An international list of competitors from 12 different countries took to the WEC Grand Arena on Saturday to contest the $75,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Grand Prix and the $10,000 WEC Ocala Futures Prix 1.30m-1.35m. Brazil’s FEI Level III course designer, Marina Azevedo designed the technical tracks for Saturday’s classes. Azevedo’s tracks included multiple combinations and bending lines for a thrilling day of equestrian sport.
Forty-three horse-and-rider combinations took to the WEC Grand Arena Saturday night to contest the $75,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Grand Prix under the lights. Marina Azevedo of Brazil designed the complex track that featured a tricky double combination that tested multiple riders throughout the night. Six entries managed clean first rounds, but only three jumped double clear, with Aaron Vale and Major snatching another grand prix win.
Australia’s Rowan Willis and his own Blue Movie (Chacco Blue x Showtime) were the second entry to secure a return to jump the short course in Saturday night’s class. Willis and the 15-year-old AES mare jumped a clean and smooth first round, stopping the clock at 78.177 seconds. Willis and Blue Movie returned for the jump-off, galloping from fence one to two in 12 strides. The pair took a tight inside turn after fence three, to roll to the double combination. Willis and Blue Movie flew through the rest of the course with forward distances to stop the clock at 40.955 seconds, which ultimately earned the duo second place in the $75,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Grand Prix.
Willis also earned a clean first-round on his second mount, Wellington Grey Goose. Willis and his own Wellington Grey Goose flowed through the first-round course, making it look easy, stopping the clock at 81.862 seconds. Willis returned for the jump-off, chasing his own time on Blue Movie. Willis and the 10-year-old Warmblood mare galloped from fence one to fence two in 12 strides, which allowed for a nice jump to fence three. The pair galloped through the rest of the course hugging the inside turns, to stop the clock at 43.891 seconds, to earn third.
The last double clear pair to enter the jump-off was Aaron Vale and Major, who have captured five Grand Prix wins at World Equestrian Center – Ocala. Vale and the 13-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding delivered a fast and smooth first round in 79.505 seconds, well under the time allowed of 83 seconds. “Major is an amazing horse. He is fast off the ground and over the fence,” said Vale.
Vale and Major (Carmargue x Pinot) were the second to last pair to return for the jump-off. After riding Prescott in the jump-off, Vale had a good idea about how the course rode. Vale and Major galloped from fence one to two in 11 strides, setting a fast pace for the rest of the course.
Vale was in it for the win, “I really took a flyer at three, where I made up a good amount of time. Even off that speed Major was still able to make a good turn back to the next jump. Then the combination came up on a nice gallop, where I could go inside [the gazebo] to the big oxer. I ended up catching the oxer going forward, so I had a ton of momentum going to the last fence. As I was galloping to the last fence, I had a pretty good idea that I had the class, so I had the option to slow down but I didn’t want to take him out of his rhythm. I figured I was just as likely to have the last fence down if I were to put another step in, so I just kept going and he kept it up.”
Vale and Major flew through the timers stopping the clock at 38.692 seconds, more than two seconds faster than second place finishers, Rowan Willis and Blue Movie. Aaron has a good luck charm that he carries with him during each competition, “When I go into the ring, I always have one of the Roberts crosses in my pocket. Tonight, I actually have two.”
An additional $5,000 was awarded to Callen Solem and Essenar Crixus, the fastest four-faulters of Saturday night’s $75,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Grand Prix. Solem and Essenar Crixus delivered a fast first round, rolling through the turns, with just one fence down to stop the clock at 78.660 seconds, well under the time allowed of 83 seconds, earning the pair the $5,000 prize.
The non-award winning entry that received the Luck of the Draw $5,000 prize was Holly Shepherd and CHS Krooze.
$75,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Grand Prix Results:
1. Major, Aaron Vale (USA), Don Stewart Sleepy P Ranch LLC: 0 | 0 | 38.692
2. Blue Movie, Rowan Willis (AUS), Rowan Willis: 0 | 0 | 40.955
3. Wellington Grey Goose, Rowan Willis (AUS), Rowan Willis: 0 | 0 | 43.891
4. Prescott, Aaron Vale (USA), Thinks Like a Horse: 0 | 4 | 42.297
5. Jack Straw, Camille Maddrix (USA), M&M Sporthorses: 0 | 8 | 44.916
6. Quatar, Jamie Taylor (USA), Jt Equine LLC: 0 | 8 | 46.759
7. ABC Quantum Cruise, Diego Bilbao (ESP), Wyndmont Inc.: 1 | 83.873
8. Essenar Crixus, Callan Solem (USA), Elan Farm: 4 | 78.660
9. Its The Senator 111, Peter Petschenig (AUT), Peter Petschenig: 4 | 79.744
10. Cinven CR, Bryn Rose Sadler (USA), Showcase 81, LLC: 4 | 79.911
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15-year-old Carlee McCutcheon & MTM Unexpected Triumph in the $10,000 WEC Ocala Futures Prix
Saturday afternoon’s $10,000 WEC Ocala Futures Prix saw a thrilling field of 32 horse-and-rider combinations striving for the win over a tricky course designed by Brazil’s Marina Azevedo. The track for the Futures Prix featured a double combination and a triple combination. Twelve entries managed clean first rounds but only five jumped double clear, with Carlee McCutcheon earning two double clear spots.
Fifteen-year-old Carlee McCutcheon from Aubrey, Texas set the pace early in the class with her first mount MTM Fortunate. McCutcheon and the 15-year-old Holsteiner gelding produced a clean and smooth first round, stopping the clock at 78.426 seconds with all rails up, qualifying the pair for the jump-off. “I thought that MTM Fortunate was amazing in the first round. He was really ready to jump clear and help me out,” said McCutcheon.
McCutcheon and MTM Fortunate (Cassini I x Lortina I) jumped off immediately, leaving out a stride in the last line to stop the clock at 30.817 seconds setting the pace for the rest of the class.
McCutcheon held the lead until Marcus Gruenthal and his own Infante SK took to the ring. Gruenthal and Infante SK earned the tenth-place finish in last week’s Future Prix. The pair delivered a clean first round, stopping the timers at 78.836 seconds. Gruenthal and the eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding advanced straight to the jump off, rolling from the double combination to the second to the last fence to stop the clock at 30.462 seconds, to eventually earn the second-place.
McCutcheon returned to the WEC Grand Arena to contest the $10,000 WEC Ocala Futures Prix on her second mount MTM Unexpected (Sir Shutterfly x Innovation). McCutcheon and the 10-year-old Warmblood gelding were ready to steal the top spot. The pair performed a flawless first round, jumping each fence with ease, to stop the first-round timers at 76.602 seconds. McCutcheon has owned MTM Unexpected since she was 12-years-old, “We bought MTM Unexpected when he was seven-years-old from MTM Farm. We have grown up together and learned so much from each other.”
McCutcheon and MTM Unexpected started the jump off strong, cruising from fence one to fence two in a tidy roll back. The pair galloped to the double combination, leaving both fences up. McCutcheon and MTM Unexpected flew to the large pink oxer, to roll through the last line in seven strides to stop the clock at 30.234 seconds, ultimately earning McCutcheon and MTM Unexpected the win.
“MTM Unexpected is much more of a speedy horse, so when I know he is jumping well, I go for it. My favorite part of jump-offs is being able to gallop. This course today, offered a lot of fun options and room to gallop which I really enjoyed,” stated McCutcheon.
The last double clean pair to contest McCutcheon and MTM Unexpected’s time was Damian Guthrie and Florence Hessen-Scher’s Gerry’s Jewels (Mersley Mon Capatain x Lily C). Guthrie and the 10-year-old Thoroughbred/Holsteiner mare started the jump-off with a rolling gallop and a tight inside turn from fence one to two. The pair soared through the rest of the course, stopping the jump-off clock at 30.568 seconds, earning the third-place finish in Saturday afternoon’s class.
$10,000 WEC Ocala Futures Prix Results:
1. MTM Unexpected, Carlee McCutcheon, Carlee McCutcheon: 0 | 0 | 30.234
2. Infante SK, Marcus Gruenthal, Marcus Gruenthal: 0 | 0 | 30.462
3. Gerry’s Jewels, Damian Guthrie, Florence Hessen-Scher: 0 | 0 | 30.568
4. MTM Fortunate, Carlee McCutcheon, Carlee McCutcheon: 0| 0 | 30.817
5. Emeraldo, Karl Beyer, Hannah Matts: 0 | 0 | 31.577
6. Hera-V, Sophia Studd, Sophia Studd: 0 | 4 | 29.528
7. Con Spirit, Nathalie Petschenig, Nathalie Petschenig: 0 | 4 | 30.997
8. Glamour Van De Kakebeek, Anne Bingler, Anne Bingler: 0 | 4 | 31.128
9. Canaan, Jenna Friedman, Oakridge Farm Performance Horses, LLC: 0 | 4 | 31.778
10. El Capone, Mindy Coretz, Mindy Coretz: 0 | 4 | 33.792
Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.