Olivier Philippaerts and H&M Ikker. Photo © Sportfot.
Wellington, FL — February 15, 2018 — It was the 24-year-old Belgian rider Olivier Philippaerts (BEL) who triumphed over 53 fellow competitors to take the $35,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 6 in week six of the 12-week 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).
Aboard the 10-year-old gelding H&M Ikker — who is still owned by his breeder Roger Van Nuffelen — Philippaerts posted a blistering 37.61 seconds to take an unassailable lead. Second-placed Francisco Musa (BRA) and Catch Me Imperio Egipicio were almost two seconds adrift, with the only other clear in the jump-off coming from American rider Callan Solem (Davidson), who finished third. The course designer for CSI competition this week is Ana Catlina Harris of Mexico.
Philippaerts, who is 24 and competing at WEF for the first time, said: “I watched the first [jump-off] round, but decided to just go my own round and see where I ended up; luckily it was fast enough today. He turns very well in the jump-off, which is what makes him quite fast.”
Mitchell, Stewart, and Colvin Win Double Championships in WCHR Week
Brady Mitchell and King of Blue, a six-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding by Bravour, were second, third, and fourth over fences and second in the under saddle to also claim the championship in one section of the Equine Tack & Nutritionals Green Hunter 3’6″.
Mitchell and his mount, Seaside, owned by Eliza Kimball, won the Heathman Farm Performance Hunter 3’6” Section A championship after they placed first in the under saddle and first, second, and third over fences.
Mitchell has placed third, fourth, and fifth in the Hunter Spectacular at WEF, but is still searching for a win, saying, “I am dying to win it; it’s like the Aachen of hunters.”
Scott Stewart took home two championship wins today aboard Catch Me, owned by Gochman Sport Horses LLC, in the Antares Sellier France High Performance Working Hunter division, and aboard Lucador, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, in the High Performance Conformation Hunter division.
Catch Me, an 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding, was champion last week in the WEF 5 Amateur Owner Hunter Over 35 with Becky Gochman, and continued to impress the judges into week six as Stewart piloted the grey to first place in the High Performance Working Hunter under saddle. The pair was first, first, and second over fences.
Victoria Colvin was named champion in one section of week six’s Marshall & Sterling Insurance Performance Working Hunter 3’3” division. Colvin and her mount, For Ever, owned by Victoria Colvin LLC, were first, first, and second over fences.
Colvin, who has had the six-year-old gelding for a few years now, emerged from her championship presentation in ring seven and hopped on the young Holsteiner bareback with a big smile on her face.