Wellington, FL - February 14, 2014 - The International Polo Club Palm Beach was alive with exhilarating jumper action today as riders gathered to compete on the turf for the sixth week of the Wellington Turf Tour Grand Prix Series. Jeffery Welles and Antaris S were today's pathfinders, riding to a double clear effort in an amazing 35. 590 seconds.
Beth Underhill was the first to attempt the course this morning. Eric Hasbrouck was the sixth week's course designer. He utilized a liver pool, in-and-out, standalone oxers, a triple combination set on the outside, and a triple bar. Faults fell throughout the course, but Underhill was the first to navigate the track, as well as the first to post a double-clear effort. Her time of 40.520 seconds aboard Viggio would prove good enough for the fifth place finish, with a field of 34 competitors fighting in a battle of the best.
Jeffery Welles was only the second rider of the class, but his 9-year-old mount Antaris S was on fire as they traversed the turf. They cleared the first round with ease, and had their sights on the prize as they picked up a blazing speed for the jump off. Welles left a stride out of the first line, doing seven strides from the oxer to the vertical. To shave the time he made quick and tidy turns, with Antaris S siding in on the triple bar, slicing the seconds. They tripped the timers in an astounding 35.590 seconds.
"I am riding Antaris S for a good friend of mine, Natalie Gizzi," Welles explained his mount. "I showed him a little bit last summer in two shows, and then down here I have been riding him since the beginning of the circuit. He has been coming to George and Nona's shows for the last three weeks, and has also shown at the Winter Equestrian Festival."
This was not the pair's first time winning the blue ribbon for The Ridge at Wellington's Turf Tour, having captured the victory in the 1.30m-1.35m Jumpers at Wolfstone Stables during Week V. "The horse was great today. This has been really nice jumping on the grass at these venues. Everything that George [D'Ambrosio] and Nona [Garson] are doing with the help of these facilities is really nice, and allows us to jump on the grass."
Each consecutive rider attempted to catch Welles' time, but none would avail today. Samuel Parot and Thea were the first to get within a second, but a rail at the final oxer would cost them.
It was Ramiro Quintana, winner of Wednesday's 1.30m-1.35m Jumper class, aboard Caramello Z who would take the second place. Their double clear effort was completed in 37.251 seconds. Debbie Stephens and Dryden captured the third place finish with a time of 39.684 seconds, leaving all rails intact.
Welles concluded, "I think that different venues each week is great for them. It breaks up the monotony and boredom of showing in the same facility every week. The show is great, but this is something different. This gives you an opportunity to jump 1.30m-1.40m on grass at different facilities, and it has been great for all of the young horses I have been riding."
Chris Ewanouski and Carlos 455 were awarded the fourth place for their clean round completed in 39.987 seconds, while Underhill claimed fifth. Sarah Wayda and Spargel were the last of the double-clear efforts, completing the course in a conservative 42.517 seconds.