Wednesday, Jun. 5, 2024

Chapot Gets Warmed Up With $75,000 Rosenbaum Mollengarden PLLC Grand Prix At WEF

Wellington, Fla.—Jan. 17  

When there are 17 horses in the jump-off, you kind of have to just go as fast as you can.

And that’s just what Laura Chapot did, as she came out on top of the $75,000 Rosenbaum Mollengarden PLLC Grand Prix aboard Quointreau un Prince.

"It kind of throws any kind of strategy out the window,” Chapot said of the big jump-off. "You just have to go the best you can. There were no playing games; everyone was giving it a go. The leader at the time was already very fast."

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Wellington, Fla.—Jan. 17  

When there are 17 horses in the jump-off, you kind of have to just go as fast as you can.

And that’s just what Laura Chapot did, as she came out on top of the $75,000 Rosenbaum Mollengarden PLLC Grand Prix aboard Quointreau un Prince.

“It kind of throws any kind of strategy out the window,” Chapot said of the big jump-off. “You just have to go the best you can. There were no playing games; everyone was giving it a go. The leader at the time was already very fast.”

A large starting field of 52 entries contested the grand prix of the first week of the Winter Equestrian Festival, and 17 of those advanced to the jump-off.

Chapot came out on top of the results with Quointreau un Prince, owned by Chapot and McLain Ward, over Abdel Said of Egypt and AS Sport Horses’ Hope van Scherpen Donder in second, while Molly Ashe-Cawley rode Balou’s Day Date for Louisburg Farm to third place.

In the grand prix jump-off, Chapot counted on her long partnership with Quointreau un Prince, a 12-year-old Selle Francais gelding by Diamant de Semilly. She has ridden him since he was 7 years old. 

“Now he’s a real competitor,” Chapot said. “We did the 1.40-meter jump-off class the first day, and he hadn’t jumped since [the Pennsylvania National in October]. He walked in the ring, and he felt like he was right back in the game from the start. He really stepped up today and was right there every step of the way.”

 Chapot and Quointreau lowered the winning time to 26.26 seconds in the jump-off for victory. Said and Hope van Scherpen Donder were second in 27.08 seconds, while Ashe-Cawley and Balou’s Day Date were just behind in 27.694 seconds. F

Chapot and Quointreau won a 1.40m class earlier in the week, giving her a fantastic start to the circuit. “I’m just thrilled my horse started out the circuit so well. It’s better than you could ever imagine, to anticipate that you’re going to win the grand prix on the first week,” she expressed.

For Abdel Said, competing at the Winter Equestrian Festival is a brand-new experience. The Egyptian rider, who is based in Belgium, first came to WEF last year to watch and decided he had to compete in 2016.

“I have a lot of friends and business partners over here. It’s a very famous tour actually,” he related. “We always follow it. Even when I was in Europe at the Sunshine Tour, I always watched the classes live on the internet if the time difference would allow it, or I would follow the results. It’s very interesting, with a lot of good riders and horses. Last year I just came to visit for five days to watch my friend Cian [O’Connor’s] horse Good Luck. I had so much fun over here, and I said, ‘Wow. Why are we freezing in the cold in Belgium while this exists?'”

He added, “Everybody is so nice, and I feel very welcome here. I have a business back home and I’ve sold a lot of horses to here. It’s very interesting to come see the horses and follow up. I’m really enjoying it.”

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Said brought two horses to WEF and will travel back to Belgium regularly to oversee his operation of 18 horses at home. Hope van Scherpen Donder, a 9-year-old BWP mare by Quadrillo x Balou du Rouet, seemed to fit easily into the Florida scene.

Said has owned her for two years and described her as “an athlete.” He continued, “She’s very fast, and she really thinks with me. She makes my life easy, and she’s very easy in the ring. If I think left, she goes left, and if I think right, she goes right. I think she really enjoys jumping because she’s easiest to ride in the ring. If you see her in the warm-up or flatting at home, it’s not her cup of tea.”

The typey little mare, who stands just 15.2 hands high, takes the grand prix jumps in stride. “She feels big when she goes to the jumps! She thinks she’s big,” he said with a smile.

Ashe-Cawley compared Balou’s Day Date, an 11-year-old Oldenburg mare by Balou du Rouet x Linda-Dolores, to Said’s horse, and it turns out they are related through Balou du Rouet. She noted that their heart, speed, and energy helps them in the show ring. She has been paired with Balou’s Day Date for one year.

“We’ve gotten to know each other quite well,” Ashe said. “Once she gets aimed at the first jump, she’s point and shoot. I’m very lucky and happy to have the chance to ride her. I’m grateful to Beth (Johnson) and Louisburg Farm and Paul (Butterfield) for giving me the chance.”

Women Go To The Wire

The night before, the popular $75,000 Battle of the Sexes took center stage and after three rounds of competition that ended in a duel between the final two riders, the women broke the tie that ended the 2015 battle to come out on top this year.

Candice King led the women’s team as captain alongside fellow riders Nicole Bellissimo, Heather Caristo-Williams, Tori Colvin, Amanda Derbyshire, Margie Engle, Abigail McArdle, Catherine Pasmore, Alison Robitaille and Denise Wilson. The men were captained by Charlie Jayne and their team included David Blake, Daniel Bluman, Eugenio Garza, Alex Granato, Andy Kocher, Adam Prudent, Andrew Ramsay, Michael Tokaruk and Daniel Zetterman.

The two teams competed over three phases including a speed course, relay and match race, all set by U.S. Course Designer Eric Hasbrouck. In the speed round, the women established an early lead with a seven to three score. The men, however, answered in the relay and jumped ahead 13 to 12.

The match race determined the final standings with one member of each team jumping identical courses at the same time on opposite sides of the International Arena. The men won the first four rounds worth three points apiece before Pasmore and Catara 4 put the women on the board by toping Granato in the fifth race. She gained the momentum her team needed to make a comeback, and the women crossed the timers first in the next four races.

McArdle beat Prudent in the second-to-last race to set the stage for a head-to-head battle between captains King aboard Hoover and Jayne on Endy in the final race.

King had an early rail, but Jayne suffered a refusal soon after to open the door for her to cruise through the final timers ahead. The final score stood at 30 to 25 for the women, a team that was made up by 10 female riders, but also six mares.

McArdle was ecstatic to help her team secure the win in her second year competing in the Battle of the Sexes.

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“I kept looking over knowing I had to do eight strides and get off the ground,” she said of her match race performance. “It was a fantastic feeling and so fun to have someone riding right next to you—it really puts on the pressure.”

Final Results: $75,000 Rosenbaum Mollengarden PLLC Grand Prix

 1. QUOINTREAU UN PRINCE, LAURA CHAPOT (USA), Laura Chapot & McLain Ward, 0/0/26.265

2. HOPE VAN SCHERPEN DONDER, ABDEL SAID (EGY), AS Sport Horses, 0/0/27.082

3. BALOUS DAY DATE, MOLLY ASHE-CAWLEY (USA), Louisburg Farm, 0/0/27.694

4. GENTLEY, FILIP DE WANDEL (BEL), Filip de Wandel, 0/0/28.156

5. ORA DEL TE DI LA SAN GIORGIO, ANDREW KOCHER (USA), Ora Del Te LLC, 0/0/28.509

6. GALOUS, DENISE WILSON (USA), Blue Gate Farm LLC, 0/0/29.031

7. INDIGO, MARGIE ENGLE (USA), Griese, Garber, Hidden Creek & Gladewinds,  0/0/29.172

8. BULL RUN’S FAUSTINO DE TILI, KRISTEN VANDERVEEN (USA), Bull Run Jumpers Five, Inc., 0/0/29.392

9. GLOBAL VAN’T BRAUNERTHOF, MARIO DESLAURIERS (USA), Karen Polle, 0/0/29.718

10. QUALITY GIRL, TODD MINIKUS (USA), Quality Group, 0/4/27.178

11. ANDRETTI S, LAURA KRAUT (USA), Stars & Stripes, 0/4/27.658

12. HOLD ON TIGHT II, MARK BLUMAN (COL), Stransky’s Mission Farms, Inc., 0/4/28.837

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