Germany’s Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum rode to an exciting one-two finish on Thursday afternoon in the $32,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 12 at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival.
Michaels-Beerbaum topped the class aboard Cantano and finished second riding Checkmate 4, both owned by Octavia Farms LLC.
Other wins for the day went to Johannes Ehning and Cayenne 162 in the $32,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Classic and Darrin Dlin and Janou in the $10,000 Adequan 5-Year-Old Young Jumper Final. In the hunters, Hayley Barnhill and Surfs Up were presented championship honors in the Performance Working Hunter 3’3″ division.
The final round of the $32,000 WEF Challenge Cup Series featured 45 horse and rider combinations. Ireland’s Alan Wade designed the course, and 11 went clear to advance to the tie breaking jump-off. The challenging track for the short course saw only four entries jump without fault.
First to go, Egypt’s Nayel Nassar and Raging Bull Vangelis S set the pace with the first clear round in 49.53 seconds and finished in third place overall. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Checkmate 4 were next to jump clear and took the lead in 47.67 seconds, eventually finishing second. Great Britain’s David McPherson also cleared the course aboard his own Silver Exchange II and his time of 55.67 seconds placed fourth.
Michaels-Beerbaum was last to go with her second mount Cantano and beat her own time in 47.34 seconds to take the lead once more. Cantano earned the first place prize, placing Checkmate in second.
Checkmate 4, a 17-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Contender x Pik Bube II) has earned many big wins as a longtime partner for Michaels-Beerbaum. Cantano, a 12-year-old Holsteiner stallion (Cascavelle x Acord), is a newer mount that she earned her first win with just two weeks ago. Although the two horses are at very different levels of experience in their careers, both had the guidance of a great rider to place them at the top.
Commenting on her success, Michaels-Beerbaum said: “This is a great honor here amongst the best riders in America and a lot of the best in the world. To be first and second in a WEF like this is just a highlight, absolutely, of my circuit here. I am really proud of both my horses. Checkmate is 17 years old, which is not young, as everybody knows. Cantano is a new mount for me since the end of last year and he had another win here, so this was just another addition to his successes here. This is the first time I won with a really fast jump-off with him. The other day I won with being the only clear round in the 1.50m. All of it was just a lot of highlights for me and I am really excited about this.”
Already in the lead aboard Checkmate, Michaels-Beerbaum was surprised that she was able to beat that time, not knowing how fast Cantano could go with their little experience together. She explained, “I went fast in a couple of classes early on in the circuit and he was third in one grand prix and fourth in another WEF, but I kind of thought that I would try for second place to be honest. I didn’t really think that I would be so much faster on him, but I didn’t know his speed and he really was on it. When I looked up at the timers I was even a little bit surprised. It was hard to measure exactly how fast I was going or how fast that horse is.”
“I think Cantano has a lot of ground speed,” she noted. “Checkmate is really difficult on right hand turns, and the jump-off had quite a few right hand turns, so I couldn’t risk too much on those. That is maybe where he caught Checkmate a little bit.”
On getting getting to know Cantano better this winter, Michaels-Beerbaum acknowledged, “He has scope and heart and everything. The only thing I struggled with was the rideability, which seems to be a lot better now. This circuit is great for things like that. Bringing along a young horse like Bella Donna. I have another mare, my eight-year-old Malou, who jumped two clear rounds in the WEF last week, so I was able to bring her up from the 1.30m to the 1.50m here on this circuit. It is wonderful for young horses and it is wonderful for getting to know your horse.”
Michaels-Beerbaum will compete this Saturday with her promising young horse Bella Donna in Saturday night’s $500,000 FTI Consulting Finale Grand Prix, CSI 5*. That mare, along with Checkmate 4, have both been named to the short list for Germany’s show jumping team for this summer’s Olympic Games in London. Michaels-Beerbaum has high hopes for the summer and looks forward to a great experience with the mare on Saturday night.
• Germany’s Johannes Ehning had a great day in Wellington earning both the first and fifth place prizes in the $32,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Classic. Fifty-one entries showed over the speed course with 14 clear rounds.
Ehning took the winner’s share with Winley Farm’s Cayenne 162 with the fastest clear round in 58.67 seconds. Reed Kessler (USA) finished second with Onisha in 59 seconds flat, and Mario Deslauriers (USA) and Jane F. Clark’s Vicomte D placed third in 61.40 seconds.
Fourth place went to Australia’s Matt Williams and Bolero Van’t Heike with a time of 61.99 seconds. Ehning also earned the fifth place prize aboard Oscar Du Rozel, owned by Equestrian Sport GMBH, stopping the clock in 62.56 seconds.
Ehning’s winning mount, Cayenne 162, is a nine-year-old Westphalian mare by Marco Kutscher’s famous stallion Cornet Obolensky, and her damsire is Gonfaron. Ehning has had the mare for three years, and explained that she is very talented, but can be difficult to ride.
“Cayenne is a really special mare; the difficult thing with her is to ride the course,” Ehning aid. “She is really hot blooded and a little bit strange to ride, but she has a super mind and she is really a fighter.”
Oscar Du Rozel is a ten-year-old Selle Francais stallion by Dollar Du Murier x Narcos II. As challenging as Cayenne can be, Ehning explained that Oscar is the complete opposite.
“He is good to ride; he is super relaxed in the head. He is the other side from Cayenne. He is also a fighter for sure, but he is really simple to ride. You can put a kid on him and he is super easy.”
Ehning was a part of Germany’s winning team in the FEI Nations Cup presented by G&C Farm during week eight of the FTI WEF. He acknowledged that as the main reason for coming to compete in Wellington this year, but has also been here two years before.
• Canada’s Darrin Dlin guided Janou, owned by Susan Grange, to the championship in the $10,000 Adequan 5-Year-Old Young Jumper Final early on Thursday morning. Janou, a five-year-old Canadian Sport Horse mare, is by the stallion For Pleasure out of the Polydox mare Bequia. Janou is home-bred, born and raised at Grange’s Lothlorien Farm in Cheltenham, Ontario, Canada.
Dlin and Janou showed throughout the FTI WEF circuit this year, and made great improvement each week. Janou progressed from an eighth place finish in the Adequan 5-Year-Old Young Jumpers during week three, then moved up to a fourth place finish in week five, placed second during week ten, and finally won the division’s final Classic today.
Forty-six entries showed in the Adequan 5-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic, which was held as the final for the series during the FTI WEF circuit. Twenty-two went clear to jump-off, and Dlin and Janou completed the fastest of 11 double clear rounds. The top three competitors were separated by just tenths of a second. Dlin and Janou stopped the clocked in 36.108 seconds for the win. Pablo Barrios and Balou, owned by Maria Barrios, finished in second with their time of 36.459 seconds. Nathalie Mathers and Caramel finished in 36.979 seconds earning the third place prize.
Janou will go home now for a break. She will begin showing again in Canada over the summer. Dlin, who has his own business in Calgary with his wife, rides for Grange when they meet up at horse shows. He will ride the mare again when their paths cross at Spruce Meadows later this year.
Final Results: $32,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 12
1. CANTANO: 2000 Holsteiner stallion by Cascavelle x Acord MEREDITH MICHAELS-BEERBAUM (GER), Octavia Farms LLC: 0/0/47.34
2. CHECKMATE 4: 1995 Hanoverian gelding by Contender x Pik Bube II MEREDITH MICHAELS-BEERBAUM (GER), Octavia Farms LLC: 0/0/47.67
3. RAGING BULL VANGELLIS S: 1998 BWP stallion by Nonstop x Feinschnitt I Van De Richter NAYEL NASSAR (EGY), Nayel Nassar: 0/0/49.53
4. SILVER EXCHANGE II: 2001 Oldenburg gelding by Landjunge x Lavallo DAVID MCPHERSON (GBR), David McPherson: 0/0/55.67
5. BIG STAR: 2003 KWPN stallion by Quick Star x Nimmerdor NICK SKELTON (GBR), Beverly and Gary Widdowson: 0/4/45.94
6. ROYCE: 2004 Oldenburg stallion by Café au lait x Grandilot MARGIE ENGLE (USA), Elm Rock LLC: 0/4/50.12
7. WATCH ME VD MANGELAAR: 2003 KWPN gelding by Heartbreaker x Wolfgang MATT WILLIAMS (AUS), Samantha Tuerk: 0/4/50.46
8. SANDOR DE LA POMME: 2002 SBS gelding by Vigo D’arsouilles x Darco DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), The Wannahave Group: 0/8/52.28
9. HUNTER’S SCENDIX: 2003 Hanoverian stallion by Stakkato x Dinar ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Torrey Pine Stables & LVS Hunters: 0/8/52.60
10. ATTICUS: 2003 Holsteiner stallion by Colman x Contender SAER COULTER (USA), Copernicus Stables LLC: 0/8/57.38
11. KEC ALLIGATOR ALLEY: 2002 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Aldatus Z x Clover Hill CIAN O’CONNOR (IRL), Sinead & Oonagh Kennedy: 0/11/64.93
12. LA BOOM: 1999 Oldenburg gelding by Last Liberty x Libris LISA CARLESEN (CAN), La Boom Syndicate: 1/87.82
Final Results: $32,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Classic FEI
1. CAYENNE 162: 2003 Westphalian mare by Cornet Obolensky x Gonfaron JOHANNES EHNING (GER), Winley Farm LLC: 0/58.67
2. ONISHA: 1999 Holsteiner mare by Caretino x Athlet Z REED KESSLER (USA), Reed Kessler: 0/59.00
3. VICOMTE D: 1998 BWP gelding by Flamenco Desemilly x Randell Z MARIO DESLAURIERS (USA), Jane F. Clark: 0/61.40
4. BOLERO VAN’T HEIKE: 2001 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Polidiktus Vd Helle x Major De La Cour MATT WILLIAMS (AUS), Matt Williams: 0/61.99
5. OSCAR DU ROZEL: 2002 Selle Francais stallion by Dollar Du Murier x Narcos II JOHANNES EHNING (GER), Equestrian Sports GmbH & Co.KG: 0/62.56
6. ULTIMO: 2001 KWPN gelding by Marlon x Laroche HECTOR FLORENTINO (DOM), Stransky’s Mission Farm: 0/63.90
7. LEONITAS: 2001 stallion by Leone x Zeus DAVID MCPHERSON (GBR), David McPerson & M/M Mutter: 0/65.83
8. GLORY DAYS: 2001 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Cardento 933 x Diamond Serpent DANIEL ZETTERMAN (SWE), Springfield Showjumpers: 0/67.77
9. CHE GUEVARA 17: 2001 Holsteiner stallion by Concept x Rebel Z JORG OPPERMANN (GER), Heinz Eufinger: 0/68.09
10. QUIRINUS: 2002 Holsteiner gelding by Quantum x Cornetto DANIEL ZETTERMAN (SWE), Familien Kinneson: 0/70.73
11. CARMENA Z: 2000 Zangersheide stallion by Carthago Z x Irco Mena SAER COULTER (USA), Copernicus Stables, LLC: 0/71.37
12. VANDAVID: 2002 KWPN stallion by Madison x Voltaire CATHERINE PASMORE (USA), Pasmore Stables: 0/71.50