A shared victory for Ben Maher and Urico and Tiffany Foster on Victor was the highlight of the week at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida.
The pair won the $125,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 5 which was held in a “California Split” due to the large number of entries. The competition awarded two sets of placings, each with $125,000 distributed.
In what was the largest starting field in the history of the WEF Challenge Cup, 116 horses attempted the first round track, set by 2012 London Olympic course designer Bob Ellis. A total of 30 were successful, including the three Canadian entries of Foster riding Victor, Eric Lamaze aboard Zigali P S and Yann Candele with Showgirl.
All three would repeat their faultless form in the jump-off, but Foster showed the men how it was done, putting the pedal to the metal and slicing all the turns to stop the clock in 44.04 seconds. Twelve more horses would follow, with only 2012 Olympic team gold medalist Ben Maher of Great Britain posting a faster time of 43.44 to win Section A with Urico, and putting Foster in the top spot in Section B.
Owner Jane Clark’s horses had a fantastic day on Thursday with Urico and Cella having great rounds. As well as Urico’s win, Cella had one rail over the short course and finished seventh in Section B. To add to the success, Clark’s dressage horse, Wellnetta, earned an FEI Grand Prix 3* victory across the street at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival with US rider Katherine Bateson Chandler earlier in the day.
Although Clark could not be in Wellington for the day’s top finishes, Ben Maher was happy to be a part of the winning team. He explained that he has made some adjustments to how he rides and prepares Urico since last year, and the changes seem to be working for the best.
“Urico was fantastic today,” Maher said. “We spent a long time building him up since this time last year. I had a couple of accidents on him and now we really pinpoint him for certain classes. We don’t use him as much, but if we do it the right way, he is a great horse. It is looking like it pays off.”
In addition to the prize money in Thursday’s class, Maher earned a special $3,000 bonus as part of the SSG ‘Go Clean for the Green’ promotion for wearing his SSG ‘Digital’ Riding Gloves.
Section B winner Victor is a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Elmshorn x Grandeur) owned by the Ziegler family’s Artisan Farms. Artisan Farms also owns Lamaze’s mount, Zigali P S, who placed third in Section A, and are part of the Watermark Group that owns Candele’s mount, Showgirl, who was fourth in Section B.
“I have to give all the credit to Eric,” explained Foster, 29, following her victory. “Since last September, I don’t jump Victor at home anymore; only Eric rides him. He does all the work and I get all the glory!”
Foster has also been enjoying incredible success with her entire string of competition mounts, including the up-and-coming horses Melody des Hayettes Z and Brighton, all owned by Artisan Farms.
In section A, Reed Kessler (USA) and Kessler Show Stables’ Ligist was second with a time of 44.11 seconds, ahead of Lamaze in 44.93 seconds.
Beezie Madden (USA) and Cortes ‘C’ finished second in 44.79 in section B, with Wilton Porter (USA) and Sleepy P Ranch LLC’s Paloubet in third in 44.96.
Based on their success in the $125,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round V, Foster, Lamaze and Candele are all qualified for Saturday night’s $370,000 CSI5*-W World Cup Grand Prix, presented by Rolex.
Final Results: $125,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 5 Section A
1. URICO: 2001 KWPN gelding by Zandor Z x Fedor BEN MAHER (GBR), Jane F. Clark: 0/0/43.44
2. LIGIST: 2000 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Levantos II x Robin Z REED KESSLER (USA), Kessler Show Stables LLC: 0/0/44.11
3. ZIGALI P S: 2004 KWPN gelding by Kigali x Palfrenier ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Artisan Farms LLC: 0/0/44.93
4. QUIDAM’S CHERIE: 2005 Oldenburg mare by Quidam’s Rubin x Lifestyle CIAN O’CONNOR (IRL), Adena Springs: 0/0/46.02
5. UNEX CHAMBERLAIN Z: 2001 Zangersheide gelding by Chellano Z x Peter Pan TIM GREDLEY (GBR), Unex Competition Yard: 0/0/49.34
6. DYNAMO: 2003 BWP gelding by Skippy II x Lys de Darmen MEAGAN NUSZ (USA), Amalaya Investments: 0/0/50.89
7. VINDICAT W: 2002 KWPN gelding by Guidam x Libero H JESSICA SPRINGSTEEN (USA), Stone Hill Farm: 0/4/44.25
8. ZARA LEANDRA: 2004 KWPN mare by Metropole x Ahorn PABLO BARRIOS (VEN), ZL Group, Inc: 0/4/45.64
9. CEDRIC: 1998 Holsteiner gelding by Chambertin x Carolus Z LAURA KRAUT (USA), Cherry Knoll Farm, Inc: 0/4/48.42
10. BLUE ANGEL: 2002 AES mare by Luidam x Ascendant KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Robin Parsky: 0/4/49.94
11. CHILL R Z: 2003 Zangersheide stallion by Chellano Z x A Lucky One CHARLIE JAYNE (USA), Alex Jayne and Maura Thatcher: 0/4/54.63
12. TIC-TAC: 2003 Belgian Sport Horse stallion by Clinton x Darco LESLIE HOWARD (USA), Jane Clark: 0/4/55.74
Final Results: $125,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 5 Section B
1. VICTOR: 2002 KWPN gelding by Elmshorn x Grandeur TIFFANY FOSTER (CAN), Artisan Farms LLC & Torrey Pines: 0/0/44.04
2. CORTES ‘C': 2002 BWP gelding by Randel Z x Darco BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Abigail Wexner: 0/0/44.79
3. PALOUBET: 2001 Selle Francais gelding by Baloubet Du Rouet x Voltaire WILTON PORTER (USA), Sleepy P Ranch LLC: 0/0/44.96
4. SHOWGIRL: 2000 Selle Francais mare by Gold De Becourt x Elf III YANN CANDELE (CAN), The Watermark Group: 0/0/47.36
5. NICE DE PRISSEY: 2001 Selle Francais stallion by Rosire x Amarpour BRIANNE GOUTAL (USA), Remarkable Farms LP: 0/0/50.67
6. FIFTY FIFTY 111: 2005 BWP mare by Action Breaker x Major de la Cour ANDRES RODRIGUEZ (VEN), Arao Enterprises LLC: 0/0/53.00
7. CELLA: 2002 BWP mare by Cento x Chin Chin BEN MAHER (GBR) Jane F. Clark: 0/4/44.40
8. SPECIAL LUX: 2004 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Lux Z x Coille Mor Hill JONATHAN MCCREA (USA), Candy Tribble: 0/4/48.26
9. FLAMING STAR: 1999 AES gelding by Fairman x Unknown CHARLIE JACOBS (USA), CMJ Sporthorse LLC: 0/4/49.32
10. URSULA XII: 2001 Scottish Sport Horse mare by Ahorn x Papageno SCOTT BRASH (GBR), Lady Harris & Lady Kirkham: 0/4/54.33
11. MIC MAC DU TILLARD: 2000 Selle Francais mare by Cruising x Galoubet A DAVID WILL (GER), Bernadette LeJeune: 0/4/55.26
12. SANCHA LS: 2003 SLS mare by Chin Chin x Polydor DANIEL BLUMAN (COL), Daniel Bluman: 0/8/45.47