CSI 3*

Olivier Philippaerts & H&M Ikker Claim $35,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 6 CSI 3*

Olivier-Philippaerts-and-HM-Ikker-304_7451-Sportfot

It was the 24-year-old Belgian rider Olivier Philippaerts (BEL) who triumphed over 53 fellow competitors to take the $35,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 6 in week six of the 12-week 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Professional hunters finished competition today and ten championships were awarded.

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.

Aboard the 10-year-old gelding H&M Ikker — who is still owned by his breeder Roger Van Nuffelen — Philippaerts posted a blistering 37.61 seconds to take an unassailable lead. Second-placed Francisco Musa (BRA) and Catch Me Império Egípcio were almost two seconds adrift, with the only other clear in the jump-off coming from American rider Callan Solem (Davidson), who finished third. The course designer for CSI competition this week is Ana Catlina Harris of Mexico.

Philippaerts, who is 24 and competing at WEF for the first time, said: “I watched the first jump-off round, but decided to just go my own round and see where I ended up; luckily it was fast enough today. He turns very well in the jump-off, which is what makes him quite fast.”

It was a particularly satisfying win on the big stage, as Philippaerts has trained the horse himself: “The owner came and asked if I wanted me to ride Ikker when he was seven, and I really liked the horse. I brought the horse up to this level, so I know him very well and I think he’s a great horse for the future. He is very easy, has a nice character, always tries very hard and wants to do everything he can. That’s why I like him so much.”

“He’s a really good outdoor horse; indoor doesn’t really suit him that well as he is big-striding, and when he is indoors it’s all very small and short strides. It’s hard for him to sit in the canter, which is why outdoors suits him much better. That’s why we brought him over here, because he needs more room and because there are the right shows for him here.

“I jumped him on the grass the first week, and it’s good to do some different rings while I’m here,” added Philippaerts, who is based in Belgium, about half an hour from Aachen. “I’ve visited Wellington once or twice before, but this is the first time I’ve brought some horses over and I like it; it’s a very interesting thing to try.”

Molly-Ashe-and-Balous-Day-Date-pres-304_6515-Sportfot

Olivier Philippaerts  (BEL) & H&M Ikker in their awards presentation ceremony.

Ikker will contend Friday’s grand prix class before having a week off and then returning for WEF 8 (February 28-March 4).

Source: Press Release by Jennifer Wood Media Inc. for ESP / WEF

Photos: © Sportfot

%d bloggers like this: