Piergiorgio Bucci and Heartbreaker vd Achteroe. (Photo © Sportfot).
Olaf Petersen Jr. of Germany set the 1.45m speed course on Friday with 42 entries and 12 clear rounds. Bucci and SPCS’s Heartbreaker vd Achteroe had the winning time of 64.15 seconds. They beat out Laura Chapot and Quointreau un Prince, owned by Chapot and McLain Ward, who finished second in 65.19 seconds. Sweetnam and Spy Coast Farm LLC’s Beluga clocked in at 66.54 seconds to place third. Eric Lamaze (CAN) guided Carol Sollak’s Brooklyn Blues to fourth in 67.50 seconds.
Class winner Heartbreaker vd Achteroe is an eight-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Bentley van de Heffinck x Catango Z) that Bucci has had for less than six months. Although they are still getting to know each other, they had a great round on Friday, and Bucci thinks that in time they will be even faster.
“I have not had him for so long. He is quite green, but he is a very good horse,” Bucci stated. “I am just getting to know him. He is really a sport horse. He is competitive. When I know him better and he is more experienced, I think I could do this course even two seconds less. I started at the beginning holding him a little bit, but still he was really fast.”
Chapot was leading with a very fast time before Bucci entered the ring, but he rode his own plan. “I didn’t see Laura, but I had my course in my mind and I didn’t want to change it because of her,” he explained. “I tried to do my best and it was enough today, luckily.”
Although he has been to Wellington to visit before, this year is Bucci’s first time showing at the Winter Equestrian Festival.
“I have been here three or four times, but this is my first time with my horses competing,” Bucci explained. “Unfortunately, my best horse was injured after the first week, so I struggled a little bit with the others because they are young. It is tough classes to win here for anyone, but I am happy for this win, to get some confidence. It feels very good.”
Based in Holland, Bucci will return to Europe and plans to compete for Italy in the Nations Cup in Lummen, Belgium, at the end of April. He has other horses resting at home and will continue to develop the young ones that showed throughout WEF.
Also competing on Friday, Todd Minikus (USA) and Spring Girl won the morning’s 5-Year-Old Young Jumper Qualifier sponsored by the Holtgers Family. The $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Speed Challenge was held in a California Split with a win for Daniel Zetterman (SWE) and Gyllebo Farm LLC’s Chellana in Section A and Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) with Stephex Stables’ Q Royal Palm Z in Section B.
WEF 11 continues on Saturday with the $127,000 Engel & Völkers Grand Prix CSI 4* in the International Arena in the evening. Highlighting hunter competition, the Bainbridge Amateur Owner Hunter 18-35 Champion will be crowned. For full results and more information, please visit www.pbiec.com.
Final Results: $34,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.45m Speed
1. HEARTBREAKER VD ACHTEROE: 2007 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Bentley van de Heffinck x Catango Z
PIERGIORGIO BUCCI (ITA), SPCS: 0/64.15
2. QUOINTREAU UN PRINCE: 2004 Selle Francais gelding by Diamant de Semilly x Rosire
LAURA CHAPOT (USA), Laura Chapot & McLain Ward: 0/65.19
3. BELUGA: 2005 Swedish Warmblood mare by Cobra x Cortez
SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Spy Coast Farm LLC: 0/66.54
4. BROOKLYN BLUES: 2004 Oldenburg mare by Balou du Rouet x Fruhlingsball
ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Carol Sollak: 0/67.50
5. FLAMINGO K: 2005 Belgian Warmblood stallion by Diamant de Semilly x Kashmir van Schuttershof
RICHIE MOLONEY (IRL), Equinimity LLC: 0/70.48
6. CORAL REEF CARMEL Z: 2004 Zangersheide gelding by Cento x Burggraaf
ANN KNIGHT KARRASCH (USA), Coral Reef Ranch: 0/70.70
7. ADVENTURE E: 2005 KWPN gelding by Damiro x Calvados
COLIN SYQUIA (USA), Eurasia Inc: 0/73.37
8. BEZIQUE: 2006 KWPN mare by Cardento x Canabis Z
HAYLEY BARNHILL (USA), The ISB Group, LLC: 0/73.71
9. CASPER: 2006 Oldenburg gelding by Contender x Baloubet du Rouet
ANDREW BOURNS (IRL), Andrew Bourns: 0/73.76
10. LUEBBO: 2005 Oldenburg gelding by Lord Pezzi x Stakkato
JAMIE BARGE (USA), Kylie Co: 0/77.69
11. SABINE DES IBIS: 2006 Selle Francais mare by Nartago SF x Adelfos
NICOLAS PAILLOT (FRA) Paillot Equestrian: 0/77.73
12. CLEOFAS VAN WESTUUR: 2002 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Toulon x Wibramino
RODRIGO MARINHO (BRA), Rodrigo Marinho: 0/78.76
Source: Winter Equestrian Festival