With a field of nearly 100 entries, split into two sections, competition was always going to be fierce for the $6,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.40m Jumpers in the second week of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) but it was Todd Minikus (USA) and Alberto Michan (ISR) who led the way with lightning quick rounds.
Todd Minikus, 58, steered the Louisburg Farm-owned nine-year-old Zangersheide stallion Napoleon Of Picobello (Nabab De Reve x Picobello Eurocommerce Sao Pao) over the two-round course set by Nick Granat (USA), stopping the timers at 23.950sec to win section A. The stallion was formerly ridden by WEF winner Molly Ashe Cawley and Belgian competitors Guillaume Ruant and Christophe Meirsschaert, joining Todd nine months ago.
They look to have found a lovely rhythm and stopped the clock nearly a second quicker than Laura Chapot (USA) aboard the 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare, Thornhill Kate. Third place went to Laura Kraut (USA) on the Stars and Stripes-owned eight-year-old Diadem Du Thot.
“It was a nice course for the first class of the week and my horse has won three 1.40m classes in a row now,” said Todd. “He won two last week and now today so I’m pretty proud of his success so far. He’s a careful horse. He had a little bit of trouble focusing and now he seems to be really focused and he’s becoming pretty consistent. I’m very thankful to Louisburg Farm for the opportunity to ride him.”
Further down the order were plenty of leading names in action including Ben Maher of Great Britain with Explosion W.
Alberto Michan piloted his own Cosa Nostra to top spot in section B, crossing the finish line with a fault-free round in 24.221sec. Alberto gave the 11-year-old Oldenburg mare (Conthargos x Quintender) a “nice break” since November when they were last seen showing in the CSI3* in Wellington.
“She did a lot this past year,” he said. “I’m just starting to get her back to the ring, and I had planned to do two classes this week, but I felt her jumping so well I decided she would only jump today. Hopefully I’ll continue to bring her back to do the CSI4* and CSI5*. She has a lot of experience, she’s very careful and scopey, and I’m very happy to feel her first time out in such great shape. I’m hoping to have a good, long year.”
Finishing close behind was Sarah Hubbard (USA) riding Hubbard Horses, LLC’s 10-year-old gelding Latino Van De Looise Heide with another U.S. rider in third, Lauren Hough with Viva.
International showjumping continues at the Winter Equestrian Festival this week with CSI3* competition on the grass Derby Field at Equestrian Village. The feature class on Sunday is the $137,000 Restylane Grand Prix CSI3* followed by the $25,000 Hermès U25 Grand Prix.
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