Wellington, Florida, USA – March 26, 2022 – Competition for “Saturday Night Lights” during week 11, sponsored by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, of the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) was packed with action during the circuit’s penultimate week. While hunter riders had the opportunity to take center stage on the Derby Field at Equestrian Village over the weekend in both international and national derby events, show jumpers took to the Wellington International Arena to compete for the top prize in the $140,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Final. In a mad dash across the finish line, Paul O’Shea (IRL) and Chancelloress claimed the leading spot.
The night culminated with both an overall series champion as well as the final class winner. Spectators in the night’s crowd were treated to extra excitement as the new name of the venue, Wellington International, was revealed prior to the first horse on course. Course designer Olaf Petersen Jr. (GER) raised an impressive challenge to the field of 48 starters representing 17 nations, and only five of the original entries managed to earn a slot for the short track. The jump-off came down to a battle between the U.S. and Ireland as Spencer Smith (USA), Laura Kraut (USA), and Alex Matz (USA) took on countrymen Mark McAuley (IRL) and O’Shea
Alex Matz (USA) flew through the jump-off as the last competitor in the jump-off to acquire the final spot in the victory gallop. Matz and Cashew CR, owned by Dorothy Matz, looked as if they would overthrow O’Shea in the final moments but did not quite manage to clear the last oxer on course to accrue a four-fault score with their time of 34.77 seconds.
“He is an incredible horse, and he has been everything for me,” said Matz of the 14-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Cassini II x Quinar). “He introduced me to doing the grand prix level, and he is an amazing fighter with a big heart. He doesn’t have all of the scope in the world, but he makes up for it with determination.”
For the 25-year-old, to be on the podium with the likes of McAuley and O’Shea is a special moment.
“I look up to both of these riders tremendously, and it is an honor to be competing against them,” stated Matz. “I have a lot to learn from them, but it is helpful when I get to see them in action.”
Final Results – $140,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Series Final CSI 4*
1) Paul O’Shea (IRL) & Chancelloress – 0 / 0 – 35.51
2) Mark McAuley (IRL) & O’Hara ELS – 0 / 0 – 36.97
3) Alex Matz (USA) & Cashew CR – 0 / 4 –34.77
Source: Press Release from Jennifer Wood Media Inc. for ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions / WEF – Winter Equestrian Festival
Photos: © Sportfot