We welcomed in Week 14 of the Winter Series of the Midwest this afternoon with a thrilling win in the $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35 m sponsored by CWD Sellier for Nicki Wilcox and her own Danique Du Lys (Harley VDL). The pair battled head to head in the jump off against last week’s Welcome Stake winners Kevin McCarthy and Catch A Star HSS (Sheraton x Tolinda), but a crowd-rousing turn made all the difference, shaving seconds off their time and earning the victory.
The course for this afternoon’s $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35 m was designed by Michael Moran and featured two combinations, a few flowing lines, and many opportunities for inside turns in the jump off. The first course began over an oxer heading up the rail, then led entries to bend across the diagonal to a vertical. Entries rounded the top of the ring, then jumped a one stride combination on the rail heading home. From there, entries turned across the center of the ring to jump a vertical, then bent down the rail to an oxer. Next, entries rode past the ingate and up the diagonal to jump the CWD vertical, then bent to a combination on the rail heading up the arena. Entries then rode down a line on the diagonal and bent to jump a vertical near the ingate. To finish, entries galloped up the quarter line to jump an oxer.
The true fight for first place was between Ireland’s Kevin McCarthy and Colorado’s Nicki Wilcox, with McCarthy riding first. This afternoon, McCarthy rode his own Catch A Star HSS (Sheraton x Tolinda), a nine year old Swedish Warmblood mare bred by Johanna Friman of Hjältaryds Stall & Smide in Sweden. The pair have had an amazing run during the 2019 Winter Series, taking the win in last week’s Welcome Stake, as well as a $25,000 WEC Grand Prix win during Week 8 and another Welcome Stake win during Week 4. The pair were foot perfect in the first round of this afternoon’s Welcome Stake with McCarthy riding with expert precision and Catch A Star HSS nearly clearing the standards with her stylish jump. The pair crossed the timers at 74.906 seconds, about six seconds under the time allowed of 81 seconds.
McCarthy and Catch A Star HSS continued straight to the jump off of the Table II event. The jump off course began over the same first two fences as the first course, then asked entries to continue down the diagonal to the out of the line and bend to an oxer heading home. Next, entries rode up the CWD vertical and finished over the combination leading up the rail. McCarthy and Catch A Star HSS picked up their pace, taking skilled turns and still easily clearing each fence. The pair stopped the clock with all rails up at 36.999 seconds, placing themselves atop the leader board.
Last to go was Nicki Wilcox and her own Danique Du Lys (Harley VDL). The pair have taken top placings both at World Equestrian Center and across the country and were prepared to bring their all to this afternoon’s class. Wilcox and the spunky 11 year old KWPN mare took to the first course with ease, clearing each fence with plenty of power. They crossed the timers at 75.296 seconds and continued straight the the jump off. Wilcox and Danique Du Lys picked up even more power as they galloped to the first fence, then jumped the second fence and immediately executed an extremely tight rollback to make it to the third fence, shaving crucial seconds off of their time. They completed their jump off course and surged through the timers at 36.880 seconds, besting McCarthy and Catch A Star HSS’s time by a tenth of a second for the win in the $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35 m sponsored by CWD Sellier.
We caught up with Nicki Wilcox of Nicki Wilcox Show Jumping in Parker, Colorado after the class to chat about her win in the $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35 m. “Actually, my two that I rode are mother and son,” explained Wilcox, “Danique Du Lys is the mother and Hannibal V is the son. They both have some good blood to them, so they’re exactly what I like to ride. It’s interesting seeing how different they are, but they’re so similar at the same time. They’re both opinionated horses, so you have to work on their side. If you work too much against them they won’t be in your favor. Once you have them on your side, they will jump to the moon and back for you. I think Danique Du Lys is more comfortable with me right now. I’ve had her for about a year, and Hannibal V we’ve had since about the first of the year.”
Wilcox also commented on her mounts’ performances in today’s class, “The course rode well. Both horses felt good. Hannibal V had a wiggle moment, which was just a young horse moment. He’s a youngster, so he’s just getting going at this level. I felt like he jumped really well both in the schooling area and out here. Danique Du Lys felt good to me today, too.” When asked about her fantastic turn in the jump off aboard Danique Du Lys, Wilcox said, “I knew that was a turn that was in our wheelhouse of things to do, so today was definitely a day to pull it out!”
Wilcox sees great things in the future for both horses, “I would like Hannibal V to get more settled in some of the softer Grands Prix at the end of this year. Right now he’s just doing the Welcome Stakes and young horse classes. In the Fall, I would like for him to start doing more Welcomes and softer Grands Prix. He is owned by Marjorie Martin, who is an Amateur. She will ride him some, too. He’s already having to learn to juggle the both of us, and he’s doing a great job. For Danique Du Lys, since I’m starting to get to know her well and enjoying her a lot, there is going to be some bigger Grands Prix at Colorado Horse Park that I would really like to step up into, including the $80,000 Grand Prix and maybe the $100,000, and see where I land at. I would really like to be a contender at that level.”
Watch Nicki Wilcox and Danique Du Lys’ winning round courtesy of ShowNet
$5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35 m
- Danique Du Lys, Nicki Wilcox – 0 | 0 | 36.880
- Catch A Star HSS, Kevin McCarthy – 0 | 0 | 36.999
- Alonso Du Monselet, Richard Cheska – 0 | OC
- Babar, Ryan Sassmannshausen – 8 | 77.045
- Hannibal V, Nicki Wilcox – 18 | 94.965