David Will and Black Jack 163. Photo by Sportfot.
Germany's David Will got the win in Friday's $34,000 G&C Farm 1.45m speed class with Eveline Kraus's 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Black Jack 163 (Escudo I x Drosselklang II). Will had the fastest time to beat out three Olympic gold medalists for the win, with Beezie Madden (USA) in second, Eric Lamaze (CAN) in third, and Laura Kraut (USA) fourth.
Olaf Petersen, Jr. (GER) set the speed track for 47 entries in the 1.45m class with 11 clear rounds. Beezie Madden (USA) and Abigail Wexner's Amadora were first to go and set a very fast time of 60.31 seconds that eventually finished second. The pair was beat out by David Will and Black Jack 163, who were over three seconds faster in 57.19 seconds. Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Check Picobello Z, owned by Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines, finished third in 61.55 seconds, and Laura Kraut (USA) and MH Sporhorse's Andretti S placed fourth with a time of 62.03 seconds.
David Will and Black Jack 163 finally got their win on Friday after several close finishes this winter. The pair finished second to Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Cyklon 1083 earlier this week in Wednesday's $34,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.45m. They placed second behind Sweetnam and Cyklon in the same class during week seven too. They were also third in week seven's $34,000 G&C Farm 1.45m and fifth in that same class during week nine as well.
On Friday, Will had the advantage of going before Sweetnam and putting the pressure on, and it was not the Irish rider's day. "Maybe I was lucky, Shane already had the first fence down, but I knew that it would be very difficult today even for Shane," Will stated. "Black Jack is a naturally very, very fast horse and I just got the turns that I wanted. I got to leave out the strides in almost every distance, so I was very happy with him today."
"This was his first win here, but he is always winning a lot," Will added. "He has been very good in the indoor season. I actually stepped him up a little bit higher and he was doing the 1.50m, 1.55m classes already. Here, it was a little bit difficult in the beginning when we came outside. He is a little bit of a nervous horse and he was not going as good in the beginning, but now he is used to going outside. He is comfortable with it again, so he is going super well."
Speaking about the course, Will noted, "When I walked it, it didn't walk like a classic speed class. There were some points, after the first double for example, where you could do a really short turn. Then almost every distance you could leave out a stride if you wanted to. It was actually very nice to ride it fast. It was a good course; I liked it very much."
Will showed in Wellington two years ago and has noticed the increase in competition coming back in 2014. He brought four horses for this year's FEI classes. "It is very hard," the rider noted. "The level is really, really high. There are a lot of good riders. What makes it very difficult is that you have to qualify on Thursday for the Saturday night grand prix, and there are always like 100 starters. If you want to be in the top 45, to qualify for the grand prix it is actually very tough."
Will plans to show Black Jack again during week twelve and will then travel home to Europe. He hopes to step the horse up a little more this season after the great experience that Black Jack got competing in Wellington.
Also showing in the International Arena on Friday, Laura Chapot kept her winning streak alive in the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Speed Challenge. With 102 entries, the class was held in a California Split and awarded two sets of placings, putting Chapot's leading times in the top of both sections. Chapot and Bradberry won Section A with the fastest time of the class. Chapot and Zealous finished on the top of Section B with the second fastest time. The rider also took fifth place in Section A with Shooting Star and second place in Section B with Castellana.
Final Results: $34,000 G&C Farm 1.45m
1. BLACK JACK 163: 2004 Hanoverian gelding by Escudo I x Drosselklang II
DAVID WILL (GER), Eveline Kraus: 0/57.19
2. AMADORA: 2003 KWPN mare by Chin Chin x Indoctro
BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Abigail Wexner: 0/60.31
3. CHECK PICOBELLO Z: 2006 Zangersheide gelding by Cardento x Orlando
ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Artisan Farms LLC & Torrey Pines: 0/61.55
4. ANDRETTI S: 2005 KWPN gelding by Corland x Animo
LAURA KRAUT (USA), MH Sporthorse: 0/62.03
5. WHAT EVER: 1999 BWP mare by Darco x Lauriston
KAREN POLLE (JPN), Karen Polle: 0/62.41
6. APPEARANCE 2: 2003 Oldenburg mare by Armitage x Levantos I
JOHANNES EHNING (GER), Nybor Pferde GmbH & Co. KG: 0/62.83
7. URAGUAY: 2001 KWPN gelding by Nairobi x Colino
TODD MINIKUS (USA), Legacy Stables, LLC: 0/63.73
8. CZARDAS 30: 2003 Hanoverian stallion by Contendro x Grannus
KIRSTEN COE (USA), Ilan Ferder: 0/64.49
9. DARCON SCHEEFKASTEEL Z: 2005 Zangersheide gelding by Darco x Contender
LAUREN TISBO (USA), Tequestrian Farms LLC: 0/66.12
10. BARNETTA: 2004 Westphalian gelding by Baloubet du Rouet x Polydor
FEDERICO SZTYRLE (ARG), Sky Group: 0/70.59
11. AD REFLET D'AZIF: 2005 Selle Francais gelding by Quaprice Boimargot Quincy x Attila III
ATHINA ONASSIS DE MIRANDA (GRE), Athina Onassis de Miranda & Victory Equestrian Sport BV: 0/74.08
12. EUROCOMMERCE NEVADA: 2004 Zangersheide gelding by Nelson Z x Chellano Z
CAITLIN ZIEGLER (USA), Artisan Farms LLC: 4/62.42