Wellington, Florida, USA – March 14, 2021 – Besides the $401,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix CSI 5* in the evening, Super Saturday featured another major class during the ninth week of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Canada’s Jim Ifko (CAN) and Eventyre Farms’ Un Diamant des Forets were victorious in the $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix CSI 2* in the afternoon.
The class, originally welcoming 45 horse-and-rider combinations into the International Arena, with 12 pairs returning to contest the jump-off. The Canadian and the the 2008 Selle Français stallion (Diamant de Semilly x Papillon Rouge) after they crossed through the jump-off timers in a quick 32.73 seconds.
Second place in the $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix CSI 2* went to the USA’s Paris Sellon riding Anna Jo, a 2009 Oldenburg mare (Acodetto 2 x For Pleasure) owned by Willow Grace Farm, finishing their jump-off in 34.12 seconds.
Maria Costa (USA) rounded out the top three aboard Ravello Farms, LLC’s 2009 Zangersheide stallion (Verdi x Converter), Valentino V Z, clearing the fast track in 34.17 seconds.
Having won the $37,000 Restylane Qualifier CSI 2* about four weeks ago, it was the second two-star win of the season for Ifko and the stallion and after placing tenth in Thursday’s qualifier, Ifko went in with a plan that suited his fast-footed mount. “My strategy going in there was to just jump a clear round,” he explained. “Fortunately, I do have a naturally fast horse, so as much as that time allowed was quite tight, I knew that if I just stuck to the plan we would make it well within the time. The only problem is leaving the jumps up. It was a difficult, technical course, and on top of that with the tight time, I think it was a challenging class with all of that considered.”
Ifko has been riding the horse he fondly calls “Monty” for several years and credited their long partnership for their continued success. “We’ve been together for quite a few years now,” Ifko commented. “I saw him as a five-year-old, and then our first season together was when he was six. We’ve been able to develop a partnership over the years, and I think that’s helped us a lot. At the end of the day I’m so lucky to have a horse that is brave, fast, careful, and wants to win. It’s a pretty amazing feeling, and I feel very lucky.”
Ifko and his team got to Wellington at the beginning of February and plan to stay for the remainder of the WEF circuit now that they’re in their groove. He concluded, “We had to play a bit of catch-up to feel comfortable, find our bearings, and shake the dust off a bit. Our horses have felt really good, and we are off to a great start, so we are hoping to continue on from there through the remainder of the circuit.”
Final Results – $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix CSI 2*
1) Jim Ifko (CAN) & Un Diamant Des Forets – 0 / 0 – 32.735
2) Paris Sellon (USA) & Anna Jo – 0 / 0 – 34.121
3) Maria Costa (USA) & Valentino VZ – 0 / 0 – 34.174
Source: Press release by Kate Pettersen & Sabrina Bashares / Jennifer Wood Media Inc. for ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions
Photos: © Sportfot