USA’s Laura Chapot took first and second place in Sunday’s $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic to conclude week ten at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL. Chapot was aboard Quointreau un Prince for the win, and also guided Thornhill Kate to second place.
The Winter Equestrian Festival continues in its eleventh week, sponsored by Rolex, featuring CSI 5*/2* competition on March 22-26, 2017. Highlights include the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5*, as well as the $130,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Series Final on Saturday, March 25, and the George Morris Excellence in Equitation Championship on Friday, March 24. The 12-week WEF circuit continues through April 2, 2017, awarding over $9 million in prize money.
Course designer Michel Vaillancourt (CAN) concluded his duties in the International Arena for week ten with 47 starters in the 1.50m competition and 11 to jump-off. Out of six double clear rounds, Chapot first took the lead with her own and McLain Ward’s Quointreau un Prince in 34.79 seconds. She then jumped into second place aboard her own and Mary Chapot’s Thornhill Kate with a time of 35.88 seconds. Kent Farrington (USA) finished third, riding his own and Tanma Corp.’s Dublin through the timers in 36.69 seconds.
“I am thrilled,” Chapot said of her result. “I thought both horses were really on their game today, and they jumped fantastic. The jump-off was really fast, so I just took a big shot at it, and they came through for me.
“I tried to follow the same track with both of them,” Chapot said of her rounds. “There was a long distance between fence one and two, and I think that is mostly where the class was won. Once I got over fence one, I tried to really get over to fence two as quick as I could, because the rest of it you had to go by the numbers and just make the best turns you could. Both my horses are very fast, and I thought that was a place where I could use that speed to my advantage.”
Chapot has had Quointreau un Prince, a 13-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Diamant de Semilly x Rosire), since he was five years old and knows the horse extremely well. “Prince” was also given the week ten Champion Equine Insurance Jumper Style Award, presented by Laura Fetterman.
“He was really excited to show today,” Chapot said of Prince. “He has been excited all week because he loves the little bit cooler weather. I thought he was just jumping out of his skin today; he felt really super.”
Thornhill Kate is a 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare (Courage II x Clover Hill) that Chapot has had for just over one year.
“I think we really started to bond last summer,” Chapot said of “Kate”. “She won a bunch of grand prixs over the summer and into the fall. She was second in the 1.45m on Wednesday and jumped super again today. She is a real trier. She has a strong personality, but she uses that to her benefit in the ring.”
While Quointreau un Prince was always a naturally fast horse, Chapot has been working on developing Thornhill Kate’s speed.
“I think I have turned Kate more into a ride similar to Prince,” Chapot explained. “When I first got her, she was used to going more up and down and not quite as forward and long-strided. Now she really loves to gallop and leave out strides. She actually has a very big stride, so she is becoming more similar to Prince, who is just a pleasure to ride. You just gallop with him, and if he sees a long distance, he gets there in a heartbeat.”
Chapot plans to compete Quointreau un Prince, Thornhill Kate, and her other top mount ISHD Dual Star through the final weeks of WEF competition. She will then give her string a long break before gearing up for the Devon Horse Show in Pennsylvania at the end of May.
Also competing in the International Arena on Sunday, Sam Walker and Twan won the $10,000 Hollow Creek Farm Medium Junior Jumper Classic. The $10,000 Equiline Medium Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic concluded the day with a win for Reid Patton and Twisther.
press release WEF, photo by Sportfot