Wellington, FL – March 18, 2018 – The tenth week of competition at the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) concluded with a win for Laura Chapot (USA) and Chandon Blue in the $35,000 Hollow Creek 1.50m Classic CSI 3* on Sunday, March 18, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.
WEF continues with week 11 of the 12-week circuit on March 21-25, featuring CSI 4 * competition sponsored by CaptiveOne Advisors. Highlights of the upcoming week include the $205,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Grand Prix CSI 4* at 11 a.m. on the grass derby field at Equestrian Village (13500 South Shore Blvd.) and the $132,000 Hollow Creek Farm 1.50m Classic Final at 6:30 p.m. in the WEF International Arena on Saturday, March 24, as well as the George H. Morris Excellence in Equitation on Friday, March 23, at 5 p.m. in the WEF International Arena and the $50,000 Hermés Under 25 Grand Prix Series Final at 12 p.m. at the grass derby field on Sunday, March 25. WEF hosts hunter, jumper, and equitation competition until April 1 and offers more than $9 million in prize money.
The $35,000 Hollow Creek 1.50m Classic saw 53 entries contest the track set by Michel Vaillancourt (CAN), with 14 advancing to the shortened jump-off track. Over the short course, it was Chapot aboard Chandon Blue, a 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Chacco Blue x Landcapitol) owned by Mary Chapot, who turned in the winning time of 36.145 seconds.
Second place went to Hunter Holloway (USA) and VDL Bravo S, a 12-year-old KWPN gelding (Ephepe For Ever x Chellano Z) owned by Hays Investment Corp, with a time of 36.565 seconds. With American ladies taking all three of the top spots, it was Lillie Keenan who finished in third with a time of 38.647 seconds riding Concho, a ten-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Cassaro 5 x Acord II) owned by Chansonette Farm LLC.
Chapot acquired her winning mount, Chandon Blue, from Irish rider Cian O’Connor in December of 2017, and she has used the 2018 WEF season to get to know the gelding.
“We’ve just kind of been figuring out which buttons to press, and I think today we got them all together,” said Chapot. “He’s a really fast and careful horse. He goes in there and tries his heart out and wants to win. I like his energy.”
Since Chandon Blue is still a relatively new mount to Chapot, she kept that in mind when planning her jump-off strategy on Sunday, electing to take advantage of his large step to leave a stride out in the first line but then foregoing a tighter approach later on over the short course.
Laura Chapot (USA) & Chandon Blue in their awards ceremony with ringmaster Steve Rector.
“I thought that that was not a hard leave-out down the first line, but I chose to go around the tree rather than inside. I thought that for him, and not knowing him so well on the really tight turn inside, that was a better plan,” explained Chapot. “I know that he’s just naturally very fast, and then, if I went around, I would never have to slow down.”
With her jump off plan proven effective for the win, Chapot next plans to continue to compete throughout weeks 11 and 12 of the 2018 WEF before returning home to New Jersey and gearing up for the summer season.
“The horses work hard down here, and we try and use this time to build the them up and get them ready for the summer,” said Chapot. “Then they get a little bit of time off to recuperate and hopefully they’re ready for the next thing!”
Source: Press Release by Emily Riden and Ava Lindsay for Jennifer Wood Media – ESP / WEF
Photos: © Sportfot