A strong field of 26 competitors took part in Sunday’s WCQ, several of whom have recently moved up to the WCQ level. Kate Launder set a fair track that rode well and produced a 27% clear round rate. The clear rounds included two previous WCQ winning combinations, George Coutlis on Callaho Lord Cris and Ronnie Healy on Cornet’s Mandarino, who also jumped clear on his second ride Gillian van Orshof. Hannah Garton and PMH Pollyanna made it through to the jump-off for the fifth time out of six WCQ appearances, as did the other lightning-quick combination of Tamara Rueda and Callaho Liantos. The jump-off was rounded out by two less experienced horses who ultimately came out on top: Leona van der Merwe’s Hey I’m Wilma and Holly Smith’s Capital Kollier, ridden by Dominey Alexander.
Leona and Hey I’m Wilma, in just their third WCQ appearance, were first to jump off. With smooth lines, dropped strides and tight turnbacks, the pair pulled off an exceptional and what turned out to be a deceptively quick clear in 50.63 seconds. The time proved unbeatable, and Leona claimed her first WCQ win aboard her special mare that she acquired as a 5 year old in 2018 and has since produced up the grades, with some exceptional wins along the way. Hey I’m Wilma is an 11 year old Cassilano (Cassini I x Lavaleto) mare, who competes barefoot! Wilma’s shoes were removed for the December 2023 holidays and they decided to keep her barefoot, and haven’t looked back since!
The only other competitor to break the 51-second mark in the jump-off was Capital Kollier, who was expertly piloted by Dominey Alexander around his first WCQ, jumping clear in 50.97 secs. The pair performed a master-class round, showcasing Dominey’s expertise and Kollier extraordinary ability, securing them a second place. Kollier is the first son of Capital Kronos to jump in the WCQ classes and at only nine years of age there is a lot more to come from this exceptional gelding who looked as if he would be just as comfortable had the jumps been set at 1.70m!
Congratulations to all the competitors!