As mentioned in a previous post, the press love it when Rolex comes to WEF as the grand prix sponsor. In the media room, an extra-large bottle of champagne beckons, the object of a raffle if a member of the press can correctly guess the winning horse and rider in the night’s grand prix.
However, on Saturday evening, for the $372,000 FEI World Cup Grand Prix CSI-W5*, presented by Fidelity Investments, the members of the media filled out their raffle slips with the usual suspects – Ben, Kent, Eric. Not a one of us bet on a small chestnut mare and her French rider.
Even though the champagne went unclaimed for the evening, we were all thrilled for Marie Hecart, who picked up her first Saturday Night Lights win, and her biggest career victory, when she beat Ben Maher, Eric Lamaze, and the rest of the star studded lineup with pure speed and a little bit of luck.
Hecart and her 15-year-old Selle Francais mare by Quidam de Revel are hard workers and have developed a deep partnership – Hecart has had the ride on “Mini Me” since the mare was a four year old. They’ve been on great form this season, and their double clear rounds were a thrill for the crowd, which loved watching the tiny mare fly over jumps taller than the tips of her ears. Lamaze (my pick for the champagne winner) would have stolen the victory from Hecart if not for a rail down in the jumpoff, but he accepted his third place accolades with a smile.
That’s the way it goes on a Saturday night, and we’ll all have a chance to bet again this season – this grand prix was the first of four FEI five-star weeks, and the winter season is still young. Enjoy this night in pictures from an exciting, action-packed evening in Wellington, FL. For full results, go here.
Thrilled with their first clear round of the night, excited for what’s to come.