Lauren Hough led an all-ladies leaderboard on Saturday, March 26th during the 11th week of the Winter Equestrian Festival when she won the $130,000 Engel & Volkers CSI4* Grand Prix with Cornet 39.
The 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Cornet Oblensky x Celine) is deceivingly compact with a neat jump and all the power to match the stride of horses with twice his age and experience. Together, he and Hough made an unbeatable pair in a ten-horse jumpoff over an Olaf Peterson-designed track.
A full house filled the spectator areas on a warm Florida evening for this, the penultimate feature grand prix night of the 2016 WEF. With thousands looking on and many more watching at home on livestream, an uncertain first round with a group of early clears, developed into a red-hot jumpoff group of ten pairs.
“My horse was fantastic tonight, he was really on my side and trying hard for me. I think I was very fast to the double and very fast to the second to last fence. I’m very very pleased tonight,” Hough said.
To win, Hough had to outpace one of the fastest riders in the country; Laura Chapot and the 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare ISHD Dual Star (Quick Star x Concorde). Their jumpoff track rode in 36.29 seconds, but Hough took over f1st place and kept it on her time of 35.98. In 3rd place and hands down the happiest rider of the night was Carly Anthony, who rode the 9-year-old Dublin, a German Warmblood gelding (Cobra x Calido), in what was the biggest class of his career so far.
Ladies filled out the top five with Amy Millar placing 4th and Laura Kraut in 5th from the starting order of 44 world-class pairs.
“He belongs to Paris Sellon, a student of mine. They were kind enough to let me take over the ride the beginning of last year and we’ve been progressing slowly. He was part of the winning Nations Cup team in Ocala a few weeks ago, and he’s sort of been knocking on the door. I’m just very proud of him,” Hough added.
Chapot’s big strided horse took a little more time in the turns to finish just behind Hough but “I have no regrets,” Chapot said. “Lauren was superb and she deserved the win today.”
Hough’s victory was made more impressive by her quick recovery from arthroscopic knee surgery in February. She took just four weeks off before rebounding quickly, and this latest win proved that she is very much in fighting form.
For full results of the $130,000 Engel & Volkers CSI 4* Grand Prix, click here.
Source: Noelle Floyd