Beezie Madden and Cortes ‘C’. (Photo © Sportfot).
The Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Series concluded on Thursday with its twelfth and final round of competition at the 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). For the second year in a row, Beezie Madden (USA) and Abigail Wexner’s Cortes ‘C’ were the winners in the $50,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 12. The duo, named 2014 USEF Equestrian and International Horse of the Year, easily laid down the winning track. Conor Swail (IRL) and Grand Cru vd Jijf Eiken finished second; Tiffany Foster (CAN) and Tripple X III placed third.
WEF 12, sponsored by Rolex, runs March 25-29. The week features the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* on Saturday, March 28. Other highlights include the $10,000 Holtgers 5-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic, $15,000 Adequan® 6-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic, and $20,000 Adequan® 7-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic on Friday. The $100,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Final will be held on Saturday, and the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby will host its first round on Saturday and its second round on the derby field Sunday. Saturday night’s 1.50m Final Round and Rolex Grand Prix, along with Sunday’s second round of the hunter derby, will be live streamed at www.COTH.com.
Steve Stephens (USA) set the track for 46 starters in Thursday’s WEF Challenge Cup. Nine advanced to the jump-off, where seven of those jumped double clear. Last to go, Beezie Madden and Cortes ‘C’ clocked the winning time of 35.52 seconds. They edged out Conor Swail and Grand Cru vd Jijf Eiken, owned by Vanessa Mannix, with their time of 35.99 seconds. Tiffany Foster and Artisan Farms LLC’s Tripple X III set the pace, first to go in the jump-off in 36.48 seconds, finishing in third. McLain Ward (USA) and Double H Farm’s HH Azur placed fourth in 37.09 seconds.
Believe it or not, Thursday’s win was actually Madden’s first of the year. She was happy to see Cortes ‘C’ in top form and knew that Stephen’s track suited her mount, a 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Randel Z x Darco).
“This is my first win of the whole season. I have been second a couple times, but it feels great to win in week 12. It feels great to not go through the whole circuit without winning,” Madden laughed. “My horses have been going well. We have not put a lot of pressure on them yet, so it was nice that Cortes came through this week.”
“Today I went for it,” Madden said. “The jump-off suited him. It was not a real running track where you had to fly to the fences. I could make neat turns without running a lot, and still be quite fast today, so it was a good jump-off for that.”
Madden picked Cortes ‘C’ to show in the final week because of the tracks she expected from Stephens in the final CSI 5* competition.
“Usually he builds a course for a nice, big, scopey horse, so hopefully it will suit Cortes Saturday night too,” Madden explained. “The top few were all big, scopey horses today. This is a 5*, so it should be difficult this week. You can kind of plan on that.”
Madden will show Cortes in Saturday night’s $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* to conclude the circuit and then plans to give the gelding a rest while her mount Simon steps up to compete in Miami and then travels to Las Vegas for World Cup Finals.
“Cortes feels really good. This is only his third week of showing, so I think he is just coming on to form for the year,” Madden detailed. “After this, he will have a bit of a break. I am going to take Simon to the World Cup (Finals) because the venue in Las Vegas is so small that I think it suits him more than Cortes. Cortes will probably do a few classes at Old Salem in the spring, and then I am planning to take him to Aachen for the grand prix in May. Then he will go to Spruce Meadows from there. Simon will also do Miami to get ready for the smaller venue in Vegas. It is good for me to practice with him in the smaller ring.”
Final Results: $50,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 12
1. CORTES ‘C’: 2002 Belgian Warmbloodd gelding by Randel Z x Darco
BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Abigail Wexner: 0/0/35.52
2. GRAND CRU VD JIJF EIKEN: 2006 Belgian Warmblood stallion by Contact vd Heffinck x Heartbreaker
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Vanessa Mannix: 0/0/35.99
3. TRIPPLE X III: 2002 AES stallion by Namelus R x Cantango
TIFFANY FOSTER (CAN), Artisan Farms LLC: 0/0/36.48
4. HH AZUR: 2006 Belgian Warmblood mare by Thunder van de Zuuthoeve x Sir Lui
MCLAIN WARD (USA), Double H Farm: 0/0/37.09
5. BABALOU 41: 2005 Oldenburg mare by Balou du Rouet x Silvio I
TODD MINIKUS (USA), Two Swans Farm: 0/0/37.41
6. SARENA: 2004 Selle Francais mare by Calvaro x Damoiseau d’Or
BEN MAHER (GBR), Jane Clark: 0/0/38.55
7. CLEOFAS VAN WESTUUR: 2002 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Toulon x Wibramino
RODRIGO MARINHO (BRA), Rodrigo Marinho: 0/0/43.60
8. EXQUIS WALNUT DE MUZE: 1999 Belgian Warmblood mare by Nabab de Reve x Chin Chin
HARRIE SMOLDERS (NED), Team Exquis: 0/4/36.85
9. QUICK STUDY: 1999 Selle Francais gelding by Quick Star x What A Joy
LAUREN HOUGH (USA), Laura Mateo: 0/10/49.77
10. QUABELLE: 2004 Selle Francais mare by Helrios de la Cour II x Kannan
BLYTHE MARANO (USA), Riverview Farm LLC: 1/92.12
11. URUS 2: 2005 Oldenburg gelding by Canturo x Cento
LJUBOV KOCHETOVA (RUS), Ljubov Kochetova: 1/92.77
12. FEROX B: 2005
BWP gelding by Quidam de Revel CSF x Contender
LAURA KRAUT (USA), Mike Collins: 4/86.97
Source: Winter Equestrian Festival