Week 15 of the Winter Series of the Midwest is underway at World Equestrian Center, bringing exciting equestrian sport to both the Hunter and Jumper arenas. The Sanctuary Arena saw plenty of Jumper action this afternoon for the $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35 m sponsored by CWD Sellier. Multiple countries were represented in this afternoon’s class including Canada, Austria and the United States, but it was Ireland that took home the blue with Kevin McCarthy and his own Catch A Star HSS (Sheraton x Tolinda) winning their third Welcome Stake of the 2019 Winter Series.
This afternoon’s course for the $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35 m sponsored by CWD Sellier was designed by Tucker Williams of Ocala, Florida. The course began over a vertical by the ingate, then turned up the diagonal over an oxer that bent to the CWD vertical on the quarter line. Entries then rode down a line on the rail and up a vertical on the quarter line that bent to a one stride combination on the diagonal. From there, entries rode down a vertical-oxer-vertical line on the rail, then turned up the diagonal to jump a one stride vertical combination. To finish, entries bent to an oxer on the quarter line, then galloped through the timers.
Near the top of the order of go was Kevin McCarthy aboard his own Catch A Star HSS (Sheraton x Tolinda). Fresh off of a Welcome Stakes win just two short weeks ago and second place finishes in both the Welcome Stake and the $25,000 WEC Grand Prix last week, the pair were ready to reclaim their spot atop the score board. McCarthy and the scopey Catch A Star HSS negotiated the first course with ease, nearly clearing the standards over each fence. The pair crossed the timers with a clear round at 74.664 seconds and continued straight to the jump off of the Table II Event.
The course for the jump off also began over the vertical by the ingate, then turned up the diagonal and over an oxer. Entries then rolled back to catch an oxer on the rail, then galloped to a one stride combination on the diagonal. Entries rounded the top of the ring to jump the CWD vertical, this time heading down the ring, then rolled back to a vertical on the rail to finish.
McCarthy and Catch A Star HSS stepped up their speed as they began the short course, maintaining their impressive accuracy from their first course. The pair executed an inside turn to the one stride combination, then a tight rollback to the final fence, aiming to shave valuable seconds off their time. McCarthy and Catch A Star HSS stopped the clock at 29.772 seconds, setting a blistering pace for the remainder of the entries to beat.
Next in the ring was David Beisel aboard his own Essince W (Chacco Blue x Rossan). The pair have had a successful start to 2019, taking many top placings in the $25,000 WEC Grand Prix including a first during Week 3 of the Winter Series of the Midwest. Beisel and Essince W brought their own unique style to this afternoon’s class, with Essince W clearing each fence with ample room to spare. The pair jumped a clear first round in 72.699 seconds and continued straight to the jump off. Beisel and Essince W cleared the first three fences, then executed an incredible turn between jump two and the combination next to it to approach the one stride combination on the diagonal. Though their plan was spot on, the pair pulled a heartbreaking rail on the out of the combination. Beisel and Essince W still finished the course in a quick time of 30.857 seconds.
McCarthy and Catch A Star HSS still held their lead as the class was winding down, but Charlotte Clark and her own Kinsella (Capitalist x Jerpoint Mist) were sure to give the pair a run for their money. The pair have taken top placings throughout the Winter Series and took home a win in the $25,000 WEC Grand Prix three weeks ago. This afternoon, Clark piloted Kinsella through a foot perfect first round, stopping the clock at 74.374 seconds and continuing straight to the jump off. The pair took the same inside turn to the one stride combination and tight rollback turn as McCarthy and Catch A Star HSS, but were a touch slower, crossing the timers at 31.902 seconds, leaving McCarthy and the bay mare at at the top of the scoreboard to win the class.
We caught up with McCarthy after the awards presentation to chat about his ride in the Welcome Stake. “She’s at it again, I suppose,” said McCarthy about the nine year old Swedish Warmblood, “I’m happy with her. She was probably a little faster than I wanted her, but she likes going fast. Winning is the name of the game.” When asked about this afternoon’s course, McCarthy replied, “The course was nice and well built. Nothing was too trappy. There was a nice, fast jump off and, luckily, I came out on top. The course builder has built some quality courses this week and we’re looking forward to the Grand Prix on Saturday night again.”
Catch A Star HSS was bred by Johanna Friman of Sweden in 2010. Friman still makes an effort to keep up with Catch A Star HSS’s successes, and describes the mare and McCarthy as a “dream team”. She was Friman’s first offspring from Tolinda, and Firman says, “I knew she was something special, so I gave her a name worthy of a star.” Friman’s feelings were spot on, and in 2015, Catch A Star HSS was the top five year old in Sweden, based on competition results. Catch A Star HSS continues to excel in her showjumping career, and both Friman and McCarthy are excited to see what the future holds for the talented mare. Click here to read more about Catch A Star HSS.
Watch Kevin McCarthy and Catch A Star HSS win the Welcome Stake, courtesy of ShowNet
$5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35 m Results
- Catch A Star HSS, Kevin McCarthy – 0 | 0 | 29.772
- Kinsella, Charlotte Clark – 0 | 0 | 31.902
- Downtown’s Main Event, Shannon Sullivan – 0 | 0 | 32.835
- Caroquados T, Sam Pegg – 0 | 0 | 32.910
- Viva’s Dolce W, Elyse Batista – 0 | 0 | 38.574
- Essince W, David Beisel – 0 | 4 | 30.857
- Ehrentanz, Silvia Geyer – 2 | 79.044
- Voi De Pique, Sara Sprague – 4 | 72.048
- Kalune, Devin Milan – 4 | 72.096
- Air Guitar, Erin Ferguson-Hughes – 14 | 79.556
Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.