Marcelo Ciavaglia’s Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) debut got off to a strong start on Thursday, January 9, as the Brazilian rider earned a victory in the $35,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 1 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL.
WEF continues through March 29, 2020, with 12 consecutive weeks of world-class competition and $13 million dollars on offer. The first week of competition at WEF is sponsored by Wellington Regional Medical Center and features the crowd favorite $75,000 Battle of the Sexes, presented by Wellington Regional Medical Center, during “Saturday Night Lights” on January 11 at 7 p.m. in the International Arena.
Marcelo Ciavaglia and Conto. Photo © Sportfot
Ciavaglia and his longtime mount, Conto, were the very first of 44 entries to contest Thursday’s featured class. As the first of nine entries to qualify and return for the Eric Hasbrouck-designed short course, the pair would prove uncatchable. They posted a double-clear time of 35.069 seconds to secure them the win, while second place with a time of 35.838 seconds went to the USA’s Kristen Vanderveen and Bull Run’s Almighty, owned by Bull Run Jumpers Six LLC. Rounding out the top three was Canada’s Jonathon Millar who rode Valinski S, owned by Wyndmont, to a clear time of 36.006 seconds.
Ciavaglia is no newcomer to success with Conto; he’s been riding the 14-year-old Holsteiner stallion (Canto x C-Ingmar) since Conto was four. Ciavaglia is however a newcomer to not only WEF, but to the United States, as this year marks his very first visit.
“The ground is super, super good, and the course rode very well; I like it. It’s so modern,” said Ciavaglia of Thursday’s track. “I like everything – the horses, the people. Here, everybody is so nice with smiles always. I love it.”
Marcelo Ciavaglia and Conto in their winning presentation with ringmaster Steve Rector. Photo © Sportfot
Ciavaglia made the trip to Wellington, FL, at the recommendation of Brazilian show jumping Chef d’Équipe Philippe Guerdat, with his sights set on making the Brazilian team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
“Philippe Guerdat asked me to come to Wellington for the Nations Cup in February,” said Ciavaglia. “I have one month and a half to put Conto in order for the Nations Cup. I think he’s fine!”
Also winning in the International Arena at WEF on Thursday were Erynn Ballard (CAN) and Bente P in the $6,000 Bainbridge 1.40m, and Adrienne Sternlicht (USA) riding Cadans Z in the $8,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m.
Final Results: $35,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 1
1 CONTO: 2006 Holsteiner stallion by Canto x C-Ingmar
MARCELO CIAVAGLIA (BRA), Marcelo Ciavaglia: 0/0/35.069
2 BULL RUN’S ALMIGHTY: 2008 Hanoverian gelding by Caspar x Quidam de Revel
KRISTEN VANDERVEEN (USA), Bull Run Jumpers Six LLC: 0/0/35.838
3 VALINSKI S: 2002 KWPN gelding by Nijinski x Julius
JONATHON MILLAR (CAN), Wyndmont: 0/0/36.006
4 THE DIAMANT ROSE Z: 2011 Zangersheide mare by Toulon x Jaunty Daredevil
ERYNN BALLARD (CAN), Ilan Ferder: 0/0/39.111
5 BACARA D’ARCHONFOSSE: 2007 Belgian Warmblood mare by Asca Z x Kannan
CASSIO RIVETTI (BRA), Sloan Lindeman-Barnett: 0/4/34.905
6 FASTHER: 2010 KWPN gelding by Vigo d’Arsouilles x Farmer
LILLIE KEENAN (USA), Chansonette Farm LLC: 0/4/35.914
7 MR. VISTO: 2005 Holsteiner stallion by Levisto x Ariadus
LAUREN TISBO (USA), Tequestrian Farms, LLC: 0/4/36.184
8 CASCO 11: 2009 Holsteiner gelding by Caspar x Colman
LAUREN TISBO (USA), Tequestrian Farms LLC: 0/4/39.444
9 IBABCO: 2008 BWP stallion by Nebab de Reve x Darco
SANTIAGO LAMBRE (MEX), Santiago Lambre: 0/retired
10 VALDOCCO DES CAPS: 2009 Selle Français gelding by Numero One D’Iso x Quidam de Revel
CIAN O’CONNOR (IRL), Ronnoco Jump Ltd.: 1/79.377
11 KAYACK: 2010 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Thunder vd Zuuthoeve x Darco
JUAN MANUEL GALLEGO (COL), Juan Manuel Gallego: 2/80.733
12 ATIKA DES HAUTS VENTS: 2010 Selle Français mare by Rock ’n Roll Semilly
KATIE DINAN (USA), Grant Road Partners, LLC : 3/81.251