Three-Peat for Jill Gaffney and Carlton Cafe in the $25,000 WEC Grand Prix
Thrilling jumper action filled the Sanctuary Arena this afternoon with nearly forty entries between the $25,000 World Equestrian Center Grand Prix and the $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m sponsored by Voltaire Design. The afternoon was packed with exciting wins from a two-tenths of a second lead in the Grand Prix to a first-time win in the Futures Prix.
$25,000 World Equestrian Center Grand Prix
The $25,000 World Equestrian Center Grand Prix saw seventeen entries contest a course designed by Keith Bollotte. The track featured fifteen jumping efforts including a one-stride combination, a triple combination, rollback turns and several long approaches to single fences that allowed riders to gallop. The jump off came down to just fractions of a second determining first and second place, but it was Jill Gaffney and Freestyling Farms, LLC’s Carlton Cafe (Carlton Clover x Moytura Spook) who snagged the win for the third time this Winter.
One of the fastest clear first rounders was Michael Kocher and Woodland Hills’ Dillandra (Zapatero VDL x Willandra). The pair took first place in the $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.30m at World Equestrian Center last week, preparing them well for this afternoon’s Grand Prix. Kocher and the eleven year old Dutch Warmblood mare found a clear first round with ease in 66.201 seconds, well under the time allowed of 74 seconds.
Shortly after, World Equestrian Center Grand Prix veterans Jill Gaffney and Carlton Cafe took to the ring. The pair have taken two Grand Prix wins during ‘Winter in the Midwest’ at World Equestrian Center during weeks two and three and returned to the Sanctuary Arena this afternoon in hopes of claiming another victory. Gaffney and the thirteen year old Irish Sport Horse mare delivered a clear first round in 67.902 seconds, securing a spot in the jump off.
Rounding out the order in the first round was Kevin McCarthy and his own Catch A Starr HSS (Sheraton x Tolinda). The pair nabbed a win in last week’s $25,000 World Equestrian Center Grand Prix and had hopes for a repeat. McCarthy and the nine year old Swedish Warmblood mare managed the fastest clear first round in 65.221 seconds, signaling that they would be strong competitors on the short course. McCarthy also secured a jump off spot earlier in the class aboard his own Easton who took second place in this week’s $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35m.
Six entries returned for the jump off. McCarthy and Easton were first to jump double clear, setting the time to beat at 40.359. Next in the ring was Kocher and Dillandra. The pair took the inside track to fences seven and fourteen, besting McCarthy’s time by nine-thousandths of a second at 40.350. Gaffney and Carlton Cafe were next to attempt the short course. The pair blazed through the first two jumps then picked up even more gallop on the long approach to fence eight. Gaffney and the athletic grey mare hugged the inside track to the next three fences, then galloped up the last line and through the timers at an incredible 38.397 seconds. Last to go on the short course was McCarthy and Catch A Star HSS. The pair mirrored Gaffney’s strategy and held an identical time as they headed to the final line. The fiery bay mare flew over the first fence, then cleared the standards over the final fence in dramatic style, which unseated McCarthy. McCarthy clung to the mare’s neck as the pair crossed the timers at 38.581 seconds before McCarthy tumbled off, hanging onto the second place spot just two-tenths of a second behind Gaffey and Carlton Cafe.
Gaffney had to head straight to the $2,000 Non Pro Hunter Derby 2’6″, but was thrilled with Carlton Cafe’s performance in this afternoon’s $25,000 World Equestrian Center Grand Prix.
$25,000 World Equestrian Center Grand Prix Results
- Carlton Cafe, Jill Gaffney – 0 | 0 | 38.397
- Catch A Star HSS, Kevin McCarthy – 0 | 0 | 38.581
- Dillandra, Michael Kocher – 0 | 0 | 40.350
- Easton, Kevin McCarthy – 0 | 0 | 40.359
- Z Diamanty, Megan Bash – 0 | 0 | 40.437
- Malle Babbe van’t Kieveld, David Arcand – 0 | 4 | 39.714
- So Live Helau, Keely McIntosh – 4 | 64.346
- Harakiri Z, Madeline Reich – 4 | 66.197
- Mauna Lani, Lanie Thomas – 4 | 66.214
- Caiman des Sequoias, Nicole Loochtan – 4 | 66.799
$7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m
The $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m sponsored by Voltaire Design saw twenty two entries vying for the win over a similar course to that of the Grand Prix. The 1.30m track also featured a one-stride combination, a triple combination and rollback turns. Reid Rickett held the top spot throughout the entire class aboard her own Banderas de Bornival (Converter x Poor Boy), earning her very first Futures Prix victory.
Rickett and Banderas de Bornival took to the course near the top of the order in the class. The pair recently took third place in a $10,000 Mini Prix 1.30m at the Cheryl and Co. Season Premiere in Folsom, Louisiana, preparing them well for this afternoon’s class. Rickett and the twelve year old Belgian Warmblood gelding were quick in the first round, leaving all rails up in a time of 69.147 seconds, well under the time allowed of 74 seconds. The pair advanced straight to the jump off of the Table II 2b event, picking up pace and taking a tidy inside turn to fence nine. Rickett and the chestnut gelding flew through the timers at 35.394 seconds, a time that would prove unbeatable for the remainder of the class.
Michael Kocher and Bertrand Legriffon’s Captain Jack Sparrow H (Cassin x Unicutus) also laid down two impressive rounds in the Futures Prix. The pair took top placings in the 1.30m jumpers last week at World Equestrian Center and brought their A-game to this afternoon’s class. Kocher and the eleven year old Holsteiner gelding navigated a clear first round in 71.175 seconds and continued straight to the jump off. The pair also took an inside turn to fence nine, crossing the timers at 36.585 seconds for a second place finish.
Madeline Nuckols Meyers also had noteworthy double clear rounds aboard her own Nimbus (Osmium x Caroline). The pair have taken top placings in the 1.20m-1.25m jumpers throughout ‘Winter in the Midwest’ at World Equestrian Center and stepped up to the 1.30m Futures Prix this afternoon. Nuckols Meyers and the eighteen year old Dutch Warmblood gelding managed a clear first round in 69.619 seconds and advanced straight to the jump off. The pair took the inside track to fence nine, stopping the clock at 37.833 seconds and earning third place.
We caught up with Rickett of Westminster Farm in Tuscaloosa, Alabama after the awards ceremony to hear about her win, “I’m so proud of him. This is the first Futures Prix I’ve ever won. I taught all day, so I was a little tired and just hoping to go clean and have a respectable, quick jump off. He felt really on his game, so after jump one in the jump off he took over and told me he wanted to keep going fast. Normally I’m one to pull around the corner and be really patient and be equitation-y, but I just kind of went for it today and he was game, too.”
When asked about Banderas de Bornival’s personality, Rickett replied, “He’s basically my pet. I got him when he was just imported as a four year old and that was in 2012 so I’ve had him for a good long while now. He was just starting to jump the 1.15m when I bought him and I always hoped that he would be a Grand Prix horse but I was waiting on him to decide. He’s been really great. He’s my first professional horse that I can do bigger classes on.”
Rickett also added, “I’m from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I grew up there and started taking riding lessons with Ashley Morrison at Westminster Farm. I now work for Ashley and train out of Westminster Farm. We came to World Equestrian Center for the first time last year and loved it so we’re back here for two more weeks and brought a couple more clients than last year.”
$7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m Results
- Banderas de Bornival, Reid Rickett –
- Captain Jack Sparrow H, Michael Kocher –
- Nimbus, Madeline Nuckols Meyers –
- Al Pachini, Shannon Hicks –
- Hera van de Kouterhoeve, Nicole Loochtan –
- Annabelle, Richard Rinehart –
- Cymo, Lanie Thomas –
- Aces High, Greg Kuti –
- Leena M, Paige Cade –
- Hirette KR, Sandra Zimmerli –
Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.