Beezie Madden had one goal going in to the $205,000 Captive One Advisors Grand Prix: give Breitling LS a good final showing before they head to Paris in mid-April to contest the Longines FEI World Cup Final. She accomplished that by clinching the win over a five-strong jump-off.
Clears in the first round were few and far between over Olaf Petersen Jr.’s big and challenging track, with many careful combinations being caught out by the yawning water jump. The first 39 starters produced only two clears, but the jump-off numbers were bolstered by three late clears from the final six riders.
The class, held in the penultimate week of the 12-week 2018 WEF circuit, was held on the expansive grass arena of the derby field at Equestrian Village (home to the Adequan Global Dressage Festival).
Madden was riding Breitling LS, a quick and careful 12-year-old stallion by Quintero owned by Abigail Wexner, who was clocking up his second grand prix win of the season—the first being the $205,000 CSIO**** Grand Prix three weeks prior.
“This is Breitling’s final prep before he goes to Paris for the World Cup Finals, and I know it sounds funny to do a big field class, but I think that the grass and a different venue helps keep him feeling fresh and feeling good,” said Madden, who is no stranger to the World Cup Final, having won it in 2013 on Simon. “Breitling’s always been a horse that goes well when he’s in a good mood, so we’re just trying to keep him happy, and he seems to like the grass. That’s why we chose this class.”
The 54-year-old Olympic gold medalist had the advantage of crafting her jump-off tactics after watching her fellow competitors tackle the course. She broke the beam in 47.19 seconds, cruising more than a second under Irishman Daniel Coyle’s time. He finished second with Cita.
“I was lucky that I was able to keep an eye on what was going on and able to see Daniel go, so it was lucky he went into the lead because I could see exactly what I needed to do,” Madden said. “I think when I did five strides from fence 2 to 3, it took maybe almost a little too much time at the double, which worried me and made me hustle the rest of the way around. I’m not sure where I caught up exactly; maybe I just had a little more speed in general, but it was close!”
Madden has ridden the talented stallion for five years, buying him from the Dutch show jumping champion Jeroen Dubbeldam—who was on site watching the win—in the spring of his 7-year-old year.
“Any grand prix win is exciting—not only for me but for my entire team,” said Madden “I have a fabulous owner in Abigail Wexner and a great support team behind me, so it’s nice for all of them when we have success like this.”
This marked the first of two weekend wins for Madden, who headed up to Ocala, Florida, for the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix, where she took the win in a five-horse jump-off with Coach.
Second-placed Coyle was also enthusiastic about his result.
“I’ve tried to save Cita for certain grands prix, and every time I’ve asked her this year, she’s been brilliant,” Coyle said. “The mare is jumping fantastically, and she’s never been in better form.”
“Any four- or five-star result like this anywhere in the world is not easy to do,” said Coyle, who also won the $384,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate Grand Prix with Cita. “The course was well built today and jumped a little harder than it walked. There were only five clears, but it always makes it better when a class isn’t easy to jump, which is why it was good to be second in this one.”
Fellow Irishman Richie Moloney sewed up a success-fueled week, finishing third in this class to add to his 1.45-meter victory on Friday. This latest result came aboard Equinimity LLC’s Freestyle De Muze, a 13-year-old gelding by Lord Z, who finished in 50.68 seconds.
“Week 4 was his last grand prix, and he was double clear out here as well to finish sixth, so since then we’ve been aiming for today,” said Moloney, who has been based in Florida for seven years. “He’s been great, and he loves it out on the grass; the ring really suits him; I think he enjoys the footing and big grass arenas.
This result is probably equal to Freestyle’s best result,” he continued. “He hasn’t done a lot lately, and these classes are as good as he’s done in past couple of years as he was off with a little injury for a while, so I’m very happy to have him back.”