It’s finally feeling like Fall here in Wilmington, Ohio, with cooler temperatures, a nice breeze, blue skies, and a plethora of Fall décor lining the arenas and walkways throughout the World Equestrian Center. The Welcome Stake 1.35 m wrapped up the day today in the Sanctuary Arena with a demanding track that asked plenty of questions of the horse and rider combinations. Eighteen entries vied for the win in the Welcome Stake, but only five advanced to the jump off.
Fresh off a win in the last week’s $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup at the Sacramento Horse Show, Wilhelm Genn and his own Van Gogh were second to take to the ring. Wilhelm rode the first course with quiet confidence, finishing well within the time allowed of 78 seconds with a first round time of 72.690 seconds. He and Van Gogh continued straight into the jump off, riding the jumps with tidy precision and crossing the timer at 39.187 seconds.
Wilhelm and Van Gogh held their early lead until Sam Pegg and Hilma, owned by Ten Sixty Stables & Co, took to the ring. The pair was not as quick as Wilhelm and Van Gogh in the first round, but still clean and well within the time allowed. Sam and Hilma rode the jump off with plenty of power, clearing every jump and crossing the timer at 38.948 seconds, moving them into the top spot.
Jill Gaffney and Z Love Story, owned by Beverly Knobel, were twelfth in the order of go, and gave Sam Pegg and Hilma a run for their money. Jill piloted Z Love Story to a first round time of 74.388 seconds, and narrowly beat Sam and Hilma in the jump off with an impressively quick time of 38.331 seconds, but had an unfortunate rail, moving the pair into third place, right behind Wilhelm and Van Gogh.
Sam seemed very pleased with his ride when we caught up with him after the class. He noted that the courses have been a bit more challenging than usual over the past two weeks, making the horses and riders work even harder for their wins. “[Hilma] was really good after last week, though,” Sam said about the 12 year old mare. The pair was third in the Welcome Stake last week, and have made a strong start heading into this week’s feature Jumper competition. Congratulations Sam and Hilma!
Photos by Andrew Ryback Photography