WEF 2020 Week 8: Sydney Shulman Unbeatable in Hermès Under 25 Grand Prix Series Semi-Final

Sydney Shulman and Azilis du Mesnil Sydney Shulman and Azilis du Mesnil Photos Copyright © Sportfot

Sydney Shulman (ISR) held onto her spot at the top of the Hermès Under 25 leaderboard by winning the $37,000 Hermès Under 25 Grand Prix Series Semi-Final CSIO4* aboard Azilis du Mesnil under the lights in the International Arena during week eight on Friday, February 28, at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL.
WEF continues at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) through March 29, 2020, with 12 consecutive weeks of world-class competition and $13 million dollars on offer. The eighth week of competition, sponsored by Premier Equestrian, runs through March 1 and is recognized as a CSIO4* Nations Cup by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI). Highlights still to come for the week are the $150,000 Nations Cup CSIO4* during “Saturday Night Lights”, and the $214,000 Premier Equestrian CSIO4* Grand Prix to close out the week on Sunday.

Fifty-five horses challenged courses set by USA’s Ken Krome with less than a half a second separating the top four in a 12-horse jump-off. Israel’s Shulman and Azilis du Mesnil did just enough to top the standings in the end with a time of 31.59 seconds for owner Jill Shulman.
“I love this series because it’s a great stepping stone for horses and riders,” said Shulman, 25, who is making the most of her final year in the Under 25 ranks. “I did it for my first year when I was 16. You get to jump on the grass, under the lights, and as a team, so it’s a great system that they have set up.”
Shulman celebrated a reunion with Azilis du Mesnil after jumping the 10-year-old Selle Français mare (Tinka’s boy x Jarnac) in her first-ever night class in the same event just one year ago. “She has progressed nicely, so it’s nice to see her come back now and win,” said Shulman of the mare she calls “Ginger” in the barn. “She’s super game. She definitely has a mind of her own, but if you go with her and let her do her thing, she usually fights with you, not against you.”
Shulman’s good luck charm for the night was the Lebourgeois family, who bred Azilis du Mesnil and made the trip from France to watch their horse compete.
Of her jump-off, Shulman said, “I planned to do five, which is the leave out, from jumps two to three. I did not get it done as well as I would have liked, but I was really grateful for Ginger in that moment because she really took the wheel. It was a little bit of a blind run to the double, but she was very careful and got out of the way. These are all great riders in this class, and the top three are really competitive, so it just worked in our favor today.”
Less than three-tenths of a second stood between Shulman and Tanimara Macari (MEX), who was last to go in the tie-breaking round riding Feminka for owner Jorge Macari. She and the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Verdi TN x Numero Uno) came up just shy of the victory in 31.84 seconds.
“This time it was all or nothing; my trainer said, ‘we have to go for it this time!’,” said Macari. “It worked out. Not as much as we thought it would, but second is great. [Feminka and I] have been growing together since she was seven. Every time that we’re in there, she fights for me to her fullest. We’re really partners.
“This is my first year doing the complete [Under 25] season, and I think it’s a great opportunity to prepare yourself for the bigger classes,” continued Macari of her history in the division.
Rounding out the podium, 23-year-old Jessica Mendoza (GBR) piloted her own Diamants Aurora to third in a time of 31.89 seconds.
“Sydney had a very quick round. and I didn’t think I could beat it, but I thought I’d give it a go,” said Mendoza, who has been competing in Under 25 classes for three years. “This is actually my mare’s third jump-off with me, so I thought this time I’d really try and give her a quick ride, and she was amazing.”
Also posting a double clear, Flo Norris (GBR) took fourth in 31.96 seconds riding Con Pleasure 4, owned by Cisca Norris. Capping the top five, Sophie Gochman (USA) and Carola BH stopped the clock at 33.70 seconds for owner Gochman Sport Horses LLC.

Brian Moggre Clinches Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Classic CSIO4*

Brian Moggre and Nikita Jolie / Photo © Sportfot

It came down to a minute to win it in the $37,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Classic CSIO4* to highlight daytime competition in the International Arena on Friday. Well on his way to making his in-ring debut on the NetJets U.S. Jumping Team this weekend, Brian Moggre, 18, was the only rider to break the one-minute mark over the speed track.
Moggre, hailing from Flower Mound, TX, bested a field of 47 riders to win aboard new mount Nikita Jolie, the horse he owns together with Ken and Emily Smith of Ashland Farms. Their time of 58.61 seconds bumped Canada’s Sam Walker to second place in 60.37 seconds aboard Coralissa for owner Marbill Hill Farm.
Nikita Jolie, a 10-year-old Oldenburg mare (Numero Uno x Ladalco) came to be with Moggre after a catch ride gone right during week six.
“I borrowed her for the ranking class that week, and quickly decided to purchase her together with Major Wager LLC and Ashland Farms,” said Moggre of how the mare came to join his string. “She went in there today really game, and it’s promising to have a new horse go in and be so successful from the start.”
Moggre put Nikita Jolie’s ground-covering stride to the test and came out on top, saying, “I thought we would give it a go and see what we had. She rose to the occasion, and we seem to know each other well without much time. I’m excited to see what she can do”
Looking forward to his Nations Cup debut on Saturday evening, Moggre said, “This red coat is something I’ve always wanted. Putting it on for the first time was an amazing feeling, and now I never want to take it off.”
Brianne Goutal-Marteau (USA) took third place riding Tanael des Bonnes for owner Gerald Ford in a time 61.41 seconds, while Bliss Heers (USA) finished in fourth in the irons of Antidote de Mars, owned by Bridgeside Farms LLC, with a time of 63. 48 seconds. Erynn Ballard (CAN) capped the top five riding Canora Z in 63.60 seconds for owner Emma Waldfogel.
Also winning in the International Arena at WEF on Friday, Peter Lutz (USA) topped the $6,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.40m Jumper Speed Challenge riding Air Pia Vg Z, owned by Swede Ventures LLC.

For full results, visit www.PBIEC.com.

Photo credit: Photos © Sportfot, official photographer of the Winter Equestrian Festival.

Edited Press Release by Lindsay Brock and Sabrina Brashares for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.