Todd Minikus (USA) and Amex Z took home a sweet victory in the $214,000 WIHS President’s Cup Grand Prix CSI 4* presented by MARS Equestrian™, tripping the jump-off timers in a time of 36.52 to chase down a win in the marquis class of the week at Tryon International Equestrian Center and Resort (TIEC). Karl Cook (USA) and Caillou 24, the 2007 Holsteiner gelding (Casall x San Patrignano Corrado) owned by Signe Ostby, earned reserve honors by clearing the short course in 36.82 seconds, while third place saw a historic tie. Beat Mändli (SUI) and Galan S, the Grant Road Partners LLC-owned 2006 Belgian Warmblood gelding (Indoctro x Calypso D’herbiers), stopped the timers in 37.39 seconds. Also completing the jump-off in 37.39 seconds, Lillie Keenan (USA) claimed not only the third-place rank, but also the Leading Lady Award presented by Fab Finds by Sarah and the U25 International Rider Award sponsored by Katherine Kaneb and Family, piloting the 2010 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Vigo D’Arsouilles x Farmer) owned by Chansonette Farm LLC, Fasther.
The Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) course design tested 50 entries over the first round, accepting 15 pairs back for the speed test. Minikus and the 2009 Zangersheide mare (Andiamo Z x Landaris) were up against some of the world’s best, including three pairs in the top ten FEI World Rankings, and several former winners of the WIHS President’s Cup, but Minikus was able to pull off his third victory in the last three decades, this time at a venue he often calls home base.
“I have to be honest, when I was in the schooling area and I saw Karl’s horse, who was just unbelievable last week, and Beat Mändli, who the week before rode one of the fanciest jump-offs I’ve ever seen in my life, and Lillie’s freaky fast chestnut, and then Kent Farrington... I thought, ‘wow this is a crazy jump-off,’” Minikus admitted. “My horse warmed up well and I gave it a good try, and somehow it worked out!” Claiming his first WIHS President’s Cup win in 1990, Minikus became one of just a handful to have ever earned three such wins with his performance.