First Lady could not be caught, crossing the timers in 39.125 seconds.

First Lady is a star in the making that has been with Ward for two years.

Ward explained, “Robin Parsky bought [First Lady] for me to bring along in the sport from René Tebbel. His daughter, Justine, had been bringing her along from the beginning. The Tebbels did a beautiful job of producing her, and we’ve just tried to continue that on.”

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McLain Ward and First Lady © Sportfot

Ward and his team have developed First Lady slowly through her seven- and eight-year-old years. Last year as an eight-year-old culminated in two-star grand prix classes at the end of the summer. Now the bay Oldenburg mare by Don Diarado x Lordanos is coming into her own with a ninth-place finish in last week’s $25,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Classic and a win today.

“She started off this year as a nine-year-old just spectacular, and we’re really excited about her future,” commented Ward. “I had a plan, and she’s answering all the questions so easily. Maybe the plan is growing a little bit.”

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First Lady with McLain Ward over the CP fence. © Sportfot

Ward is thinking about moving First Lady back up to the FEI divisions this circuit, but he is still measured in his approach.

“We’re going to move up and down, he said. “She’s still young, and she’s super careful. We want to be cautious, but she’s doing it really well.”

In the morning in the International Arena, Sheer Levitin (USA) and her horse Vitus K followed up their win yesterday with another win today, this time in the $15,000 SJHOF High Amateur Jumper Classic, presented by Lugano Diamonds. In the $1,500 Griffis Residential High Junior Jumper speed class, Sofia Cady came out on top riding her own Deleyn.

Final Results: $30,000 CP National Grand Prix

1 FIRST LADY: 2013 Oldenburg mare by Don Diarado x Lordanos
MCLAIN WARD (USA), Robin C Parsky: 0/0/39.125

2 CHADINA: 2013 Oldenburg mare by Conthargos x Narew
MCKAYLA LANGMEIER (USA), Rafferty Farm LLC: 0/0/39.673

3 AROME: 2010 Selle Français stallion by Norway de la Lande x Attila III
CATHLEEN DRISCOLL (USA), Plain Bay Farm: 0/0/39.761

4 CHANDON BLUE: 2005 Oldenburg gelding by Chacco-Blue x Landcapitol
LAURA CHAPOT (USA), Laura & Mary Chapot: 0/0/40.463

5 BUGATTI: 2006 KWPN gelding by Heartbreaker x Pilot
WILHELM GENN (GER), Eduardo Leon: 0/0/41.155

6 TULARA COLMINE: 2010 Warmblood stallion by Colman x Quinar Z
GEORGINA BLOOMBERG (USA), Gotham Enterprizes LLC: 0/0/41.282

7 CORNWALL BH: 2008 Holsteiner gelding by Con Air x Cambridge
AMANDA DERBYSHIRE (GBR), Gochman Sport Horses LLC: 0/0/42.443

8 SCATO VAN DE MOLENBRUG Z: 2010 Zangersheide gelding by Scendix x Charisma
JENNIFER WAXMAN (USA), The Scato Group LLC: 0/0/43.786

9 FLOTYLLA: 2011 Polish Halfbred mare by Alvaro 121 x Bajou du Rouet
CATHLEEN DRISCOLL (USA), Donald Stewart: 0/8/40.495

10 NANKING VD DONKHOEVE: 2013 Belgian Warmblood stallion by Houston x Cassini I
FILIP DE WANDEL (BEL), Five Way Farm LLC: 0/20/61.135

11 PLOT Z: 2011 Zangersheide gelding by Plot Blue x Animo
GRANT SEGER (USA), Grey Fox Crossing: 4/72.203

12 CATOKI: 2009 Holsteiner gelding by Catoki x Caretello B
MCLAIN WARD (USA), Van Beuren, Russel, & Ward: 4/72.805

Bennett Kitchens and Clearview Clinch Blue in Ariat National Adult Medal

Heading into the test portion of the class, only half a point separated first from second place, and another half a point between second and third.

Leading with a score of 85, Bennett Kitchens and Clearview were able to hold on to the top spot and win the Ariat National Adult Medal on Saturday.

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Bennett Kitchens and Clearview © Sportfot

Kitchens, of Shaker Heights, OH, is in her first amateur year and rides in the 3’6” Amateur-Owner Hunters as well, but keeps Clearview as her dedicated equitation and USEF Show Jumping Talent Search mount.

“He’s pretty perfect,” said Kitchens said of the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood owned by Hannah Dodd.

Walking into the class Kitchens had two main goals: “To be consistent to the jumps and put in a solid round,” she said.

“Then going back in for the test, the plan was the be conservative,” continued Kitchens. “We had to counter canter a jump after a rollback, and I’ve practiced doing lead changes to the counter canter from the correct lead, so I just wanted to make sure that I used what I’d practiced.”

The pair were also second in the NHS/THIS Adult Medal and fourth in the Bruno Delgrange Palm Beach Adult Medal and plan to continue competing in these classes throughout the season.

Of the 17 entries in the South Ring, Catherine Cowie came in second with Point Luck, and Anna Koenig aboard Chin Chim VR rounded out the top three.

WEF 1 concludes on Sunday, January 16, with the $37,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic along with hunter championships such as the T&R Development Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under division.

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