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Kraut Stays on Top at USEF Selection Trials for Show Jumping; Shahinian-Simpson and Simpson Tied for Second


Kraut Stays on Top at USEF Selection Trials for Show Jumping; Shahinian-Simpson and Simpson Tied for Second

Release: March 07 2008
By Joanie Morris

Wellington, FL - Severe weather on Thursday March 6 caused the postponement of the $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup which a also served as the fourth leg of the USEF Selection Trials for Show Jumping at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The Selection Trial began on Friday morning at 8 a.m.

The grounds crew worked tirelessly and prepared the ring for 41 horses, 26 of which were contesting the selection trials portion of the competition. The Selection Trials, sponsored by Equine Motorcoach and Hong Kong Tourism, involve five trials over ten days, when the trials are over on Sunday 10 horse and rider combinations will be named to the Short List which will spend the summer in Europe preparing for the Olympic Games. Four riders will then be named to the team to represent the U.S. at the 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong.

The morning class proved challenging and clear rounds were hard to find.

Laura Kraut and Happy Hill Farm's Cedric have had a vice grip on the Trials since the opening round, the Wellington, FL rider had had just two time faults throughout the Trials coming into the fourth leg.

"Obviously its nerve wracking," said Kraut about being in the lead in the Selection Trials. "I'm not familiar with being in the lead -- usually I'm coming from behind."

The 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood continued to jump beautifully but had his first pole of the Trials at a vertical following the triple combination. He gave the rest of the fences plenty of air.

"I felt very confident when I walked the course, said Kraut. "I felt like it was one of the best courses for my horse. I was perhaps a little over confident at that line because usually my easiest job is to bring him back after a triple because normally he doesn't land so far away. I didn't make as big an effort as I obviously needed to. But he feels amazing and every day he gets more and more relaxed about jumping these jumps. I'm relieved and I can't wait for Sunday to be over."

Cedric and Kraut continue to lead the USEF Selection Trials with a four round score of 6.

Will Simpson and El Campeon Farm's Carlsson Vom Dach continued notching up clear rounds - making their trip from Thousand Oaks, Ca worth the miles. The pair jumped their third clear round in row in the Selection Trials. Having won the second and third legs of the trials with the 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Simpson's clear round streak continued. They have 12 faults total, all from the first Trial, putting them in a tie for second place going into the final leg of the Selection Trials.

"I got a good night's sleep and woke up this morning and everything went completely on schedule," said Simpson. "He jumped beautifully in the schooling area, I made one error to the second jump and I saw it really long... I thought no, no we can't do that so I held him back and he jumped it beautiful and he went on and was just right there, jumping way over the jumps. He's amazing me... he's really coming to the party here."

The consistent duo of Nicole Shahinian-Simpson and SRF Dragonfly jumped into a tie with Will Simpson, having the second to last fence down to bring their four round total to 12.

"I just started riding her here on this circuit," said Shahinian-Simpson. "She'd done some grand prixes in California with another rider. It was kind of interesting because this wasn't really part of the plan... I'm thrilled with her she's really stepped up to the occasion. Everything that's been asked of her she keeps doing.

Owned by Silver Raven Farm, the 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare and Shahinian-Simpson continue their classy quest for their first spot on an Olympic Team.

"She's great fun to ride," said Shahinian-Simpson. "She's really come up and impressed me. It's pretty amazing - I'm speechless, she's really been incredible."

Pictured left to right are Laura Kraut, Nicole Simpson and Will Simpson.
(Photo credit: Kenneth Kraus/PhelpsSports.com)

Canadian dynamo Eric Lamaze won the $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup with Ashland Stables, Sadin. This pair was the fastest of the three first round clears. Lamaze considers Sadin to be a viable back-up for his top horse, Hickstead.

The postponement of the competition was made on Thursday night, following USEF Selection Procedures protocol. The USEF Selectors in consultation with members of the Show Jumping High Performance Committee, High Performance Working Group and the USEF Executive Committee that were present at the competition site and in consultation with the Ground Jury and the Organizing Committee unanimously agreed to postpone Trial 4.

The Final leg of the USEF Selection Trials for Show Jumping will be held Sunday, March 9 at 1 p.m. during the $150,000 CN US Open Grand Prix.

For complete Trials standings, please see www.usef.org. For more information please contact Joanie Morris, USEF High Performance Communications Manager at: jmorris@usef.org.


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