For the second week in a row, Nick Skelton and Beverley Widdowson's Carlo 273 led the victory gallop in the Thursday afternoon $32,000 WEF Challenge Cup Grand Prix in Wellington. Today's class was the third in the series at the 2012 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival, which runs through April 1, 2012.
Today's WEF Challenge Cup saw 50 entries in the first round of competition showing over a course set by Olaf Petersen Sr. of Germany. Seventeen jumped clear to return for the short course, and Great Britain's Nick Skelton and Carlo 273 had the fastest double clear time of 38.76 seconds to beat out the competition.
"I don't think I went as quick as I did last week," Skelton said of his jump-off ride. "I didn't feel like I was anyway. I think I was quite quick from one to two, then to the double."
Petersen's jump-off course proved challenging as the first few entries set a quick pace, leading just seven of the 17 contenders to jump clear. Many fast rounds followed, and it was Skelton and Carlo who went halfway through the order who would prove unbeatable. Kent Farrington (USA) and RCG Farm's Uceko came close as the next competitors in the ring with their time of 38.97 seconds, but had to settle for second place.
An earlier round from Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (GER) and Octavia Farm's Cantano finished third in a time of 39.43 seconds.
Class winner Carlo 273 is an eleven-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Contender x Cascavelle. Skelton said that Carlo will compete in the grand prix on Sunday and then have two weeks rest. "Big Star gets out next Tuesday," Skelton noted. "Carlo was great again today. The heat is wearing him down a little bit. This was quite quiet for him really. He takes a lot out of himself; he's a busy horse. Unique could probably go around out there four times and not take a bit of energy out of him. He puts so much effort into everything."
Final Results: $32,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round III
1. CARLO 273: 2001 Holsteiner gelding by Contender x Cascavelle
NICK SKELTON (GBR), Beverly Widdowson: 0/0/38.76
2. UCEKO: 2001 KWPN gelding by Celano x Koriander
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), R.C.G. Farm: 0/0/38.97
3. CANTANO: 2000 Holsteiner stallion by Cascavelle x Acord
MEREDITH MICHAELS-BEERBAUM (GER), Octavia Farms LLC: 0/0/39.43
4. HH CAROTINO: 2002 Holsteiner gelding by Caretino x Corrado I
QUENTIN JUDGE (USA), Double H Farm: 0/0/39.79
5. MERLIN: 2002 Royal Dutch Warmblood gelding by Hors La Loi II x Emilion
JEFFERY WELLES (USA), Noel Love Gross: 0/0/39.97
6. STAR POWER: 2001 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Quick Star
IAN MILLAR (CAN), Team Works: 0/0/40.34
7. CHILL R Z: 2003 Zangersheide stallion by Chellano Z x A Lucky One
CHARLIE JAYNE (USA), Pony Lane Farm: 0/0/41.13
8. EVERYTHING: 2004 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Toulon x Mast VD Vrombautshoeve
CIAN O'CONNOR (IRL), Abdulla Humaid Al Muhairi: 0/4/36.99
9. UP CHIQUI: 1997 BWP gelding by Quidam De Revel x Chin Chin
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Alex Boone, William Dobbs, & K. Farrington: 0/4/38.42
10. DERLY CHIN DE MUZE: 2003 BWP mare by For Pleasure x Nebab de Reve
ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Ashland Stables: 0/4/38.78
11. APACHE: 1999 Selle Francais/Thoroughbred gelding by Mescalaro x Unknown
ASHLEE BOND (USA) Little Valley Farm: 0/4/39.67
12. MARK Q: 2002 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Obos Quality 004 x Positively
KEVIN BABINGTON (IRL), Kevin Babington: 0/4/39.94