WELLINGTON, Fla.--In naming the team for the Nations Cup on March 3 during the Winter Equestrian Festival, chef d'equipe Robert Ridland continued his plan of combining two or three younger or less experienced riders with one or two veterans, a plan that has resulted in great success and a much greater depth of riders than the U.S. has experienced in the past.
And, as the first six weeks of the 12 week WEF was concluded on Feb. 18, Laura Chapot of Neshanic Station, N.J., who had been the circuit's Leading Open Jumper Rider for eight of the past 10 years, dominates the standings again this year.
The $150,000 FEI Nations Cup CSIO4* is part of the competition during week eight of WEF, running Wednesday, Feb. 28 through Sunday, March 4, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
The FEI Nations Cup team competition will serve as the main event for WEF’s popular Saturday Night Lights series on Saturday, March 3, beginning at 7:00 p.m. EST.
The team for the Nations Cup consists of Lillie Keenan of New York, N.Y., Beezie Madden of Cazenovia, N.Y., Catherine Tyree of Chicago, Ill., and Adrienne Sternlicht of Greenwich, Conn., competing under the guidance of Ridland.
CHAPOT has almost twice as many points towards the circuit's Leading Open Jumper riders as her nearest competitor.
At the end of week six, Chapot had 753 points, while second placed Charlie Jayne had 382 points. Jimmy Torano of Mohrsville, Pa. is fifth.
Chapot's horses are also doing well in circuit standings, with Umberto leading in 1.35m standings with $2,280, and, in that section, Thornhill Kate is seventh and Cybel II is tied for 10th.
In 1.40m, Zealous is second with $7,360, with Out of Ireland seventh and Quointreau un Prince 13th, and in 1.45m, Chandon Blue is fifth with $7.400, Out of Ireland is 10th and Calafornia is 18th, and in the WEF Challenge Cup series, ISHD Dual Star is 18th.
Mary Chapot also leads in circuit standings for Leading Jumper Owner with 457 points and in Leading Open Jumper Trainer with 886 points.
"We're both honored to be leading in some of the categories for circuit championships, however there is much of WEF left to go," said Mary. "Our real goal, as always, is to finish the winter season with sound, happy horses that have progressed and improved at their various jobs. That would make us happy."
"All the horses are showing well," said Laura. "It's nice that they're doing so nicely."
"I have a couple of new horses, Chandon Blue and Cybel, that I'm planning on moving up," said Laura.
Laura has also gotten good results as a trainer, with Barbara Rochford getting good ribbons in High Adult Amateur on Butterfly Ambition and Layla Law-Gisiko leading in Low Adult Jumpers, 36 & Older.
In hunters, Ken Berkley of Flemington, N.J., has a big lead in Leading Hunter Trainer with 2,902 points, 1,354 ahead of his nearest competitor.
His business partner Scott Stewart is third in Leading Hunter Rider behind Peter Pletcher and Victoria Colvin, with Torano eighth and Louise Serio of Kennett Square, Pa., 10th.