Nick Skelton and Big Star Reign Supreme in $80,000 Adequan CSI 2* Grand Prix
Great Britain's Nick Skelton and Big Star triumphed in Saturday night's $80,000 Adequan CSI 2* Grand Prix during the fourth week of competition in the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Nineteen countries were represented in the world-class event with a record 81 starters, the largest recorded weekend grand prix field in WEF. Riders from Canada, Venezuela, Great Britain, the United States, Ireland, Germany, and Sweden made it to the jump-off with Skelton leading the way.
This year's Olympic Games course designer, Bob Ellis of Great Britain, set the track for tonight's 81 entries and skillfully narrowed the field down to ten for the jump-off. Skelton and Big Star, owned by Beverley Widdowson, were the clear winners with their faultless round over the short course in 45.93 seconds. Charlie Jayne (USA) and Alex Jayne's Urbanus were the only other pair to clear the jump-off course without fault, stopping the clock in 51.70 seconds for the second place prize.
Class winner Big Star is a nine-year-old KWPN stallion by Quick Star x Nimmerdor. Following the win Skelton spoke about his ride aboard the talented young horse in tonight's class, stating, "He jumped fantastic. I'm really pleased. He had one down in the WEF on Thursday, but I think he was a little bit rusty. He hadn't jumped for awhile. Today he was really very good. I'm very lucky to be riding him. I don't know what more to say really."
Photo: Sportfot Nick Skelton and Big Star
Skelton praised Bob Ellis on his course for the evening. "I'll be a bit biased really because he's from my country, but Bob's a great course builder," he smiled. "With 81 starters and he got 10 clear rounds, I think that was an amazing job. Fair play to him; he did a very good job. I thought there would have been 20. It was a good course."
Second place finisher Charlie Jayne agreed, stating, "Eighty-one in a class is a big number, I do agree. But I think if you look at the class tonight, I think everyone in there should have been in there. I think they all had a great shot and I think Bob Ellis did a fantastic job with the course. To only have 10 clear out of 81 with two star specs is great. Fences fell down from fence one to the skinny at the last fence. He did a fantastic job of not over-facing the younger horses but still causing errors at the right places."
Venezuela's Andres Rodriguez and Caballito, owned by Arao Enterprises LLC, finished with one rail in 46.06 seconds to place third behind the two double clears.
Final Results: $80,000 Adequan CSI 2* Grand Prix
1. BIG STAR: 2003 KWPN stallion by Quick Star x Nimmerdor
NICK SKELTON (GBR), Beverly and Gary Widdowson: 0/0/45.93
2. URBANUS: 1997 BWP gelding by Heartbreaker x Ramiro
CHARLIE JAYNE (USA), Alex Jayne: 0/0/51.70
3. CABALLITO: 2002 Holsteiner gelding by Contendro x Argentinus
ANDRES RODRIGUEZ (VEN), Arao Enterprises LLC: 0/4/46.06
4. GLORY DAYS: 2001 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Cardento 933 x Diamond Serpent
DANIEL ZETTERMAN (SWE), Springfield Showjumpers: 0/4/46.22
5. CORTES 'C': 2002 BWP gelding by Randel Z x Darco
BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Abigail Wexner: 0/4/46.34
6. BLUE LOYD 12: 2000 Oldenburg gelding by Landor S x Hadj Ax
CIAN O'CONNOR (IRL), Ashkirk Ltd. & Cian O'Connor: 0/4/46.39
7. AHORN VAN DE ZUUTHOEVE: 2002 Hanoverian gelding by Acorado x Calypso II
RICHIE MOLONEY (IRL), Equinimity LLC/Richie Moloney: 0/4/46.65
8. CELLA: 2002 BWP mare by Cento x Chin Chin
MARIO DESLAURIERS (USA), Jane F. Clark: 0/8/48.13
9. VIGARO: 2002 KWPN gelding by No Limit x Polydox
SARAH TREDENNICK (USA), Wood Run Farm: 0/8/49.84
10.BELLA DONNA 66: 2003 Holsteiner mare by Baldini II x Calido I
MEREDITH MICHAELS-BEERBAUM (GER), EOS Sport: 0/18/65.39
Full results here