Ashlee Bond and Chivas Z Find Key to Win the $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Classic
Wellington, FL – February 5, 2011 – The women have dominated the Nespresso Battle of the Sexes for three years now with another exciting win in Saturday evening’s dynamic competition. The women’s team, captained by Katie Prudent, and including riders Georgina Bloomberg, Ashlee Bond, Brianne Goutal, Lauren Hough, Maggie Jayne, Reed Kessler, Candice King, Laura Kraut, Christine McCrea, Catherine Pasmore, and Nicole Simpson, swept the three phase competition with 37 points over the men’s score of 25 to win their third title.
The evening’s attendance was approximately 6,500 people for the class at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. Equestrian Sport Productions CEO Mark Bellissimo stated, “This was a great event and we’re very thankful to the riders and their owners for supporting this class with their time and their horses. Special classes like this really grow our spectator base, which is one of our biggest goals at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival.”
The fourth week of the FTI WEF, sponsored by Adequan, continues through Sunday, February 6. The highlight jumper class left this week is Sunday’s $78,000 Adequan CSI 2* Grand Prix at 2 p.m. The 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of competition through April 3, 2011, and will be awarding more than $6 million in prize money through the circuit.
The first round of competition in tonight’s Nespresso Battle of the Sexes was the speed round, with a six to five win for the ladies. The men and women were tied up as the final competitors entered the ring, and Laura Kraut out jumped Nick Skelton by almost nine seconds to put the women on top.
Up next, the women won seven to four in the match races to bring the total to 13 points over nine. The final six-bar competition sealed the fate of the teams, with the women leading 24 to 16 to win over the men.
Michelle McFaul, Vice-President, Community Affairs and Special Events of Nespresso, was thrilled with the outcome of tonight’s competition and teased, “It is a total privilege for Nespresso to sponsor this class for the third year in a row. I am just fearful that this is the last year because the boys will not show up again!”
The youngest rider in tonight’s Battle of the Sexes competition at 16 years old, Reed Kessler was competing in the class for the first time and also showed in her first six bar this evening. Kessler and her trusty horse Flight earned points in both the speed and match race phases, and she rode Ligist through three clear rounds in the six bar.
A very excited Kessler beamed after the class. “It was so fun. I watched it last year and all I could think was how much I wanted to be on the team. My biggest fear as it got closer was that if I lost a point I would let my entire gender down,” she laughed.
“Both my horses were amazing,” she continued. “Flight is a total pro and Goose (Ligist) was awesome. I have never done a six bar and Goose has never done a six-bar. He got better and better and the last jump was literally over our heads. It was crazy!”
Also one of this evening’s youngest riders and showing in her first Nespresso Battle of the Sexes, 18-year-old Catherine Pasmore did extremely well. Pasmore earned a point in the speed round riding Nakano and then jumped clear through all four rounds in the six-bar aboard Vandavid to earn a special award for the most clear rounds. Pasmore’s trainer Laura Kraut had the fastest time overall in phases one and two and also won a special prize for her efforts.
“I was really nervous! I didn’t want to let all these important people down, but it was a lot of fun,” Pasmore said after the class. “I thought it would be a lot of pressure, but everybody was supporting each other.”
Pasmore explained that this was her horse Vandavid’s second time competing in a six-bar. “He did his first at the Holiday HorseFest, and he tied for the win. He’s so special and I love him,” she smiled. “I didn’t think they were going to put it up again, and then Laura said, ‘No, stay in!’ I thought she was crazy. I said I would give it a try and I cantered down to it. The second to last jump felt big enough to me, and then the last one was huge. It was over my head and it was over his head! I had my leg there, released, and he didn’t let me down. He jumped it easily; you wouldn’t even have known it was that big!”
Earlier in the afternoon, the $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Classic hosted 41 horse and rider combinations, and it was Ashlee Bond of Hidden Hills, CA, who rode Little Valley Farm’s Chivas Z to victory. Riding over a Richard Jeffery designed course, four were able to stay clear and advance to the jump-off.
In the shortened course, Navona Gallegos and No Fear, owned by Bar X Ranch LLC, went first and stopped the timers in 42.445 seconds with eight faults for fourth place. Rodrigo Pessoa and Champ 163, owned by Legacy Stables LLC, had four faults in the double combination. With a time of 38.691 seconds, they finished in third place.
Pablo Barrios and G&C Flash, owned by G&C Farm, set the first double clear round. They had a more conservative time in order to leave all the jumps up, in 41.455 seconds.
Knowing she needed to stay clear but beat Barrios’ time, Ashlee Bond put Chivas Z at a “medium-fast pace” and clocked around the jump-off with no faults in 39.393 seconds for the win.
Bond and Chivas Z have been consistently clear in major classes this circuit, but this is Bond’s first win in the “big ring” at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. “I think honestly I haven’t been doing well in the jump-offs. I’ve been going a little bit too crazy. I’ve been early in the jump-offs and there is Nick Skelton, McLain, Rodrigo, everyone behind me. I love to win and I put so much pressure on myself,” she explained.
For today’s jump-off, she stuck to her plan. “I knew that the first two had a rail, and I knew that Pablo went conservative. He went for the nice clear. I felt fairly good. You can always have a rail so easily, but speed wise I could go medium-fast, put in a positive round for my horse, and not go crazy, and try and go for the win. It worked out today,” she agreed. “It feels great!”
The 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival will conclude tomorrow with $78,000 Adequan Grand Prix, CSI 2* in the International Arena at 2 p.m.
Final Results: $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Classic
1 CHIVAS Z ASHLEE BOND LITTLE VALLEY FARM: 0/0/39.393
2 G&C FLASH PABLO BARRIOS G&C FARM: 0/0/41.455
3 CHAMP 163 RODRIGO PESSOA LEGACY STABLES LLC: 0/4/38.691
4 NO FEAR NAVONA GALLEGOS BAR X RANCH LLC: 0/8/42.445
5 DANTE LUIS ALEJANDRO PLASENCIA LUIS ALEJANDRO PLASENCIA: 1/79.108
6 METROPOLITAN VICTOR AMAYA GOTHAM ENTERPRIZES: 4/71.560
7 KATINA ENRIQUE GONZALEZ ENRIQUE GONZALEZ: 4/71.630
8 OBELIX 148 ENRIQUE GONZALEZ ENRIQUE GONZALEZ: 4/72.731
9 ANTARES F MCLAIN WARD GRANT ROAD PARTNERS: 4/74.040
10 PITAREUSA YANN CANDELE SUSAN GRANGE: 4/74.092
11 VANCOUVER KATHERINE DINAN KATIE DINAN LLC: 4/74.615
12 APACHE ASHLEE BOND LITTLE VALLEY FARM: 4/75.438
Final Results: Nespresso Battle of the Sexes
Women: 37 points
Chef d’Equipe – Katie Prudent
Men: 25 points
Chef d’Equipe – Henri Prudent
Nick Dello Joio
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