Lauren Hester and Happy Feet B Top the $25,000 World Equestrian Center Grand Prix
Spectators packed the Sanctuary Arena grandstands tonight to watch thrilling jumper action in both the $25,000 World Equestrian Center Grand Prix and the $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m. Nearly thirty horses took to the ring between the two classes, all contesting courses designed by Tucker Williams of Ocala, Florida. Though the courses for the two classes differed slightly, both included a triple bar, three one-stride combinations, forward lines and jump offs that rewarded those who focused on pace.
$25,000 World Equestrian Center Grand Prix
The $25,000 WEC Grand Prix saw fifteen entries vying for the win in the class tonight. Competition was fierce with eight entries advancing to the jump off and five managing double clear rounds, but it was Lauren Hester and Hester Equestrian LLC’s Happy Feet B (Zacherov x Daronka) that took home the lion’s share of the prize money, a stunning Horseware cooler and prizes from World Equestrian Center sponsors. Happy Feet B’s groom also received the Groom’s Award tonight for the mare’s stunning turnout, which included $100 cash and a $50 World Equestrian Center gift card.
The pace setters in the class were Thursday’s $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35m winners David Beisel and his own Essince W (Chacco Blue x Rossan). The pair returned to the Sanctuary Arena tonight in hopes of another victory. Beisel and the ten year old KWPN gelding jumped a clear first round with ease, leaving all rails up in 76.220 seconds, well under the time allowed of 82 seconds. The pair returned later in the class for the jump off, setting the pace again at a quick 36.659 seconds.
Beisel was on his game tonight, also jumping double clear aboard Maarten Huygen’s Angelo (Conthargos x Grand Ronja). Beisel and Angelo finished fifth in Thursday’s Welcome Stake, preparing them well for tonight’s class. The pair were quick in the first round, jumping clear in a time of 73.332 seconds. Beisel and the eight year old Mecklenburg gelding returned later for the jump off, navigating a second clear round in 37.094 seconds.
Lauren Hester and Hester Equestrian LLC’s Happy Feet B (Zacherov x Daronka) rounded out the bottom of the order in the Grand Prix. The pair took first place in the $25,000 Brownland Grand Prix in September and were determined to take another win tonight. They found a clear first round with ease in a time of 73.819 seconds, then returned in the jump off near the bottom of the order. Hester and the seven year old Dutch Warmblood mare were supercharged for the jump off, blazing through the short course at 34.702 seconds and leaving all the rails up to capture the win in the class and moving Beisel to a respectable second and third place.
Hester took a moment to chat with us ringside after her win, “So on my first two rides, which are my main two horses, I thought ‘Oh they’re going to get around!’ but then I had a bogey jump at 12. So I was like ‘If I have that down again I am going to be really mad.’ Happy Feet B jumped that clear and I was like ‘Oh gosh the 6 is going to be really easy.’ She is super careful. This is her third Grand Prix and her second win.”
When asked about Happy Feet B’s personality, Hester responded, “She has quite the personality. I had to send her away for the Winter because I couldn’t get her to go around the ring. She came back to me the 1st of July and she has been trucking around ever since. She has an attitude and has to back into the arena. I think having a personality is what makes the best horses. She is super sweet, I just think the best ones fight.”
$25,000 World Equestrian Center Grand Prix Results
- Happy Feet B, Lauren Hester – 0 | 0 | 34.702
- Essince W, David Beisel – 0 | 0 | 36.659
- Angelo, David Beisel – 0 | 0 | 37.094
- Monte Cristo VD Withoeve, Michelle Pia – 0 | 0 | 38.312
- Cicero’s Electric, Michelle Pia – 0 | 0 | 38.492
- Colour Your Day, Derek Braun – 0 | 5 | 48.043
- Bipper Du Libaire, David Beisel – 0 | 8 | 40.463
- Djinn du-Ry Ternel, Richard Cheska – 0 | 8 | 45.491
- Cooper 166, Lauren Hester – 4 | 75.901
- Lorstakov, Lauren Hester – 4 | 77.123
$7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m
David Beisel was also on his A-game in the $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m sponsored by Voltaire Design, taking the blue in the class aboard Harlow Investment Enterprises, LLC’s For Sunday (For Pleasure x Patoile T.H.). The pair took first place in the $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m at World Equestrian Center just one month ago and came back tonight on form for the win. Beisel and the nine year old Dutch Warmblood mare went near the top of the order, jumping a clear first round in 69.318 seconds, well under the time allowed of 81 seconds. The pair continued straight to the jump off of the Table II 2b event, picking up even more pace and speeding through the timers at 33.757 seconds, a time which would prove untouchable for the remainder of the class.
Hot on Beisel and For Sunday’s trail was Lauren DiTallo and Scott Durchslag’s Clash II Heldenlaan Z (Clinton x Lady Lightning Z). The pair often take top placings in 1.30m classes, preparing them well for tonight’s Futures Prix. DiTallo and the ten year old Zangersheide stallion took a more conservative approach in the first round to ensure all rails were left up in a time of 76.161 seconds. The pair continued straight to the jump off, turning tight and galloping forward. DiTallo and Clash II Heldenlaan Z crossed the timers at 35.444 seconds, sliding into second place.
Beisel took a few minutes to chat with us after the awards presentation, “For Sunday I know quite well. She’s nine and I’ve been riding her since she was four. In the first line going away it felt like it rode a little long, especially for my little horse. The rest of the course went really well. When I saw her time in the first round it reminded me of how fast of a horse she is, which was good for me because then I remembered she knows how to go really fast. I wanted to turn back tight to number 3 in the jump off, but it came up a little slower than I wanted so I did seven strides instead of six like I did in the first round. I would have been asking for trouble to do six coming in, and in the back of my head I knew that she is really fast even if I add a step somewhere. The rest she just kind of kept cruising. As soon she lands she is going. She was really on her game, so that was fun.”
Beisel also commented on his second mount in the class Maximus V/D Molendreef, “The other horse I rode for Laura Stern. He is an 8 year old and I just got to ride him earlier this week after riding him about a month ago. He jumped beautifully other than one rail. Maybe it was a green mistake, maybe it was us not knowing each other. Hopefully next week we will be double clear.”
Beisel also added, “Thank you to the Harlows and Laura Stern for letting me ride their horses.”
$7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m Results
- For Sunday, David Beisel – 0 | 0 |
- Clash II Heldenlaan Z, Lauren DiTallo – 0 | 0 |
- Gala, Richard Rinehart – 0 | 0 |
- Fronsac de Beaufort, Samantha Cooper – 0 | 0 |
- Galway Bay Pandora, Alliy Moyer – 0 | 4 |
- Don Gerhard, Madeline Dunlap – 0 | 8 |
- Mach 5, Dana Wille – 4 | 68.771
- Maximus V/D Molendreef, David Beisel – 4 | 71.480
- Leonard van Dorperheide, Richard Rinehart – 4 | 73.460
- Apollo Z, Lauren DiTallo – 4 | 75.138
Photos courtesy of Winslow Photography.