The sixth week of the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) started out strong on Wednesday, February 14, for Molly Ashe (USA) recording a one-two finish in the $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m Jumpers on Louisburg Farm’s Balous Day Date and Picobello Choppin PC.
FEI jumper competition in week six is being held at Equestrian Village, home to the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (13500 South Shore Blvd.) at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL. WEF 6 highlight events include the $132,000 Rushy Marsh Farm Grand Prix CSI 3* on Friday, February 16, at 7 p.m. in the Global International Arena at Equestrian Village and the $100,000 WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular for “Saturday Night Lights” on Saturday, February 17, at 6:30 p.m. in the WEF International Arena. The sixth week of WEF continues through Sunday, February 18, while WEF goes through April 1 and offers more than $9 million in prize money.
It was a great day for Ashe who had a top finish on two horses. Thirty entries went to post in the power and speed format class over a course designed by Ana Catalina Harris of Mexico. Clear in both phases of the course, Ashe and Balous Day Date, a 13-year-old Oldenburg mare by Balou du Rouet x Domino, sped to the win in a time of 27.53 seconds.
Ashe and Picobello Choppin PC, a 10-year-old SBS gelding by Mozart des Hayettes x Diamant de Semilly, were close behind in second with a time of 27.90 seconds. Third place went to Jose Roberto Reynoso (BRA) on Tanita de Galeste, owned by Franck Henouda, in 28.04 seconds.
“I couldn’t be happier with her,” Ashe said of Balous Day Date, her partner of more than three years. “She hadn’t been in a small venue in awhile, so it was sort of out of nowhere. She handled it great. She’s pretty true to any venue actually. She’s pretty experienced. It’s nice to have a horse like that when you change it up like this.”
Balous Day Date is celebrating her 13thbirthday today. Ashe described the mare as “hot and feisty,” but “very direct to the jumps.”
“Everything feels like you’re in fast forward,” she said.
Returning from time off in 2017, Ashe is pointing Balous Day Date towards her next class, the $35,000 Hollow Creek Farm 1.50m Classic on the grass derby field on Saturday.
“She’s just getting going again,” said Ashe. “We’re doing it week by week, but I think she feels great. She’s been stepping right up to the plate every time out, so hopefully we’ll do bigger classes here before the end of circuit.”
Molly Ashe (USA) in the awards presentation with John Greene of Douglas Elliman Real Estate.
Picobello Choppin PC is a barn favorite at Louisburg Farm due to his engaging personality. Ashe has been working with him for three years, having started in the 7 Year Old Young Jumpers.
“Every time out he gives his all, and he winds up near the top of the class, usually in the ribbons,” she said.
“They’re both very fast horses. ‘Chops’ spends a bit more time in the air than [Balous Day Date],” compared Ashe. “He goes up high, and she’s like a bullet. It’s similar, but we waste a little time in the air with Chops, which is how they beat him sometimes.”
“I was super happy with both of them,” she concluded. “It’s a nice win for (owner) Beth (Johnson). She’s been such a great supporter, and for everyone at Louisburg Farm who has put in so much time and effort, it’s always nice when it comes out that way.”
It was another one-two finish in the $6,000 Bainbridge 1.40m Jumpers with Winn Alden (USA) taking home the top two spots on Ensor van het Moleneind, owned by Richard Cheska, and Southern Arches LLC’s Presley. Third place went to Laura Chapot and ISHD Dual Star.
Week 6 at WEF continues on Thursday, February 15, with the $35,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 6 at the AGDF International Arena at 1 p.m. The first hunter champions of the week will be crowned, qualifying them for Saturday night’s $100,000 WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular.
Source: Press Release by Jennifer Wood Media Inc. for ESP / WEG
Photos: © Sportfot