The Sanctuary was packed with thrilling jumper action in both the $25,000 WEC Grand Prix and the $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30 m sponsored by Voltaire. The courses for both of tonight’s classes were designed by Keith J. Bollotte, and both featured a crowd pleasing triple bar and two combinations. The Grand Prix saw an incredible win by Kevin McCarthy as he and Catch A Star HSS (Sheraton x Tolinda) stole the blue near the end of the class, and the Futures Prix saw an exciting win for Olivia Epple aboard LivHaven Stables LLC’s Itile Horta (Didas de L’esperance x Putile Of Colors).
$25,000 WEC Grand Prix
The Irish lads dominated tonight, taking first and second place in the $25,000 WEC Grand Prix with Kevin McCarthy capturing the win late in the jump off aboard his own Catch A Star HSS, beating David O’Brien by just fractions of a second. McCarthy and Catch A Star HSS have a great rapport, earning countless first place finishes together including a win in the $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35 m in Week 4 of the Winter Series of the Midwest and a win in the $25,000 WEC Grand Prix at WEC in December. McCarthy’s impressive riding tonight began in the first round of the class, where he and Catch A Star HSS blazed around the course, jumping clean with a time of 78.853 seconds, five whole seconds under the time allowed of 84 seconds.
Five more entries joined McCarthy in the jump off, including fellow Irishman David O’Brien aboard Cleveland Equestrian’s Pourkoipa Fontaine (Royal Bravour x Iberiade D’Hublais). O’Brien was fresh off of a win earlier this week in the $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35 m aboard Kir Royal SCF (Amaretto D Arco x Werly Chin de Muze) and was prepared to give tonight’s class his all. O’Brien and Pourkoipa Fontaine jumped a clean first round in a time of 80.514 seconds, and were first to return for the jump off. The pair were quick, setting a brisk pace with a clear round and a time to beat of 40.370.
McCarthy and Catch A Star HSS rode near the end of the jump off, with O’Brien still atop the leader board. The pair rode a thoughtful, incredibly fast round taking several inside turn options. McCarthy and Catch A Star HSS crossed the timers at 39.050 seconds, just beating O’Brien and Pourkoipa Fontaine for the win in the class.
We spoke with Kevin McCarthy after his win in the $25,000 WEC Grand Prix and he shared his strategy for tonights class. McCarthy said, “First and foremost I want to give a huge thank you to Mr. Roberts, because I wasn’t meant to be here this week. We had truck issues, and the staff here and himself went above and beyond to get me back on the road. So now we’ll be back out of here on Monday, but it wasn’t the worst place to be for the week! But, I must say, what he did is above and beyond what I ever expected any gentleman to do for someone.” Focusing on his ride in the $25,000 WEC Grand Prix, McCarthy was ecstatic, “My mare jumped great. It was a fast jump off. Great course designing all week. I must say it’s a great course when you come out on top!” We also asked McCarthy about the shirt he and Keely O’Hara had given Chris Rheinheimer, the friendly face of the Jumper ring ingate, to wear today. “Today is ‘St. Practice Day’. We have our pub (McCarthy’s Irish Pub) in Cazenovia, New York. As we all know, St. Patrick’s Day is the 17th of March, so we were doing a month beforehand ‘St. Practice Day’ to get all of our regulars in good form. We had some t-shirts, and Chris is wearing one of them for us. We were meant to be at home working and filling pints, but this is better fun.” For his win, McCarthy received a prize pack from Horse First and a $100 Dandy Products gift certificate, while girlfriend/groom Keely O’Hara received the Groom’s Award for Catch A Star HSS’s stunning turnout, which included $100 cash and a $50 WEC Gift Card.
Watch Kevin McCarthy & Catch A Star HSS’s winning round courtesy of ShowNet
$25,000 WEC Grand Prix Results
- Catch A Star HSS, Kevin McCarthy – 0 | 0 | 39.050
- Pourkoipa Fontaine, David O’Brien – 0 | 0 | 40.370
- In Private, Lindsay Lyden – 0 | 0 | 43.521
- Kir Royal SCF, David O’Brien – 0 | 4 | 39.390
- Kinsella, Charlotte Clark – 0 | 8 | 42.013
- Hilma, Sam Pegg – 0 | 18 | 63.186
- Lazuli II SCF, Jennifer Waxman – 4 | 80.588
- Fronsac de Beaufort, Megan Bash – 4 | 83.619
- Quincey, Wilhelmina Horzepa – 8 | 75.445
- Davide, Adam Sklansky – 16 | 77.496
$7,500 Futures Prix 1.30 m
The $7,500 Futures Prix sponsored by Voltaire was equally as thrilling with two of the youngest riders in the class, Olivia Epple and Logan Taylor, taking first and second place. Olivia Epple rode the first double clear round of the Table II event aboard LivHaven Stables LLC’s Itile Horta (Didas de L’esperance x Putile Of Colors). The pair jumped a speedy, clear first round in a time of 78.216 seconds, about six seconds under the time allowed of 84 seconds. The pair continued straight to the jump off, executing expert inside turns that shaved crucial seconds off of their time. The pair stopped the clock at a blistering 36.034 seconds with another clear round.
Logan Taylor rode near the end of the class aboard REV Media Marketing, LLC’s With A Little Help Sir (Sir Shutterfly x Hauptstutbuch Lissy). With A Little Help Sir has done well previously with David Beisel, taking the win in the $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30 m during the WEC Fall Series. Taylor and With A Little Help Sir rode a quick first round, jumping clear in a time of 76.000 seconds, indicating that they would, quite literally, be giving Epple and Itile Horta a run for their money in the jump off. Taylor and With A Little Help Sir continued straight to the jump off, keeping their speed from the first round. However, the pair could not beat Epple and Itile Horta’s time, crossing the timers at 38.520 seconds and securing the second place spot.
We caught up with a very excited seventeen year old Olivia Epple of Canton, Georgia after her win in the $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30 m to chat about her ride. “We haven’t been in the 1.30 m that long,” Epple noted, “But, on this horse, I feel like I can jump anything in the world. We just had fun today. I loved these courses and all of the connecting lines. She was just feeling really good, so I was like ‘I might just turn her a little loose and run around like her tail is on fire!’ She’s eleven years old. I’ve had her for a couple months, so it’s a pretty new partnership. She’s very forward thinking and she’ll jump anything. She’s the horse of a lifetime.”
Watch Olivia Epple & Itile Horta’s winning round courtesy of ShowNet
$7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m Results
- Itile Horta, Olivia Epple – 0 | 0 | 36.034
- With A Little Help Sir, Logan Taylor – 0 | 0 | 38.520
- Gwen MC 1, Kevin McCarthy – 0 | 0 | 39.961
- Cornetta KF, Charlotte Clark – 0 | 0 | 41.623
- Fardento, Adam Sklansky – 0 | 4 | 40.109
- Oskar253, Shoshana Altschuler – 0 | 4 | 43.107
- Conafino Z, Michelle Mahoney – 3 | 86.799
- Goldfish, Melissa Donnelly – 4 | 78.579
- Corini, Heather Steinman – 4 | 81.170
- Valegro DHZ, Shoshana Altschuler – 6 | 85.562
Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.