Wellington, FL – Feb. 6, 2016 – Beezie Madden is bringing a new winner up the ranks, and Saturday he claimed his first major win in Wellington. Madden and Coach, owned by Abigail Wexner, earned the victory in the $20,000 1.40m Jumpers at the CP Wellington Masters, presented by Sovaro™.
With Madden in the irons, Coach, an 8-year-old Holsteiner gelding, was one of 39 horses to compete over the Alan Wade designed track set at Deeridge Farms and one of 15 to advance to the jump-off before taking an impressive win.
“I am super excited about him,” Madden said. “We got him in the middle of the summer last year, and he was 7. He’s come so far already. He’s got everything you want. He’s got blood, he’s careful, he’s scopey, he’s rideable and he’s got fantastic character.”
Before Coach jumped to victory, eight combinations attempted the jump-off track, and while many of them finished on just four faults, it was not until the ninth to return that a double clear effort was successfully produced.
Jonathan McCrea and D Carolus, owned by Candy Tribble, were the first to cross the second round track without fault, setting the time to beat at 48.279 seconds.
From there it turned into a quick race against the clock with nearly every round going faster than the next. Chris Sorensen and his own Zellobee shaved the time to beat down to a clear 42.329 seconds. Then Tori Colvin and Take the High Road LLC’s Austria 2 blew that time out of the water, setting the lead at 38.884 seconds.
Daniel Bluman and his own Bocara D’Archongosse came next and saw one rail fall in 45.081 seconds, but then it was back to the quick race against the clock with Callan Solem and VDL Torlando giving it their all and leaving out a long stride to the final oxer.
“That’s the benefit of having a grand prix horse in the 1.40m. You can do that,” Solem said. “He’s a great horse. We’ve done it together for so long. I wasn’t super surprised.”
Sollem continued, “I’ve had [VDL Torlando] for 10 years. He’s basically my best friend; I love him so much. He’s still getting ribbons in the grand prix at [the Winter Equestrian Festival]. He still jumps grand prix, but I think it’s nice to let him jump something easy once in awhile and let him feel like a hero.”
VDL Torlando showed that he was quite the hero on Saturday, finishing on a time of 38.221 seconds to temporarily take over the lead.
It would not be for long though as Madden and Coach were the next to return and left it all on the line to finish in in 38.127 seconds.
With Madden in the lead, it came down to Juan Pablo Gnecco and Silius Brown, and when he finished in an easy 44.021 seconds, it clinched the victory for Madden and the second place spot for Solem.
“I thought it was a great course. It’s a fantastic ring to ride in, especially I think for tomorrow this is going to be super for the World Cup Qualifier because the jumps come up quick like they do indoors,” Madden said. “The ends of the ring come up quickly, and I think that’s what you need to practice for indoors. Alan Wade, I’ve always been a fan of his. I think he does very fair but subtly difficult courses, and your horses usually jump better as the week goes on.”
Madden continued, “This event is super. I think we’ve been dying for an event like this down here just to have a little something different. I don’t think it hurts the other venue at all. They have plenty of customers at both. I think the specialty event is fantastic to have here. I think people will really welcome it, and they will keep it top notch and not concentrate on volume. They concentrate on volume a lot over there, and they don’t need to here. There’s a place for both. They have done such a fantastic job. It’s like a super European show. It’s nice to have some different jumps, it’s fresh.”
Solem echoed Madden’s sentiments closely, “The footing is perfect, and it’s such a beautiful day. Of all the miles that [VDL Torlando] has done, he just doesn’t have to anything that isn’t really nice, and this is really nice. The event is so nice, and he’s thrilled to be here. The footing is perfect. You just can’t say enough nice things. It’s such a fun show; it’s been great.”
Following Saturday’s class, Madden has sights set on bright future for Coach.
“He’s so talented that we could probably move him up fast, but because his experience level isn’t so big, I am going to try and play it a little cool,” Madden said. “If we end up in a 1.50m class by the end of circuit I’ll be very happy with that. Then after her leaves here he’ll be a little older, a little more mature, and ready to do some bigger classes.”
As for Solem, she will now turn her attention to Sunday’s $200,000 Longines FEI World CupTM Jumping Wellington with VDL Wizard.
“VDL Wizard is wild! I have to put red ribbon in his tail tomorrow,” Sollem laughed. “He was beside himself yesterday, so excited to show. I think McLain said in one of his interviews how important it is to give horses a break and that it’s a dying art. I gave him a break, and he’s come back so fresh! I think it will serve him well come spring into summer that I left him a little fresh coming today.”
The Wellington Masters will continue Saturday with the $20,000 Jumpers 1.40m Open Jumpers at 11 a.m. On Sunday, the day will kick-off at 7:30 a.m. with the 1.15 Open Jumpers, followed by the $200,000 Longines FEI World CupTM Jumping Wellington at 11 a.m.
A total of 14 athletes from the new Longines FEI World Cup™ North American league will qualify for the prestigious Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final, which will take place in Gothenburg, Sweden March 23-28. The top seven athletes from the East Coast U.S., the top three from the West Coast U.S. and the two best-placed athletes from Canada and Mexico, will qualify for the final, along with the winners of 15 other leagues around the world.
For more information, please visit wellingtonmastersworldcup.com.
Source: Emily Riden/Phelps Media Group