Wilmington, Ohio – It was a race to the finish in the $10,000 Welcome Stake sponsored by Reist Arena Groomers Thursday evening at World Equestrian Center – Wilmington. Show jumping action of Winter Classic 15 was in full force as 15 horse-and-athlete combinations vied for the win over international course designer Michael Pegg’s (CAN) tracks. In a battle against recent class winners, it was Devin Milan (USA) and Conquest (Colestus x Excellenta C) who proved unbeatable.
Milan entered third to last to go with both the first and second place finishers from last weeks grand prix to follow, Izzy Beisel (USA) and Sam Pegg (CAN). Beisel posted an unfortunate four faults, which left Pegg to out ride Milan.
“The course suited me, but I was nervous about the new pink one-stride away from the gate. New jumps with a greener horse can be an issue,” laughed Milan. “I was trying to really focus on the first round first. When I thought about the jump-off, I thought I could go inside and slice the GGT vertical. That is a newer jump this week for my horse personally, so I didn’t want to risk jumping at an angle. I thought it was safer to go around and my horse was game for it. I wanted to go fast, and my horse knew that we were supposed to go fast, so I went with it!”
Milan, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, piloted Garo Kazan’s seven-year-old Zangersheide gelding, Conquest, to a confident double clear. Having developed a trusting partnership since his five-year-old year, the young professional galloped to the last fence in the short course for a time of 36.021 seconds and the win.
“We have had Conquest aka Hot Dog since he was five. He is seven now and will be turning eight this year. The person that we bought him from didn’t think that he had any scope and Garo [Kazan] thought differently! It has been a bit of a challenge. He has a good brain, but he is finally starting to really trust me. When I walk into the ring, he is listening and waiting for me,” Milan spoke highly of her talented mount.
Pegg, of Ten Sixty Stables in Uxbridge, Ontario, was the final entry to go aboard his quickest mount, Gin Tonic 158 (Graf Top x Sanjador).
The ten-year-old Hanoverian gelding was his usual enthusiastic self as he produced an effortless double clear, though the pair was just shy of Milan’s time and posted 36.449 seconds ultimately earning second place.
Richard Rinehart (USA) of Rinehart Farm in Westfield, Indiana, made a victorious return to the Standlee Sanctuary arena aboard Captain America 10 (Contendro). The nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding returned in top form with Rinehart in the irons and landed through the timers in 36.753 seconds to round out the podium.
$10,000 Reist Arena Groomers Welcome Stake:
1 Conquest, Devin Milan, Garo Kazan | 0 | 36.021
2 Gin Tonic 158, Sam Pegg, Ten Sixty Stables | 0 | 36.449
3 Captain America 10, Richard Rinehart, Catherine Rinehart | 0 | 36.753
4 Vegas H, Izzy Beisel, David Beisel | 0 | 38.367
5 Iconic, Lani Hutchison, Lani Hutchison | 0 | 38.65
6 Oaks Cassanova, Samuel Overton, Samuel Overton | 0 | 41.387
7 Formidable Diamant, Sam Pegg, Phyllis Harlow | 4 | 40.38
8 Kinsella, Charlotte Clark, Charlotte Clark | 4 | 40.668
9 Gothan, Eric Sassmannshausen, Gotham Group | 2 | 80.949
10 Diaz Barbotiere, Izzy Beisel, Izzy Beisel | 4 | 66.178
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Results can be found at wec.net.
All horse show images are provided by Winslow Photography and can be purchased onsite at WEC – Wilmington or online through their website.