Wellington, Fla. — Mar. 5, 2020 — Week Nine of the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) continued on Thursday, March 5 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), brining top athletes from around the world to the International Arena for the third week of 5* competition throughout the 12-week event. With only four remaining weeks of WEF, a permanent fixture on the schedules of many professional and amateur show jumping athletes, several horse-and-rider combinations were hungry for a win at the esteemed venue. In the end, Spencer Smith and Theodore Manciais (USA) clinched the champion title out of a field of 53 pairs in the $137,000 Equinimity WEF Cup Round IX CSI5*.
Ireland’s Alan Wade set the 5* track for the Thursday morning class. Thirteen obstacles made up the arduous course, including a triple combination that proved to be especially intricate as many pairs fell victim to the three 1.55m fences to roll at least one rail to the ground. Another source of difficulty for riders and their mounts was the final jump, an oxer set at the bottom corner of the arena headed away from the in-gate, that required great strength and stamina to clear on the particularly hot day. The 77-second time allowed also played a continuous role as the class progressed with numerous riders accumulating faults for crossing the finish line after the 77-second mark.
Smith and Ashland Farm’s Theodore Manciais became the early pathfinders of the track. Entering the arena sixth, Smith trailblazed a seamless round to set the tone for the remaining 47 riders. Italian rider Lorenzo De Luca recreated Smith’s clear track with Dinky Toy VD Kranenburg to force a jump-off between the clear competitors. Shane Sweetnam (IRL), Darragh Kenny (IRL), Beezie Madden (USA), Rodrigo Lambre (BRA), Kristen Vanderveen (USA), Jessica Springsteen (USA), Enrique Gonzalez (MEX), Santiago Lambre (MEX) and seven other competitors added their names to the lineup for the tie-breaker round.
Twelve athletes elected to return for the jump-off, and Smith was the first to try his hand at Wade’s shortened seven-obstacle course. Posting no faults to the scoreboard in a time of 39.79 seconds, Smith put the pressure on for De Luca to produce a clear round. De Luca successfully pulled off a fault-free effort, however, his time of 41.87 seconds fell behind Smith by almost three seconds. Ireland’s Kenny also pulled off a clear round in 40.47 seconds placing him in the third place spot before Madden entered the arena to jump ahead with a clear time of 39.84 seconds to sit in second place. Madden would hold her second place position as the remaining competitors put forth their best efforts to take over Smith’s quick leading time. A total of seven combinations completed the track on a score of zero, with Canada’s Eric Lamaze ultimately jumping into the third place position on a time of 40.02 seconds.
Twenty-four-year-old Smith has been partnered with Theodore Manciais since the summer of 2017 when the 13-year-old Selle Francais gelding was purchased by Smith’s family business Ashland Farms. The young athlete trains with Canadian Eric Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stables, which is based in Wellington, Fla. and Brussels, Belgium. Smith plans to return to Brussels following the end of the winter season with his string of talented horses.
Olympic gold medalist and seasoned veteran Madden claimed second place with Abigail Wexner’s 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Darry Lou. With Madden in the irons, Darry Lou has had a record 12 months of showing, winning the $3,000,000 CAD CP International presented by Rolex at the Spruce Meadows Masters in September of 2019 and most recently helping Team USA claim the win in the $230,000 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ at the Palm Beach Masters. Smith’s trainer, Lamaze (CAN), rounded out the top three aboard his trusty mount Chacco Kid, a 14-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by the Chacco Kid Group. Chacco Kid is a longtime partner for Lamaze, who has a strong group of competitive show jumping horses in his string.
CSI5* competition at the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival will continue on Friday, March 6 with the $37,000 Bainbridge 1.45m CSI5* taking place at 8:00 a.m. in the International Arena. The highlight event of Week Nine, the $401,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate Grand Prix CSI5*, will take place on Saturday at 7:00 p.m.
FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE
Spencer Smith – $137,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round IX CSI5* winner
On his plans for the rest of WEF:
“I haven’t shown my horse too much. I competed with him during 3* week and he was good in the WEF and the grand prix. I gave him a little break and then we planned for this week and then we will head back to Europe for the circuit there, so it was a nice way to finish.”
On his ride:
“I think [Alan Wade] is a really good course designer. He builds difficult courses, but at this level you have to build difficult or you are going to get 20 clear here with all of these riders and horses. I thought that he built a perfect course. It was tough enough that you got a lot of good riders in the jump-off – Beezie [Madden], Darragh [Kenny], Eric [Lamaze], so it just shows that you are doing something right. Then the jump-off was smoother. It was nice and forward so you weren’t really concerned about having jumps down, you were just trying to go faster. I went first and Eric told me to just ride my plan and not to count the numbers too much and just ride it off of my eye and feel it, so that’s what I did.”
On Theodore Manciais:
“He has been super. He has won three or four big grand prix classes for me. He has jumped a lot of these global tours and has been everywhere in the world with me. He is the one that put me on the map so he is a great horse and my best friend.”
On his relationship with trainer and fellow rider, Eric Lamaze:
“We have a great relationship and I have been [at Torrey Pines Stables] for nearly 5 years now. We get along great and do everything together so it works out perfectly.”
$137,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round IX CSI5*
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / Country / R1 Faults | R1 Time / R2 Faults | R2 Time
1. Theodore Manciais / Spencer Smith / Ashland Farms / USA / 0 | 73.31 / 0 | 39.793
2. Darry Lou / Beezie Madden / Abigail S Wexner / USA / 0 | 72.83 / 0 | 39.849
3. Chacco Kid / Eric Lamaze / Chacco Kid Group / CAN / 0 | 75.85 / 0 | 40.021
4. J’Adore Van Het Klinkhof / Rodrigo Lambre / Rodrigo Lambre / BRA / 0 | 74.2 / 0 | 40.191
5. Classic Dream / Darragh Kenny / Ann C Thompson / IRL / 0 | 76.77 / 0 | 40.472
6. Hester / Lucy Deslauriers / Lisa Deslauriers / USA / 0 | 73.72 / 0 | 40.619
7. Dinky Toy VD Kranenburg / Lorenzo De Luca / Stephex Stables / ITA / 0 | 76.54 / 0 | 41.872
8. Truman / Amy Millar / Millar Brooke Farm LTD & Overlund / CAN / 0 | 75.5 / 0 | 42.352
9. RMF Zecilie / Jessica Springsteen / Rushy Marsh Farm LLC / USA / 0 | 76.15 / 0 | 42.836
10. Chacna / Enrique Gonzalez / Alice Lawaetz, Enrique Gonzalez / MEX / 0 | 75.3 / 0 | 43.843
11. Cetano Van Aspergem Z / Santiago Lambre / Santiago Lambre / MEX / 0 | 76.98 / 4 | 46.233
12. Bull Run’s Risen / Kristen Vanderveen / Bull Run Jumpers / USA / 0 | 75.79 / 8 | 53.87