Week seven of ‘Winter in the Midwest 2020’ at World Equestrian Center kicked off this afternoon with twenty entries representing four countries vying for the win in the $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35m sponsored by CWD Sellier. The course for the class was designed by Keith Bollotte and featured several rollback turns, a one-stride combination and forward lines. The jump off offered just one inside turn after the combination making speed the determining factor. Five entries managed quick double clear rounds, but it was Shannon Hicks and Helen Gilbert’s Al Pachini (Cheers Cassini x Lirbine) that stole the win by just a tenth of a second.
The pace setter in this afternoon’s class was Lanie Thomas and F.A.S. Farms, LLC’s Cymo (Cormint x Kyma). Cymo has a solid record in the 1.35m-1.40m jumpers, having taken top placings here at World Equestrian Center during our Fall series. This afternoon, Thomas and the twelve year old Warmblood gelding were steady in the first round, jumping clear in a time of 82.008 seconds, just under the time allowed of 84 seconds. The pair continued straight to the jump off of the Table II 2b event, picking up pace and managing the first double clear of the class in 35.264 seconds.
Shortly after, Kevin McCarthy and his own Easton took to the course. The pair have seen success in both Welcome Stakes and Grands Prix at World Equestrian Center and were on form this afternoon. McCarthy and the scopey gelding also took their time in the first round, ensuring a clear round in 82.186 seconds. The pair continued straight to the jump off, galloping to each fence and taking a tidy rollback turn inside of the island after the combination. McCarthy and Easton flew through the timers at 32.132 seconds, setting the new time to beat.
David Arcand and his own Malle Babbe van’t Kieveld (Emerld van’t Ruytershof x Campiola van den Hoendrik) came close to McCarthy and Easton’s time. The pair were slightly quicker in the first round, jumping clear in a time of 81.300 seconds. Arcand and the eight year old Belgian Warmblood mare advanced straight to the jump off, also taking a neat rollback turn after the combinations. The pair stopped the clock at 33.031 seconds, sliding into second place just behind McCarthy.
One of the last to contest the course was Shannon Hicks and Helen Gilbert’s Al Pachini (Cheers Cassini x Lirbine). The pair regularly take top placings in 1.20m-1.40m jumpers and brought their A-game tonight. Hicks and the eleven year old Warmblood gelding managed the fastest first round time of the class in 75.378 seconds, signaling that they would be strong competitors on the short course. They sped through the course, taking a sharp rollback turn after the combination and blazed through the timers at 32.117 seconds, about a tenth of a second quicker than McCarthy, stealing the win.
Hicks of Shannon Hicks, LLC in St. Louis, Missouri took a moment to chat with us about her win after giving Al Pachini a well-deserved mint for his win, “We went in there and went as fast as we could. He’s kind of a funny horse. I have to ride every round, even the first round, like it’s a jump off or a speed class because he doesn’t go well otherwise. It’s kind of all or nothing every single class.”
When asked about her plan on course, Hicks replied, “I did eight in the first round from the second jump to the combination where a lot of people did nine, so I knew I could stay out and gallop and still get the eight. I saw everybody’s tracks after the double and I got him to turn inside of them. He’s really fast across the ground, too.”
When asked baout Al Pachini’s personality, Hicks said, “He’s a funny guy. He actually had two colic surgeries. After his first colic surgery he was good, then he got better after his second colic surgery. He hasn’t jumped big since the first week of October, so this is our first time back. We came here for a week to warm up to go to Gulfport. He jumped great.”
Hicks also added, “I’m from St. Louis, Missouri. I’ve been there for twelve years. I have a great owner who owns all of my horses. She buys me good horses!”
$5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35m Results
- Al Pachini, Shannon Hicks – 0 | 0 | 32.117
- Easton, Kevin McCarthy – 0 | 0 | 32.132
- Malle Babbe van’t Kieveld, David Arcand – 0 | 0 | 33.031
- Berkley III, Doug Boyd – 0 | 0 | 33.585
- Cymo, Lanie Thomas – 0 | 0 | 35.264
- Z Love Story, Jill Gaffney – 0 | 4 | 33.980
- Catch A Star HSS, Kevin McCarthy – 0 | 4 | 34.735
- Don Gerhard, Madeline Dunlap – 0 | 12 | 38.263
- Z Diamanty, Megan Bash – 1 | 84.115
- Famoso D’IVE Z, Nicole Loochtan – 4 | 77.846
Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.