Wellington, Fla. — Feb. 28, 2018 — Nations Cup week at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) kicked off at 8 a.m. with the first section of the $5,000 Lugano Diamonds Welcome Stake. A field of 48 athletes from varying nations took to the course including veteran show jumpers McLain Ward, Markus Beerbaum, and Jimmy Torano. Despite the stiff competition, it was american athlete Todd Minikus who took the late speed lead aboard Victorio 5.
The class was designed as a one-round speed course and all rankings of the class were decided strictly on the faults accumulated over the one course. Time allowed was a big issue during the morning’s track as the field saw nine riders successfully tackle all of the obstacles only to be lowered in ranking by the clock. Many of the teams taking the field were utilizing the class as a schooling event for Saturday night’s $150,000 FEI Nations Cup CSIO 4* as seen by the fact that a handful of athletes opted to cut their rounds short by piloting their mounts over the open water option after they were successful over the first several fences and felt the horses were confident in the ring. Despite many time issues, close to 20 competitors navigated a fault-free round but none as successfully as Minikus and Victorio 5.
Minikus and the Plain Bay Sales’ 12-year-old Hanoverian Stallion (Uccello x Graefin) took to the course only 10 horses before the end of the class, but effortlessly swept away the lead with a blazing time of 63.90 seconds. The pair overtook the victory from fellow U.S athlete Laura Chapot with a seemingly impossible 5 second lead over her time of 67.45 seconds. Chapot and the 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare (Varo x Friedas Ramona), Cybel II, bested out Winn Alden who had held the lead for almost the entirety of the class, by less than half a second.
Last to enter the ring was Colombian representative Roberto Teran aboard Selecto VH Kapelhof, a 10-year-old Zangersheide (Stakkatol x D Day Van’t Kapelhof) gelding owned by Brooke Gunther. Teran split the American 1-2 finish by clearing the final obstacle in an efficient 66.63 seconds.
Section B competition of the $5,000 Lugano Diamonds Welcome Stake continued at 6:45 p.m. in the International Ring and saw Canadian athlete Erynn Ballard with the Ilan Ferder-owned Catoki’s Son Z claim the top honors.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE:
Todd Minikus — $5,000 Lugano Diamonds Welcome Stake Winner
On having the ride on Victorio 5:
“He belongs to Plain Bay Sales which is the Prudent family, and it’s really an honor to ride for them because they are just a fantastic horse family. Yesterday his owner said try and win because it would hopefully set him up well for tomorrow’s WEF Challenge class so I was just trying to do what I was told and it worked out. I’ve ridden him for a couple of weeks now and he’s the kind of horse that’s just a pure winner at heart.”
On the course:
“The time allowed has been tight in every ring all day and I think that’s really setting the pace for the rest of the Nation’s Cup week and will probably carry on into the weekend.”
$5,000 Lugano Diamonds Welcome Stake
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / R1 Faults | Time
1.Victorio 5 / Todd Minikus / USA / 0 | 63.9
2.Selecto VH Kapelhof / Roberto Teran, Jr / COL / 0 | 66.63
3.Cybel II / Laura Chapot / USA / 0 | 67.45
4.Stealing Home / Winn Alden / USA / 0 | 67.72
5.Fantast / Erynn Ballard / CAN / 0 | 68.39
6.Horst Van De Mispeleare / Darragh Kenny / IRL / 0 | 71.73
7.Malbec / Lisa Carlsen / CAN / 0 | 71.91
8.Rmf Echo / Denis Lynch / IRL / 0 | 74.54
9.Balou Du Reventon / Jorge Matte Capdevila / CHI / 0 | 74.54
10.Charmed / Markus Beerbaum / GER / 0 | 75.6
11.It’s Real Love VD Smis Z / Emily Moffitt / GBR / 0 | 75.66
12.Verdi O’merveilles / Paulo Stewart / BRA / 0 | 76.94
For a full list of results, click here.