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Shane Sweetnam and Cobolt Capture $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 8

By on March 3, 2017

Shane Sweetnam and Cobolt. Photos © Sportfot.

McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z Top $25,000 Nutrena Jumper Classic; Scott Stewart Wins Tricolor Ribbon in CaptiveOne Green Hunter 3’3″

Wellington, FL – March 2, 2017 – It was an Irish victory on day two of CSIO 4* competition at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), as Shane Sweetnam and Cobolt captured the win in round eight of the Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Series at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.

Also competing earlier in the day, McLain Ward (USA) returned to the winner’s circle for week eight with a win aboard HH Carlos Z in the $25,000 Nutrena Jumper Classic.

This week’s edition of WEF Challenge Cup competition was held as a one-round speed class with 59 entries starting over Ken Krome’s (USA) course with ten clear rounds. Sweetnam, aboard his own and The Blue Buckle Group’s Cobolt, clocked the winning time of 69.13 seconds. The pair edged out Todd Minikus (USA) and Wyndmont’s Valinski S, who settled for second place in 69.91 seconds. Reigning World Champions Jeroen Dubbeldam (NED) and SFN Zenith, owned by Springpaarden Fonds Nederland and W. van der Ham, placed third in 71.43 seconds.

“He jumped great today,” Sweetnam said of Cobolt. “Obviously these classes are never easy, so it was great to win it. I was thinking I would get caught because we went in the first half of the class. Normally the second half, towards the end of the class, can get really hot. Leslie (Howard) was pretty quick at the end there, but luckily she knocked a fence.”

Describing his round, Sweetnam stated, “I think the course builder did a good job. There were a lot of numbers, and a couple of rollback turns that you could make up time. In the last line there was a leave-out, which I did take a chance there. That could really help you win or lose a class. I felt the course suited my horse beforehand, and then it did work out well.”

Eleven-year-old Cobolt is a Swedish Warmblood gelding sired by Sweetnam’s winning mount Cyklon 1083 (x Camaro M). Sweetnam admitted that although the gelding has many similarities to Cyklon, it took some time for the partnership to develop.

“He is similar to Cyklon. He looks similar and they have the same sort of attitude,” Sweetnam detailed. “He likes to go fast, and he is naturally quick. Cyklon is still going and I have a very special place for him. He has won everywhere, and I do not think there are many horses as good as Cyklon at what he does, so it is hard to compare them. We judge Cobolt as a different character.

“He is improving. He is getting better and better all the time,” Sweetnam said of the horse that he has only been riding for a year. “Sometimes it is easier to get a younger horse and develop them through because you get to know their buttons earlier. When you get an older horse that has done a bit with another rider, it can be hard to get them into your program. It honestly took me six months to really click with him, but since the start of the summer he has won a lot. Between Kentucky, Toronto, Tryon, and now here, he has had a great year.”

Ward Wins with HH Carlos Z

2016 Olympic team silver medalist McLain Ward (USA) returned to the winner’s circle during week eight at the Winter Equestrian Festival with a victory aboard veteran mount HH Carlos Z in Thursday’s $25,000 Nutrena Jumper Classic. Despite some time off due to an injury sustained in October, the speedy 15-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Chellano Z x Voltaire) was in fine form to top a field of 78 competitors.

Ken Krome (USA) set the course, which yielded 17 starters for the jump-off, and another ten clear entries over the short track. Spain’s Sergio Alvarez Moya and G&C Durania K were first to go in the jump-off, setting the pace with a clear round in 40.66 seconds to eventually finish third. Ward and Double H Farm’s pint-sized gelding soon took over the lead in 39.50 seconds. Later, Ireland’s Darragh Kenny jumped into second place with a time of 40.32 seconds riding Kerry Anne LLC’s Bolero III.

McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z

Following some recuperation for his injury, ‘Carlos’ started out in a few small classes this winter and came out ready to play on Thursday.

“We have just been giving him some time to heal and slowly getting him back,” Ward detailed. “This is the first time I have actually moved him up to a 1.45m event, so it was good.

“Carlos is a funny horse,” Ward continued. “He always feels a little bit like a pony, and then he steps up and does the job. He is just so fast everywhere. He felt like he got a bit stronger through the class today, and that is always a good sign.”

Commenting on his focus while getting Carlos back in top form, Ward added, “Funny enough, he is not a hot horse. He is actually a cold horse, and you have to really energize him. He is so careful, so I just try to keep him confident. He has been such a great speed horse over the years, and he anticipates everything, so you just have to monitor that a little bit.”

Also competing in the International Arena on Thursday, Katherine Strauss and All In won the $10,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix Series Welcome, and Christina Firestone (USA) and Arwen were victorious in the $1,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 1.40m.

Scott Stewart Wins Tricolor Ribbon in CaptiveOne Green Hunter 3’3″

Scott Stewart of Wellington, FL and Status, an entry owned by Rivers Edge, earned an impressive total of 40 points in the CaptiveOne Green Hunter 3’3″ division to win the championship title. Stewart piloted the gelding to two wins, as well as second and third place finishes over fences. The pair also won the under saddle.

“He’s really easy and laid back,” Stewart said of the coming six-year-old Oldenburg by Straviaty. “We bought him as a three-year-old. He did well in both the Pre-Green Incentive and Future Hunters class at Capital Challenge last year.”

Week eight is Status’ third show of the 2017 season. The gelding was reserve champion during weeks five and six in the same division.

Katherine Newman of Wellington, FL guided Dandelion, owned by Allwyn Court, Inc., to the reserve tricolor ribbon. The duo won an over fences, placed second in the other three jumping classes, and sixth under saddle. Dandelion is a 2006 Dutch Warmblood Mare by Heartbreaker.

“We imported her as a nine-year-old and took our time getting her in the ring,” Newman explained. “We started showing her in July of last summer in the Baby Greens. She moved up here at the start of circuit. She’s really laid back and is actually a huge tomboy, not mareish at all. She’s very easy and is really fun to ride.”

Newman was a successful junior rider in the equitation and jumper rings. As an aspiring professional, she runs Allwyn Court with her parents, Kathy and Gerry Newman.

Speaking of her winter circuit, Newman said, “I’ve had a great winter circuit here at WEF this year. I’m not as busy as a lot of the other people, but it’s been a really fun year so far!”

Competition at the Winter Equestrian Festival continues in the International Arena on Friday featuring the $10,000 Griffis Residential CSIO Speed Stake during the day and the $150,000 FEI Nations’ Cup CSIO 4* in the evening. The Young Hunter 3’6″ division will award championship honors in the Rost Arena. For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

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