What We Can Learn from Last Year’s Melbourne Cup

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA.

The 2017 running of the Melbourne Cup was one for the ages. The thrilling finish between winner Rekindling and runner up Johannes Vermeer was the stuff of broadcasters’ dreams. Over 90,000 fans packed the Flemington Racecourse, with the atmosphere simultaneously tense and jubilant during the last few seconds of the race.


Rekindling’s win was the second Melbourne Cup victory for his jockey Corey Brown, who had also won the marquee event back in 2009 on Shocking. It also made six Melbourne Cup victories for owner Lloyd Williams, which is a record in the race.

However, the real headline stealer was Rekindling’s trainer, 24-year-old Joseph O’Brien. Being a son of a sporting legend like Aiden O’Brien is never an easy thing, but the younger O’Brien now has something that his father’s illustrious resume lacks – a Melbourne Cup victory. All the more remarkable given his young age.

Main protagonists should return for Melbourne Cup 2018

Despite being months away, the excitement has already started building for the 2018 Melbourne Cup. There are already early Melbourne Cup free bets available to use on the race and several major bookmakers have released their odds. The betting picture currently looks like this:

Johannes Vermeer 21.00
Rekindling 21.00
Ace High 26.00
Albert 26.00
Idaho 26.00
Stradivarius 26.00
Lord Fandango 26.00
Humidor 34.00
St Michel 41.00
Crocodile Rock 41.00

*Selected runners from Ladbrokes. Others available.

There are plenty of takeaways from the 2017 race that can be applied to betting on the 2018 event, however:

Williams is the owner to watch once again

As mentioned, Lloyd Williams now has a record six winners as an owner in the Melbourne Cup. He first tasted victory back in 1981 with Just a Dash. But, crucially for punters, his grip on the Cup has seems to have intensified in recent years. He is the owner of the last two winners, and four out of the last eleven have been in his colours.

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-ND

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rekindling and Johannes Vermeer could have special rivalry

The finish to the 2017 race was spectacular. Johannes Vermeer can count himself very unlucky not to have crossed the line ahead of Rekindling, which is evident in the fact that they are neck and neck in the betting markets for 2018. However, for the neutral, it will be wonderful to see them renew their rivalry across the season, culminating in another battle for the Melbourne Cup in November. They should both be at the forefront of punters’ minds when it comes to the betting.

Foreign trained horses becoming the norm

Eight out of the top ten finishers in the 2017 Melbourne Cup were foreign-trained. While it is common sense to follow the horses of the O’Briens, there are other ‘tourists’ who are keen to leave their mark on the event. Willie Mullins, who is at the forefront of jumps racing in the UK and Ireland, had three well-placed runners in the race – Max Dynamite (3rd), Thomas Hobson (6th) and Wicklow Brave (10th). Despite spending the majority of his time training horses for national hunt events, Mullins is a driven winner who will be keen to add a Melbourne Cup to his long list of achievements. Keep an eye on him.

Season III of Longines Masters Series Makes Thrilling Ride through Asia

Photo: Patrice Delaveau and Aquila HDC.

Looks to Its Final Stop in New York

New York – February 13, 2018 – The Longines Masters of Hong Kong, the second leg of the international equestrian series that stops in Paris, Hong Kong, and New York, came to a dramatic conclusion on Sunday after three days of incredible competition on February 9-11. After his victory in the Masters One event on Day 1, Daniel Deusser from Germany competed in the Longines Grand Prix with his eyes set on the Grand Slam Indoor title and super bonus of €2.25 million, achieved by winning three consecutive Longines Grand Prix in Paris, Hong Kong and New York, in the same season.

Presented by Title Partner & Official Timekeeper Longines, the Longines Grand Prix boasted over 1.60m obstacles and offered the biggest prize purse of the weekend, a total of US $382,800. Twenty riders from 12 countries competed for the title over two rounds, with the 20 riders whittled down to 12 for the jump-off. Of the 12, only five riders cleared both rounds without faults including the Australian Jamie Kermond who placed fourth on Yandoo Oaks Constellation and Michael Whitaker on Calisto Blue who finished fifth.

The competition was close as Patrice Delaveau snatched victory on Aquila HDC from the Austrian Max Kühner on Cielito Lindo 2 by just 0.07 seconds in the jump-off, followed by the Longines Grand Prix of Paris winner Daniel Deusser from Germany on Cornet D’Amour only 0.08 seconds behind Kühner for a third place finish. Following this victory, Patrice Delaveau has a chance to collect the Grand Slam Indoor bonus of €1 million if he can win the Longines Grand Prix at the final leg of the current season of the Longines Masters Series, in New York, and follow it up with a win in Paris at the start of the 2018-19 season.

Jump Media | jennifer@jumpmediallc.com | Jump Media | 12788 W. Forest Hill Blvd. Suite 2005 | Wellington, FL 33414

After Hosting NTRL Finals, Jacksonville Equestrian Center Gears Up for More Crowd Pleasing Events

Photo courtesy of SDPhoto.

Jacksonville, FL (February 12, 2018) – The momentum remains strong at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center (JEC), a world-class facility that hosts a wide variety of events and leisure gatherings – from equestrian competitions to BMX biking – each year. Over the four days of January 25-28, riders attending the NTRL (National Team Roping League) National Finals got down to business at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, while competing on world-class arena footing and enjoying the many amenities the center has to offer. With over $500,000 in cash and prizes at stake, competitors from around the U.S and the league’s top contenders in the sport of team roping displayed high speed teamwork and “edge of your seat” excitement.

“This was our biggest finals yet!” exclaimed Katie Smith. “We finished the weekend with 2,559 teams, a cash payout of $425,000, and a prize line payout of $90,000. Not only was this the biggest payout yet at the finals, it’s also the largest ever East of the Mississippi.”

After hosting the NTRL Finals at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center for 13 straight years, the league remains dedicated to the center. Located about 12 miles east of downtown Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center’s 400-plus permanent stalls and huge indoor coliseum, which includes a 123,000 square foot arena with permanent seating for 3,700, makes the center a perfect choice for NTRL competitions.

“We really love having our finals here,” Smith added. “There are plenty of stalls and RV hookups to accommodate everyone. The whole facility is top notch; the location is central and great for us. We ran a second arena outside this year that allowed us to run more teams in less time. Once that arena is covered, those advantages will become even bigger without the weather factoring in.”

Also held in January, the Pals and Paws Dog Agility Club, a group of dog agility lovers from the Jacksonville, Orange Park, and surrounding areas, came together to enjoy this wonderful canine sport. The club hosts four trials each year – open to all breeds – and has a top-notch practice field for use by members and to host weekly classes. Pals and Paws, which began in the early 1990s, will offer agility enthusiasts another chance to catch the dogs in action at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center in late March. As always, spectator admission and parking are free of charge.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center also has a variety of must-see events scheduled during the month of February.  From February 13-15, Construction Career Day, designed to introduce school students to the wide range of career opportunities available to them in the construction industry in a hands-on environment.

For equine enthusiasts, The First Coast Classical Dressage show, a schooling show attended by First Coast group members but open to the general public from 8a.m.-5p.m., will take place in the Dixon Square Arena on Saturday and Sunday, February 17-18. The Florida Paint Horse Club hosts the Zone 9 Southern Classic February 16-18 from 8a.m.-8p.m., featuring horses who display their unique splashes of color and all round athleticism in a variety of classes. Next up is the Florida Reining Horse Association Florida Classic, Feb 21-25, offering Open and Non-pro Derbies as well as many super classes for rookies and green reiners, show times 8 a.m.-8p.m. daily.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center looks forward to welcoming a variety of crowd-pleasing events to its facility throughout the winter and spring months. Plans are also in place to enhance the facility with even more additions and construction projects in the future. The facility hosts a wide range of popular, family-friendly gatherings throughout the year, such as car shows, family fun days, dog agility trials, bicycling events, and equestrian competitions for every breed and riding discipline. For nature lovers, the property also features miles of hiking and riding trails as well as a picnic pavilion.

Known for its extensive amenities and ideal location only a short drive to the city and beautiful beaches, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center’s 80-acre facility includes two outdoor 36,000 square foot show rings, four permanent barns, 422 stalls, 78 full hook up RV spaces, indoor and outdoor vendor spaces, and access to an Olympic sized swimming pool. For more information and to learn more about upcoming events, please visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Tim Jones
904-255-4215
tjones@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

Katherine Bateson Chandler Scoops Final Grand Prix in Week Five at AGDF

Katherine Bateson Chandler (USA) and Alcazar. Photo Credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – February 11, 2018 – It was an all-American podium in the Grand Prix Special CDI3*, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty. It was spearheaded by Katherine Bateson Chandler riding Alcazar on the final day of week five of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

The top three were unaltered from the grand prix, but the winner of that class, Shelly Francis, had to settle for second place on this occasion. It was extremely close between the top two, with just 0.17% separating them. Uncharacteristic mistakes in Francis and Danilo’s test curtailed their usually high score to 69.298%. Anna Marek and Dee Clair – who at 10 was the youngest horse in the field – were third with their highest yet international grand prix score, 68.085%.

Bateson Chandler and the 13-year-old Alcazar, who is owned by Jane Forbes Clark and survived a colic operation in July 2016, were recording their first win since topping the CDI4* freestyle class at last year’s AGDF. The pair spent the summer, as they do each year, at British Olympic gold medalist Carl Hester’s barn in Britain, with Bateson Chandler even lending Alcazar to Hester for him to win the British national grand prix champion title on him in September.

“I was second in the grand prix on Thursday, and that always makes you dig a little deeper,” said Bateson Chandler, 42. “It’s been a long journey with ‘Lonzie’. I’ve been riding him since he was six and he’s been a fun horse to bring to grand prix. The biggest thing we’re always striving for as riders is to find that positive tension in the ring. You get negative tension or not enough tension and I’m finding that I’m starting to get there now with the positive tension – but it takes years.”

Although Forbes Clark was able to watch her horse win, Bateson Chandler’s trainer, Carl Hester, had to fly home before the special on Sunday.

“They changed the schedule so I ended up being a bit on my own today, but he gave me my marching orders – to make sure Lonzie is in front of the leg, to not go too fast – and to win!” said Bateson Chandler. “Carl is my go-to guy; I’m lucky to have him as a very good friend as well as a trainer. I whine to him a lot and he’s my sounding board; he’s so cool and sensible, and always has the right answers that makes sense. He gets it because he’s had his own ups and downs over the years and knows how it is to be both at the top and the bottom. I can’t thank him enough.”

The next stop for the pair is the Palm Beach Dressage Derby, which runs March 1-4 during AGDF week seven.

“I’ll probably do the two other shows after that at Global, too,” she added. “Then we’ll go back to Carl’s in April for the summer and make a plan with him from there. I would love to make the World Equestrian Games team, of course – that’s everybody’s goal this year – but we’ve also had a lot of fun doing Nations Cup teams. And now Lonzie’s getting quite consistent; I think he makes himself a good candidate. It’s pretty exciting for the future.”

Jennifer Baumert (USA) made it a clean sweep of the week’s small tour CDI3* classes by winning the Intermediate I Freestyle, presented by Rowan O’Riley. She rode Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Juliano’s 13-year-old Handsome, by Hochadel, to 75.958%.

They have not been beaten in their last six competitive starts. And all 14 of the international tests in their career – which began a year ago – have been at the AGDF. Their test featured inventive lines, including both sets of flying changes on a steeply curving line. Baumert finished almost 5% clear of second placed compatriot Yvonne de Haan, who scored 71.125% on Winter. Canada’s Tom Dvorak finished third, riding Cyrus to 71%.

It was the first-drawn rider in the 17-strong Intermediate I CDI1* who clinched the winner’s sash: American rider Tina Konyot coaxed 69.657% out of the nine-year-old Diamantino II. This was only the fifth international test for the PSD Partners LLC’s son of Desperados, and his first win. It was another son of Kristina Sprehe’s stallion Desperados who clinched second: Germany’s Michael Klimke partnered the eight-year-old Harmony’s Diabolo to 68.676%. Third place went to the Norwegian rider Alexandra Gamlemshaug Andresen, who scored 68.235% on her own nine-year-old Empire B, by Sting.

For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Paul O’Shea and Imerald van’t Voorhof Save Best for Last in $50k Equiline Grand Prix CSI 2*

Paul O’Shea and Imerald van’t Voorhof. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – February 11, 2018 – Wrapping up Sunday’s competition, Paul O’Shea (IRL) and Imerald van’t Voorhof won the $50,000 Equiline Grand Prix CSI 2*.

There were 43 entries in the $50,000 Equiline Grand Prix CSI 2*, and 11 of those went clear to the jump-off. The fastest in the second round was the last to go, Paul O’Shea (IRL) and Imerald van’t Voorhof, owned by Tequestrian Farms LLC. They left out strides across the course to finish in 36.84 seconds.

Second place went to fellow Irishman Conor Swail on GK Coco Chanel, owned by Vanessa Mannix, in 38.24 seconds. Rebecca Conway (USA) and Salitos 8, owned by HBC Sport Horses, were third in 38.55 seconds.

McLain Ward and Bellefleur PS Z Win Second Class of the Week

In their second victory of the week, McLain Ward and Bellefleur PS Z won the $70,000 Hollow Creek Farm 1.50m Classic CSI 5* over a field of 55 entries. There were 17 that advanced to the jump-off, and it was race for the nine double-clear rides. With the fastest time in the class of 35.93 seconds, Ward and Bellefleur PS Z graced the winner’s circle. The pair also won Friday’s $35,000 Bainbridge 1.45m Classic.

Second place went to Francisco Jose Mesquita Musa (BRA) on Catch Me Imperio Egipicio, owned by Daniel Aguiar Morelli, who stopped the timers in 37.09 seconds. Eve Jobs (USA) and her own Charleville were third in 38.19 seconds.

UHealth Junior Hunter 3’3” 16-17 Division Championship Goes to Erin Floyd aboard Cymplify

Week five came to a close on Sunday with a fantastic championship win by Erin Floyd from Austin, TX and Cymplify, owned by Don Stewart, in the UHealth Junior Hunter 3’3” 16-17 division. The duo, having only been paired together for a few short weeks, gathered enough points to best the class with a first, first, second, and third over fences.

“He basically feels like a rocking horse going around the ring,” said Floyd of the 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding. “I have only been showing him in the [Junior Hunter] 3’3”s for the past couple weeks, so I’m still getting used to him. He has been great throughout it all, even without getting in a perfect work routine.”

Equestrian Sport Productions | 561-793-JUMP | news@equestriansport.com | www.PBIEC.com

Nassar and Lordan Shine Again with Second Longines Victory in Thermal

Photo: Nayel Nassar and Lordan. (FEI/Glen Burgess)

Madden’s Cross Country Trip More Than Worthwhile

Two years ago, Nayel Nassar (EGY) won the World Cup qualifier at Thermal (USA) with his then 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding Lordan. In 2018, the partnership returned to form with a second victory in the desert, as the duo won the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping™ Thermal, the final leg of the west coast sub league of the North American League.

Six combinations cleared the Alan Wade (IRL) designed track in the first round, and all produced a second clear effort in the jump-off. Beezie Madden (USA) and Breitling LS led early with a time of 39.92 seconds, but Nassar and Lordan, who also won the World Cup qualifier at Wellington (USA) last season, sped past them by nine-tenths of a second, crossing the timers in 39.02 seconds. Mandy Porter (USA) and Milano, who won the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Sacramento (USA) in October, rounded out the top three with their 40.56-second time.

He’s such a trier,” Nassar said. “We know each other so well at this point, and we have a good partnership to get us through all the little intricacies in the courses.”

“He is such a trier! We have a good partnership to get us through all the little intricacies in the courses.” — Nayal Nassar (EGY)

Nassar said that Lordan’s naturally shorter stride might have played to his advantage in the jump-off, because he maintained a forward pace from the start.

“The first line was way more forward for me than anyone else,” Nassar said. “So, I was already faster there, and [also] probably on the turn back to the last line. I took a pretty big risk there. I jumped the double [from] right to left, and I could see all the tracks [from the other horses], and I was way inside there, and I just found the first shot out of the corner.”

After competing in Wellington last week, Madden made the cross-country journey from Florida to California to compete at Thermal. The trip proved worthwhile, because Madden’s runner-up finish jumped her from 11th to third in the east coast sub league standings of the North American League, which should put her safely in position for qualification to the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Paris (FRA) in April.

“I didn’t do that many World Cup [qualifiers] in the fall,” Madden said. I needed some more chances to get points. My plan might be to take him and one other [horse to Paris].”

The final leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League will take place on the east coast at Live Oak Plantation in Ocala (USA) on Sunday 18 March 2018.

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Adrienne Lyle Captures Five-Star Win in Week Five at AGDF

Adrienne Lyle and Salvino. Photo Credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – February 10, 2018 – Adrienne Lyle and Salvino improved on their Grand Prix performance from Thursday to ride an error-free test and win the Grand Prix Special CDI5*, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors, on Saturday, February 10, at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF).

Lyle and 11-year-old Salvino cruised to victory with 75.319%, representing a new personal best high score for the pair. The top three in the class represented a clean podium sweep for the U.S.A. in the fifth week of AGDF at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

“I was thrilled with him today,” said Lyle, who trains with Debbie McDonald and rides the Sandro Hit stallion for owner Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Juliano. “It means a ton to win the five-star special; this is huge, especially on a horse who we haven’t even been competing a full year at this level. In the grand prix he was running a little bit through my aids, so today we took the time to make him stay back and wait. He felt like he was right with me throughout the whole test. If he understands what you want, he always does it for you. He has tremendous potential that we’re only just beginning to tap into.”

Australian judge Susan Hoevenaars agreed, saying: “There was so much harmony and it was a joy to judge.”

The winner of the grand prix, Olivia LaGoy-Weltz, had to settle for second place on her own Lonoir, a 14-year-old gelding by De Noir, logging 72.851%.

“The goal is clean rides, but I left the ones [the one-time changes] in the warm-up,” she said. “We did a super line right before we went in, but I think we were both a bit over-heated. I was super proud of him; the quality level is coming up and everyone has full confidence that the consistency is going to fall into place. When it does, it’s going to be pretty cool.”

Third placed Arlene ‘Tuny’ Page was pleased to be able to put two sub-70% scores on Woodstock at AGDF in January behind her, and her ever-improving performances elevated her from seventh in the grand prix.

“I was happy with how my horse presented himself and with the quality of his gaits,” she said of the 15-year-old gelding by Havel. “This is only our fourth test back this season and it’s taken four rides to get him back and for him to wait for me. Now it’s a question of developing more inner calmness in the next two months as he settles into the routine again.”

In the Intermediate I CDI3*, presented by Rowan O’Riley, the U.S.A.’s Jennifer Baumert and Handsome were once again the only combination rewarded with over 70% – exactly as per their prix st georges win on Wednesday.

Baumert was also riding a horse owned by Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Juliano, this one a 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Hochadel x Weltmeyer. She was the unanimous winner for all five judges, scoring 70.941%.

For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Daniel Bluman and Ladriano Z Top the $384k Fidelity Investments Grand Prix CSI 5* at WEF

Daniel Bluman and Ladriano Z. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – February 10, 2018 – In the first five star grand prix of the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) circuit, Daniel Bluman (ISR) and Ladriano Z, owned by Over The Top Stables LLC, rose to the top of the class in the $384,000 Fidelity Investments® Grand Prix on Saturday, February 10, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

There were 40 entries in the grand prix, contesting a challenging course set by Kelvin Bywater of Great Britain in front of a jam-packed stadium of show jumping fans. Just two were clear to advance to the jump-off.

First into the ring for the second round was FEI World Cup Finals winner and Olympic silver medalist Beat Mändli of Switzerland riding Dsarie, a 10-year-old KWPN mare by Veron x Ahorn owned by Grand Road Partners GmbH. They laid the gauntlet with a clear round in a time of 40.47 seconds, with Dsarie giving her customary bucks after going through the timers.

Knowing what he had to beat, Bluman and Ladriano Z, a 10-year-old Zangersheide gelding by Lawito x Baloubet du Rouet, went for the win straight from the first fence. They shaved just enough time off to gallop home in a winning time of 39.43 seconds.

Emma Kurtz and A Million Reasons Capture Championship Tricolor Ribbon in Small Junior Hunter 16-17 Division

Emma Kurtz of Hudson, OH piloted her mount A Million Reasons, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, to the top of the class in week five’s Small Junior Hunter 16-17 division. The duo claimed three blue ribbons over fences and an additional blue in the under saddle.

Having been paired with the 13-year-old Holsteiner mare for the first time at the beginning of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) this year, Kurtz expressed her admiration for her new mount.

Equestrian Sport Productions | 561-793-JUMP | news@equestriansport.com | www.PBIEC.com

Laura Graves Unleashes Phenomenal New Freestyle in Five Star Week at AGDF

Photo Credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – February 9, 2018 – Laura Graves’ brand-new freestyle rocketed her and Verdades to the top of the list in the Grand Prix Freestyle CDI5*, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors. The 30-year-old American scooped the $35,400 winner’s prize under the lights in week five of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

In front of a packed grandstand and VIP pavilions, Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén was second, with local rider Shelly Francis climbing a place from the grand prix to finish third.

Graves said: “It was the first run-through of the new canter tour of our freestyle. Even though we’re not using the new FEI floorplan creator here tonight, it’s a big part of my preparation for the World Cup Final in Paris as it will be used in the final. We’ve actually taken away a bit of risk as the changes aren’t off a curved line, because you actually don’t gain as many points as you do for doubling up on the pirouettes, so it ended up being a little bit of a math equation.

“Big thanks to Terry Gallo who always steps in when I have a last minute ‘great’ idea. I couldn’t do it without her and I was super pleased with how the music turned out. We have a couple of little tweaks to work on before our next performance at Global,” she added.

“For once all the judges were in agreement,” said Enzo Truppa, the Italian judge at C. “I was particularly impressed by Laura’s half-passes, and she got very high marks from me.”

Graves and 16-year-old Verdades, who are ranked fourth in the world, scored 84.375%. That was just 0.3% lower than their winning score at the CDIW* AGDF show two weeks ago – quite a feat for a brand-new freestyle that they had barely practiced.

“I had only actually ridden through it once at home, and that was for Terry to get the timing, so I need to do my homework a little better,” she admitted.

Second-placed Vilhelmson-Silfvén said of her ride, Lövsta Stuteri’s 15-year-old Don Primero gelding: “There was quite an atmosphere tonight; it suits him very well to have that kind of surroundings, so he felt the best today that I’ve had him this season. I’m very happy.”

Francis’ horse Doktor, Patricia Stempel’s 15-year-old by Diamond Hit, was also lit up by the busy atmosphere: “He was sneezing and snorting when he realized he was doing the freestyle. Things smoothed out, but during a piaffe at one end, the audience started clapping, and I thought, ‘Oh my God, please don’t clap; he’s frightened of clapping!’ But we managed to keep it together. He was so full of energy, really bouncing off the ground.”

Allyn Mann of title sponsor Adequan® said: “It seems like a lifetime ago when the founding partners and Mark Bellissimo were thinking about how to bring dressage to this community, and I think this beautiful night is what that vision was. There was an unbelievable electricity, with all the people wanting to see the finest riders and horses.”

Amanda S. Luby of class sponsor CaptiveOne Advisors added: “We are so thrilled to be a part of the ongoing evolution of the sports of dressage and showjumping. For a local business to be associated with the journey these athletes are on was extraordinary tonight.”

In the Grand Prix Freestyle CDI3*, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty, Dominican Republic rider Yvonne Losos de Muñiz proved that her grand prix win on Foco Loco W was no fluke. On her own 13-year-old Belgian warmblood gelding by Sierappel, she won the class with 74.35% – including a high score of 77% from the U.S. judge, Janet Foy.

“To be honest, I’m a bit speechless still. I’m still trying to soak it all in. It’s been going so incredibly,” she said. “Two weeks ago I did well with him, and to come back and repeat it and get a little better is just fantastic. I really have no words.”

Losos de Muñiz rode to music put together by Canadian Karen Robinson.

“Tonight I was able, especially in the trot, to really hit the cues. I came in and sat back and he came up in front of me, and I said, ‘OK, here we go’. He floated around and felt fabulous. The music is really strong, but he is such a big horse that he can carry the music no problem.”

Spain’s young talent Juan Matute Guimon finished second on Don Diego Ymas (73.4%), with Canada’s Megan Lane filling third on San D’Or with 71.85%.

Of the 18 starters in the Prix St Georges CDI1*, it was Great Britain’s Susan Pape and the expressive and uphill Harmony’s Eclectisch who nosed ahead with 71.029%. Each of the five judges awarded the pair over 70%. The nine-year-old KWPN stallion by Zenon have taken their small tour classes by storm this season, winning all three of his tests so far at AGDF.

For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Nicky Henderson Remains Tight Lipped about Terrefort’s Cheltenham Chances

The Cheltenham Festival is looming ever closer, and champion trainer Nicky Henderson has more at stake than anyone. Over the past 40 years, he has trained countless Cheltenham winners, and 2018 looks set to be no different – he has trained three of the favorites from the four showcase festival races.

But while Might Bite, Buveur D’Air and Altior have dominated the racing media to date, there is a growing question mark over one of the most promising five-year-olds in racing. Will the exciting Terrefort even take to the track at this year’s festival?

The view from bookmakers and tipsters

Despite still being a month away, there are new tips available every day in the run up to Cheltenham. The team at Cheltenham Fest provide expert insight for all the races, and feel that the real drama will come from the support races, such as the RSA Chase on Ladies’ Day, and the JLT Novices Chase, which is the first race of the day on Thursday. Both are races in which Terrefort is provisionally entered, but Henderson has warned that this highly promising gelding might miss the festival entirely.

About Terrefort

Henderson is a man who knows a winning horse when he sees one, and Terrefort could be something very special. He only took over training the horse a month ago, but has already seen him win twice, at Huntingdon and Sandown. The Sandown win, in particular, was impressive, and Henderson will be careful not to overwork the youngster.

Henderson commented that Terrefort needs to run on soft ground to avoid risk of injury. He complemented the owners, saying they support his decision either way and added: “He has surprised us a lot, and it might be worth looking after him a bit.”

Who to back?

If Henderson decides to keep Terrefort back till Cheltenham 2019, which horses are the ones to watch in the RSA Chase and the JLT Novice Chase? The Anthony Honeyball trained Fountains Windfall is the horse that has attracted all the early discussion. He beat some high-quality opposition at Kempton last month, to win by five lengths in the 32Red.com Handicap Chase. Bookmakers are now quoting 8/1, and the odds are ever-shortening. Monalee, trained by Henry De Bromhead, is another to watch, after a fabulous win at the Dublin Festival last week.

As for the JLT Novice Chase on St Patrick’s Day, punters, bookmakers and tipsters are all eyeing up Willoughby Court. Trained by Ben Pauling, this horse is undoubtedly another star for the future, and if he doesn’t go up against Terrefort this time around, there will be plenty more opportunities. A six-year-old gelding, he shocked everyone with some big wins at Warwick and Cheltenham last year. The latter was one of the classic races of 2017, as he and Neon Court slugged it out all the way for a near photo finish. Bookmakers have already slashed their odds to 4/1, making him the runaway favorite.

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