Ocala, Florida, USA – January 17, 2021 – Saturday afternoon brought plenty of excitement to the WEC Grand Arena for the $75,000 WEC Grand Prix 1.50m. While there was an impressive roster of international riders in the field, two riders dominated the top 12 placings in the $75,000 WEC Grand Prix 1.50m in a battle for 1st place.
The course for the $75,000 WEC Grand Prix 1.50m was designed by Bobby Murphy of Lexington, Kentucky, USA, and featured a double combination, multiple liverpools, triple combination and a skinny jump, truly testing the entries at every level. The class was a thrilling battle between Aaron Vale (USA) of Thinkslikeahorse in Williston, Florida, and Tracy Fenney (USA) of MTM Farm in Flower Mound, Texas, with seven of the top 12 placings being claimed by the two riders on multiple horses. Though they were neck and neck throughout the class, it was Aaron Vale who emerged victorious with Thinkslikeahorse’s Elusive (Rodrigoo x Alouette) for the second week in a row.
Like last week, Aaron Vale and Thinkslikeahorse’s Elusive (Rodrigoo x Alouette) were first in the order today. Vale and the 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding flew to a 1st place finish in last week’s $75,000 WEC Grand Prix 1.50m and were determined to nab another shot at the win. The pair did just that, jumping a clear first round in a time of 83.492 seconds, well within the time allowed of 85 seconds.
Next in the order were Thursday’s $20,000 Welcome Prix 1.45m winners Tracy Fenney (USA) and MTM Farm’s MTM Apple (Favorit Ask x Kong’s Whopsie). Fenney and the 9-year-old Danish Warmblood mare were on fire on Thursday and carried the same spark into this afternoon’s class. The pair nailed a clear first round in 83.083 seconds, securing a spot in the jump-off.
Vale returned later in the order aboard last week’s runner up in the $75,000 WEC Grand Prix 1.50m, Sleepy P Ranch’s Major (Carmargue x Pinot). Last week, Major’s clear jump-off time was just two seconds off of Elusive’s jump-off time and Vale was determined to close the small gap between his mounts this week. Vale and the 13-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding were slightly more conservative in the first round, jumping clear in a time of 84.565 seconds, making sure to save plenty of energy for the jump-off.
First to return in the jump-off were Vale and Elusive. With few available inside turns, the pair stepped on the gas, surging forward between fences, leaving all rails up in an impossible time of 40.670 seconds, which would prove unbeatable. Fenney and MTM Apple were next to contest the short course. Though they left all rails up, they could not catch Vale and Elusive’s time, stopping the clock at 41.586 seconds and sliding into the 2nd place spot, which they held for the remainder of the class. Vale returned later in the order aboard Major, again giving the course their all. The pair stopped the clock with a clear round at 43.543 seconds, claiming 3rd place.
Vale piloted two additional mounts to a top-12 finish. He and Empire Show Stables’ Boreale de Talma (Quick Star x Reggae de Talma), a 9-year-old Selle Francais mare, finished in 7th place with a speedy time of 42.983 seconds on the short course and one unlucky rail. Vale also finished 12th aboard Troy Glaus’ Mr. Incredible (Inshallah de Muze x Zuduela). He and the 8-year-old Warmblood gelding had one unfortunate rail in the first round, but their speedy time of 82.792 seconds kept them in the ribbons.
Like Vale, Fenney also secured two additional top-12 placings. She and MTM Farm’s MTM Igor van de Heibos (Lord Z x Prafda), a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion, finished in 10th place with just one time penalty on the clock in the first round. Fenney also earned 11th place aboard MTM Farm’s MTM Reve du Paradis (Crown Z x Kaline de Semilly), a 15-year-old Selle Francais gelding, brushing one rail in the first round, but flying through the course in 82.401 seconds.
Results – $75,000 WEC Grand Prix 1.50m
1) Aaron (USA) & Elusive – 0 | 0 | 40.670
2) Tracy Fenney (USA) & MTM Apple – 0 | 0 | 41.586
3) Aaron Vale (USA) & Major– 0 | 0 | 43.543
4) Jordan Petersen (USA) & Diamant’s Legacy – 0 | 0 | 46.457
5) Samuel Parot (CHI) & Dubai – 0 | 4 | 41.715
6) Sharn L. Wordley(NZL) & Verdini D’Houtveld Z, – 0 | 4 | 41.731
7) Aaron Vale (USA) & Boreale de Talma, – 0 | 4 | 42.983
8) Bryn R. Sadler (USA) & Cinven CR, – 0 | 4 | 44.303
9) Jenna P. Friedman (ISR) & Tycoon D’Argences, – 0 | 4 | 47.410
10) Tracy Fenney (USA) & MTM Igor van de Heibos, – 1 | 85.318
Source: Press release from World Equestrian Center
Photos: © Andrew Ryback Photography