Valentine’s Day spirit filled the World Equestrian Center today as horses and riders alike dressed up for the occasion. Hues of red and pink were seen all across the show grounds, even in this evening’s $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35 m sponsored by CWD. The class was a fantastic display of equestrian sport, with Ireland’s David O’Brien and Spy Coast Farm’s Kir Royal SCF (Amaretto D Arco x Werly Chin de Muze) using an impressive inside turn after the first fence in the jump off to save valuable time and secure the win.
Tonight’s course for the $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35 m sponsored by CWD was designed by Keith J. Bollotte, a course designer with more than thirty years of experience in the industry. The course began at the top of the ring on an oxer-to-vertical line heading home that bent to an oxer on the diagonal headed toward the ingate. Entries looped back past the ingate, up a vertical on the rail, then up an oxer-to-vertical line on the diagonal. From there, entries jumped a vertical at the top of the ring, then continued down the diagonal over an oxer and then over a combination. Entries rounded the corner, then turned back to jump a single vertical that led to a triple combination up the rail. To finish, entries rounded the top of the arena and jumped an oxer on the diagonal heading home.
At the top of the order of go was Megan Bash aboard Cleveland Equestrian’s Dayla 6 (Ogano Sitte x Layla). The pair placed third in the $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.30 m at WEC just four weeks ago, and looked ready to take on the class again. The pair sped through the first round, jumping clear in a time of 67.942 seconds, well under the time allowed of 72 seconds. Bash and Dayla 6 continued straight to the jump off of the Table II event. The jump off began over an oxer on the diagonal in the center of the ring heading toward the ingate, then rolled back to the CWD vertical on the diagonal heading back up the ring. Entries then jumped the vertical at the top of the ring and continued down the diagonal over the oxer and the combination. To finish, entries galloped past the ingate and jumped the vertical heading up the arena on the rail. Bash and Dayla 6 were careful and precise, jumping the short course clear in a time of 33.240, setting a tough time to beat for the remaining entries.
Bash and Dayla 6 held their lead for a good deal of the class, but David O’Brien and his mount, Kir Royal SCF, were up to the challenge. O’Brien and Kir Royal SCF have a great rapport and have earned many victories together, including the FEI $35,000 Power & Speed Stake 1.45 m at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in October. O’Brien and Kir Royal SCF were slightly more conservative in the first round, jumping clear in a time of 70.164 seconds. The pair continued to the jump off, landing and barely taking one stride after the first oxer before they had rolled back for the next fence. This incredibly skilled turn shaved crucial seconds off of the pair’s time, allowing them to concentrate on riding their track and jumping a clear round. O’Brien and Kir Royal SCF did just that, crossing the timers at 31.266 seconds, sending them right to the top of the leader board.
Last in the order of go, Bash returned aboard Richard Cheska’s Fronsac de Beaufort (Qody de Saint-Aubert x Fidji de Breve). The scopey Fronsac de Beaufort cleared the 1.35 m fences with plenty of room to spare. Bash and Fronsac de Beaufort followed O’Brien’s lead, taking a more conservative approach to the first round, jumping clear in a time of 71.849. The pair continued to the jump off with the same impressive height over the fences, however Bash did not attempt O’Brien’s inside turn after jump one and stayed out before rolling back to the second fence, which cost a few pivotal seconds. The pair jumped a clear round in 34.924 seconds, landing them in third place.
We caught up with David O’Brian, head young horse trainer at Spy Coast Farm, after the class to chat about his ride aboard Kir Royal SCF. “[Kir Royal SCF] is a nine year old horse that we bred at Spy Coast Farm ourselves. His full brother is actually at the Nations Cup show in Florida this weekend. Kir Royal SCF is probably one of my easiest in the barn to ride. He’s very willing and quick against the clock. I could go and ride him in the Grand Prix and my boss can ride him the next day. He’s one of those. I can trust him,” O’Brien explained about his mount. When asked about his impressive turn in the jump off, O’Brien replied, “When I walked the course I picked that I’d do the inside line to the first jump, just to make the turn back easier. I was lucky enough, with the way that my horse jumped across the jump, that he landed moving to the next jump. So everything just moved forward and we got there.” O’Brien has partnered with Kir Royal SCF throughout the vast majority of his training and has had great successes in FEI classes with him. O’Brien plans to do more of the FEI classes with Kir Royal SCF this Summer, and is using classes like this evening’s Welcome Stake as preparation.
$5,000 Welcome Stakes 1.35 m Results
- Kir Royal SCF, David O’Brien – 0 | 0 | 31.266
- Dayla 6, Megan Bash – 0 | 0 | 33.240
- Fronsac de Beaufort, Megan Bash – 0 | 0 | 34.924
- Catch A Star HSS, Kevin McCarthy – 4 | 67.712
- Hilma, Sam Pegg – 4 | 67.801
- Lazuli II SCF – Jennifer Waxman – 4 | 70.104
- Quincey, Wilhelmina Horzepa – 8 | 67.360
- In Private, Lindsay Lyden – 8 | 70.538
- Davide, Adam Sklansky – 11 | 78.450