Monday, May. 27, 2024

Pavarotti Rebounds To Take USEF WEG Selection Trial 4 But Spooner Stays On Top The Standings

After a disappointing 27th placed finish in the third leg of the U.S. Equestrian Federation Show Jumping World Equestrian Games Selection Trials on Wednesday, Todd Minikus and his Pavarotti returned to competition in top form today, March 5. The pair won the $30,000 1.60-meter Classic and USEF WEG Selection Trial 4, held in conjunction with the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Fla.

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After a disappointing 27th placed finish in the third leg of the U.S. Equestrian Federation Show Jumping World Equestrian Games Selection Trials on Wednesday, Todd Minikus and his Pavarotti returned to competition in top form today, March 5. The pair won the $30,000 1.60-meter Classic and USEF WEG Selection Trial 4, held in conjunction with the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Fla.

Minikus and Pavarotti won Trial No. 1, and stayed in the hunt with two rails in Trial No. 2, before a disappointing performance in Trial No. 3, held in the unfamiliar Stadium.

“Anyone who can even spell horse had to realize that those were riding errors when we were over on the grass field,” said Minikus of his horse’s 16 faults in Trial No. 3. “My owner and I had a serious discussion in the bathroom mirror as I was brushing our teeth, and he’s still not over it, but that’s the way owners go. That was disappointing. Generally I don’t make a habit of too many riding errors.”

Richard Spooner and Cristallo staunchly defended their spot atop the WEG Selection Trials Standings. Spooner posted one of four double-clear rounds, surprising himself as much as anyone else with his third-placed performance. The class was run as a speed round, but like the last trial, the competitors all rode for clear, rather than blue.

And that proved difficult enough.

“I think it would be very hard for a course designer to set three courses like he did the first part of the trials and do something new for the fourth round,” said Spooner of Guilherme Jorge’s tracks. “But today he did change it up: He made the time tighter.”

Five other riders managed to keep the jumps up but picked up a few seconds on the clock. Spooner had planned to allow himself the luxury of a single time fault, and he worried that he’d picked up 2 or 3 by the time he crossed the timers. But his efficiency in the turns made up for any extra time he’d accrued adding a stride up one line.

Neither of Nicole Shahinian-Simpson’s mounts ticked a pole all class, but up-and-comer Tristan picked up a single time fault, still not enough to move him from his second-placed spot in the standings. Her other partner, Kilkenny Rindo, posted his best performance of the trials, having logged scores of 4, 13 and 4 over the last three trials, promoting him to the 12th placed spot in the standings. 

“He’s a very smart horse and very willing and able. He’s really coming into his own and enjoying it,” said Shahinian-Simpson of Tristan, owned by Ilan Federer. “I try to stay focused and take one round at a time. Every day is a new day and hopefully I’ll stay a little bit lucky and stay focused and get through one more class.”

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Hillary Dobbs and Quincy B improved on their 8-fault performance in Trial No. 3, to log just a pair of time faults. Despite her third-placed ranking on the leaderboard, Dobbs was sober about her WEG prospects.

“I feel like I have a good perspective on these five rounds,” she said. “You can’t get too excited about jumping clear or 1 time fault, and it’s not the end of the world if you had two down the day before. I feel like it’s one round at a time, and there’s a big one left. I’m going to try to ride my best, and I know my horse is going to try his heart out like he always does.”

According to the class’s specifications, riders with multiple mounts designated one to compete for prize money.  So although Mario Deslauriers posted the fastest clean round of the day aboard Jane Clark’s head-turning Urico, he had designated his other mount, Vicomte D, as his money-winning horse, leaving the top check for Minikus.

Trials competitors are now competing for 12 remaining Long List spots. Sapphire and McLain Ward earned a bye before the start of the trials, and after two double-clean rounds in Trials No. 1 and 2 the USEF Ad Hoc Committee on Selection added Laura Kraut and Cedric and Lauren Hough and Quick Study to the USEF Long List.

The horses and riders on the Long List will travel to Europe and compete at in CSIOs La Baule (France), Rome (Italy), St. Gallen (Switzerland), Rotterdam (the Netherlands), Falsterbo (Sweden), Aachen (Germany), Hickstead (England) and Dublin (Ireland) before the WEG team is selected in late September.

Despite his second blue-ribbon performance that leaves him in 16th in the standings, Minikus wasn’t optimistic about his chances of earning a berth on the WEG team. Minikus pointed out that even if he earned a stall on the plane to Europe, he’s still a long way from a spot on the world championship squad.

“I really feel at this point in my career that now’s the time I need to go to World Games, to be on the Olympic Team,” said Minikus. “Because of a little oops over there I took myself out of contention. Maybe I’ll make the top 15, but we’re talking about the team. I think the top consideration for the WEG is probably pretty close to picked. I don’t think you can be at the bottom end of this list and pull yourself up. In fact, I know you can’t. And anybody who thinks they can is pulling their own leg.

“In the overall scheme of things, I think we all know who’s in the top of the list,” he continued. “And there’s no way if you’re in the bottom or the middle that you’re going to go to Falsterbo, jump outrageous and move up into the top of the list.”

The final leg of the WEG gets underway Sunday March 7 with the $150,000 CN US Open CSIO****. 

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Final Results:

$30,000 USEF Show Jumping WEG Selection Trial No. 4

Prize Money Results only. Find full results on shownet.biz

1. Pavarotti/Todd Minikus 0/80.09
2. Kilkenny Rindo/Nicole Shahinian-Simpson 0/81.20
3. Cristallo/Richard Spooner 0/81.27
4. Romantovich Take One/Christine McCrea 1/83.70
5. Quincy B/Hillary Dobbs 2/86.26
6. Vicomte D/Mario Deslauriers 4/75.66
7. Hidden Creek’s Campella/Margie Engle 4/80.46
8. Armani/Jeffery Welles 4/80.52
9. Danny Boy/Beezie Madden 4/80.89
10. Flexible/Richard Fellers 4/81.02
11. Rothchild/McLain Ward 4/81.70
12. Fiedi 3/Georgina Bloomberg 5/83.78

Standings After Trial No. 4

Top 20

1. Cristallo/Richard Spooner—6
2. Tristan/Nicole Shahinian-Simpson—9
3. Quincy B/Hillary Dobbs—11
4. Urico/Mario Deslauriers—12
5T. Mademoiselle/Beezie Madden—13
5T.  Rothchild/McLain Ward—13
7. Danny Boy/Beezie Madden—16
8. Skara Glen’s Davos/Candice King—17
9T. Flexible/Rich Fellers—20
9T. Armani/Jeffery Welles—20
11T. Graf Lando/Bob Kraut—21
11T. Kilkenny Rindo/Nicole Shahianin-Simpson—21
13. Fiedi 3/Georgina Bloomberg—23
14T. Hidden Creek’s Campella/Margie Engle—24
14T. Athena/Charlie Jayne—24
14T. Pavarotti/Todd Minikus—24
17. Ublesco/Cara Raether—25
18. Chivas Z/Ashlee Bond—27
19. Ralvesther/Brianne Goutal—33
20. Metropolitan/Georgina Bloomberg—34

 

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