On the grass Derby Field at Equestrian Village, Ireland’s Bertram Allen and Castlefield Vegas, owned by Martin Egan, finished in top form to take the victory in the $37,000 Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup Round 6 CSI3* on Friday, February 19, at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).
A field of 86 combinations challenged the class in hopes of qualifying for Sunday’s $137,000 IDA Development Grand Prix CSI3*. Catsy Cruz (MEX) continued her duties as course designer for the week, setting the 1.50m with 16 jumping efforts, narrowing the field to 24 to qualify for the jump-off and 16 elected to return.
Last to go in the order, Allen and the 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding by Cassino x Lux Z posted the fastest time of the day, leaving all the jumps in their cups in 36.09 seconds.“He’s a very new horse to me,” said Allen. “He arrived three weeks ago. I jumped him last week and he was very good, so it wasn’t the plan to jump him this week but because he was so good, we decided to jump again. We thought he’d like the grass and he just seems to be getting better and better every round at the moment. He’s very competitive, and he’s a nice nature. He’s very careful and always trying his best.”
With an abundance of rain coming down during the late stages of the first round, there was a momentary delay in the action. Once the first round finished up, the savvy jump crew got to work, moving and resetting obstacles for the second round for the best possible footing. Riders had the chance to walk the adjusted track before the jump-off got underway.“The field is great,” said Allen. “There were a lot of starters today and with the rain, the grass held up super. No one was slipping or sliding, even in the jump-off after the rain.”It was less than a second separating the winner from the runner-up as Beezie Madden (USA) and her veteran partner Breitling LS, owned by Abigail Wexner slotted into second place. Madden and the 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion by Quintero x Accord II put forth a double-clear effort in 37 seconds flat.
Paul O’Shea (IRL) piloted Skara Glen’s Chancelloress, owned by Skara Glen Stables, to a third-place finish. O’Shea and the 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare by Chacco Blue x Balou du Rouet left all the rails up for a double-clear finish in 37.72 seconds.Allen has already had success earlier in the winter circuit, winning the $37,000 Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup Round 2 aboard Pacino Amiro as well as a sixth place finish in the CSI5* grand prix during WEF 5.
“Pacino Amiro is only nine so it’s great to be able to build him up here as well,” said Allen of one of his top horses. “[Pacino Amiro and Castlefield Vegas are] both competing at a very high level and doing it well, so hopefully we’ll have a good season if things keep going this well.”Natalie Dean (USA) and Dotcom D’Authiut wrapped up the day with a victory in the $1,000 Hermès U25 1.40m. Dean and the eight-year-old Selle Français mare, owned by Marigold Sporthorses, LLC, took the win in the speed class by more than three seconds, stopping the clock at 65.89 seconds.