Wellington, Florida, USA – February 10, 2021 – Sydney Shulman (ISR) piloted Villamoura, owned by Jill Shulman, to the top of the class in the $37,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m CSI 5* to open the fifth week of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).
Fifty-four riders competed over the two-phase track designed by Kelvin Bywater (GBR) in the International Arena. Only ninth in the order, Shulman and Villamoura took the lead with a clear round and quick time of 27.19 seconds and held onto it for the remainder of the class.
Fractions of a second behind Shulman was McLain Ward (USA) aboard Catoki, owned by Marilla van Beuren, Bob Russell, and McLain Ward, with a double clear effort and time of 27.62 seconds.
Finishing third was Kristen Vanderveen (USA) and Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili who crossed the finish line at 27.88 seconds.
“Everything just showed up how I wanted it to at a very fast pace the whole time,” explained Shulman. “She is a very, very fast horse so it’s kind of her name of the game, just go fast and anything remotely in front of her she will jump from anywhere.”
Shulman has a strong partnership with the 12-year-old Selle Français mare by Diamant de Semilly, that she has had the ride on for just over five years.
“I know her like the back of my hand, and I can call on her for a five-star speed class, a five-star Grand Prix, anything that I need,” commented Shulman. “My team at Back Country Farm takes amazing care of her and does a fantastic job, as well as John Roche who helps me and rides her often. They have a nice bond and get each other. It’s a whole team effort, and it really shows.”
The duo left out a stride early on in the speed phase, which is where Shulman believes that the pair got the advantage in the class.
“I actually did nine strides back on to the Douglas Elliman vertical, where the speed started, which was one less than McLain [Ward],” Shulman described. “Then I did 10 strides to the red vertical, fence nine. That was pretty fast and a bold angle that I came in on to that jump, but like I said, she will jump anything remotely in her way and I could feel her zone right in on it.”
This week is the first CSI5* of the circuit at the 2021 WEF, sponsored by Douglas Elliman Real Estate with a CSI 2* taking place as well, sponsored by Restylane. Competition on Thursday will continue with the $73,000 Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup Round 5 CSI 5* in the International Arena. On Friday is the $37,000 Bainbridge 1.45m Classic along with the $37,000 Restylane 1.45m Qualifier CSI 2*.
Saturday night will feature the highlight event of the week, the $401,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate Grand Prix CSI 5* under the lights in the International Arena. The week will wrap up with the $73,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Classic and the $50,000 Restylane Grand Prix CSI 2*. Spectators can watch feature classes live and on demand using the livestream.
Final Results – Top Three $37,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m CSI 5* Two-Phase Challenge
1) Sydney Shulman (ISR) piloted Villamoura – 0 / 0 – 27.196
2) McLain Ward (USA) aboard Catoki – 0 / 0 – 27.726
3) Kristen Vanderveen (USA) & Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili – 0 / 0 – 27.886
Source: Press release from PBIEC – Palm Beach International Equestrian Center
Photos: © Sportfot