Laura Chapot (USA) once again scored a victory in the $6,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.40m Jumpers, this time with Calafornia, owned by Laura and Mary Chapot, to open the tenth week of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) on Wednesday, February 17, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).
WEF 10, sponsored by Horseware Ireland, will continue through March 21 and feature 3* competition in the International Arena. On Thursday, the $37,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m CSI3* will be the main class of the day. Friday competition will showcase the $20,000 Spy Coast Farm Developing Jumper Series 7 Year Old Classic, the $15,000 Spy Coast Farm Developing Jumper Series 6 Year Old Classic, the $10,000 Spy Coast Farm Developing Jumper Series 5 Year Old Classic, as well as the $37,000 Adequan® WEF Challenge Round 10. The $37,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Classic will take place on Saturday, and Sunday competition will highlight the $50,000 Hermès Under 25 Final as well as the $137,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI3*. Feature classes are available free live and on-demand on the livestream.Eighty-nine riders challenged the speed format course consisting of 13 fences set by Michel Vaillancourt (CAN). Chapot, of Neshanic Station, NJ, navigated Calafornia, a 14-year-old KWPN gelding by Ultimo x Lux, to a double clear round and winning time of 30.25 seconds.
“When you have a class that has so many in it, it’s always difficult to make a course that isn’t too hard for everyone, but I think Michel [Vaillancourt] always does a great job making it very fair,” explained Chapot. “I think the course suited my horse because he was able to leave out strides here and there. He’s got a tremendous ability to cover the ground so that always helps for him.”
Chapot and her longtime partner Calafornia are a competitive pair to watch and often at the top of the leaderboard. The duo claimed the Circuit Champion honors in the 1.40m Jumpers during WEF 2020.
“This year he has been really, really going well,” commented Chapot. “He’s been jumping very well and very consistent. I’m really proud of him for coming out every time and doing so well. He was really fresh today, which is nice to see at Week 10 that the horse is still coming out and wanting to go and trying to win the class.“I try to keep my rhythm with him and keep him very even throughout the whole course,” continued Chapot. “He’s a very careful horse and he’s gotten quicker over the years, so now his speed across the ground really just helps him.”
Less than a second behind Chapot was Gustavo Prato (ARG) aboard Kisma Equestrian, LLC’s King Van Het Keizershof taking home second place. Prato guided the 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding by Clearway x Phin Phin to time of 30.98 seconds. Third place honors went to Sarah Hubbard (USA) and Latino Van De Looise Heide, owned by Hubbard Horses LLC. Hubbard and the 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding by Cantos x Hadrilla Van De Looiseheide stopped the clock at 31.25 seconds.Competition will resume on Thursday with the $37,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m CSI3* in the International Arena as well as the naming of the Hygain Feeds Green Hunter 3’ champion in FarmVet Ring 7.