Sam Walker and Waldo. Photo © Sportfot.
Wellington, FL — March 22, 2019 — Sam Walker of Nobleton, ON piloted Missy Clark’s and North Run’s Waldo to the win in the 12th Annual George H. Morris Excellence in Equitation Championship. Forty combinations of young equitation athletes and their mounts took to the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center on the evening of Friday, March 22, at the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Elli Yeager collected second place, Sophee Steckbeck was third, and Emma Fletcher rounded out the top four.
To qualify for the 12th Annual George H. Morris Excellence in Equitation Championship, each of the entries had to have previously won an equitation class during the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival circuit or during the 2018 Holidays & Horses circuit leading up to it. The competition was held in a three-round format with all participants contesting first-round course designed by Steve Stephens and Nick Granat. Only the top 15 were asked to return for the second phase in reverse order. Unlike a regular equitation class, the championship requires riders to turn off and hand in cell phones before its start and prohibits any interaction with trainers or staff. Riders were in charge of conducting their own course walk and schooling their own horses with the help of only one groom.
Ballard, Jayne, and Verswyvel Capture Spy Coast Farm Developing Jumper Series Classic Wins
Opening up Friday’s competition in the International Arena at the main grounds of PBIEC for the eleventh week of WEF, the Developing Jumper Series Classics, sponsored by Spy Coast Farm, offered top prize money and a chance to compete in the grand prix arena for up-and-coming equine show jumping stars.
There were 25 entries in the $20,000 Spy Coast Farm Seven-Year-Old Developing Jumper Series Classic, and 11 were clear to advance to the jump-off held at the end of the first round. Of those, seven were double clear. The fastest in the class was Maestro Vica v/d Ark, ridden by Erynn Ballard for owner Natalie Dean. They stopped the timers in 31.502 seconds for victory.
The $15,000 Spy Coast Farm Six-Year-Old Developing Jumper Classic hosted 25 entries as well, with nine clear and only two finding the path to a double clear finish. The fastest of those in 38.434 seconds – faster by 5.5 seconds – was Charlie Jayne riding his father Alex Jayne’s Virginia ODF.
The $10,000 Spy Coast Farm 5-Year-Old Developing Jumper Classic had 17 entries and was held in an immediate jump-off format. Eight were clear in their first round and went straight into their jump-off, where four were able to go double clear. With a leading time of 34.667 seconds, Jorge Verswyvel rode his own Majesty to victory.
Luiz Francisco de Azevedo and Collin Are Comeback Kids in $36,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Classic
Brazil’s Luiz Francisco de Azevedo brought his horse Collin back from the brink of slaughter to lead the victory gallop of the $36,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Classic CSI 4* on the Derby Field at Equestrian Village on Friday, March 22.
Germany’s Olaf Petersen, Jr. set the single-round speed track for 42 starters with 12 jumping clear, leaving the clock to decide their placings. Azevedo and Collin, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Colandro x Amethist), broke the timers in 63.90 seconds for the victory.
Azevedo bested Mexican rider Santiago Lambre, who finished on a time of 64.96 seconds for second riding Dingeman. U.S. rider Hunter Holloway took third with a time of 65.96 seconds aboard VDL Bravo S for owner Hays Investment Corp. Francisco Jose Mesquita Musa took fourth in 66 seconds on Filou Imperio Egipcio, owned by Haras Imperio Egipcio/Equivarandas, LDA, while Canada’s Erynn Ballard rode Z Diamanty to round out the top five in 66.23 seconds for owners The Z Group, Javier Salvador Stables, and Diamante Atelier.
For full results, please visit pbiec.coth.com.