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Chris Kappler And Royal Kaliber Win $50,000 Bayer/USET Wellington Cup, CSI***

WELLINGTON, FL - February 8, 2004 - It was an early birthday present for Chris Kappler who will turn 38 tomorrow - he picked up his first Grand Prix win at the 32nd Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida, today. Riding Royal Kaliber owned by Kathy Kamine, Kappler topped a field of 37 entries in the $50,000 Bayer/USET Wellington Cup, CSI***. More than 5,200 fans were in the stands to witness a competition that showcased two of America's best hopefuls for the Olympic Games - Kappler, and McLain Ward who placed second on Sapphire. OLN recorded the competition for broadcast at a later date.

"I think he's sizing up different distances to see what he's going to slam us with in the Olympics," said Kappler of course designer Olaf Petersen's demanding tracks - Petersen will also build the courses at the summer Athens Olympic Games. "We were a little bit guinea pigs today to see what he's got planned for us in the future."

The 13-fence Round One track included a double at Fence 3 and a triple at 11 that caught a majority of riders. Four riders were eliminated on course and two riders chose to retire. "In my opinion 3A was difficult because it was a little blind - they had an island of standards and flowers. People sort of whipped around the island and the horses were a little surprised by that combination," Kappler explained about 3AB's difficulty. He noted with a laugh what the challenge of the triple was. "You had a very big triple bar with a terrible distance to the triple combination. I don't know how many feet it was, but no matter how you did it, it didn't seem to come nice. It was a difficult four [strides] or super-steady five and it was just hard to do either way." Kappler said he planned and executed the five.

Ward planned and executed the four, though he joked that he adamantly disagreed with Kappler on the strides during the course walk. "The key to that line was pick one or the other and execute," said Ward. "The people that were wishy-washy and were deciding when they turned the corner is where the problems were."

Four riders went clear for the Jump-Off. Petersen introduced two new fences for the nine-effort tiebreaker and set time allowed at 69 seconds. Argentinean Federerico Sztyrle, 39, of Sagaponack, NY, led off on Who Knows Lilly owned by Sag Pond Farm, with a time of 46.28 and a four-fault rail, finishing in third place. Kimberly Frey, 39, of Hume, VA, attempted the test next, but went off course and was eliminated, and had to settle for fourth place. Kappler of Pittstown, NJ, and Royal Kaliber laid down the first clear round in 44.28, which proved to be unbeatable and gave them the victory. Last to go, McLain Ward, 28, of Brewster, NY, riding Sapphire, a mare he owns with Double H Farm and Missy Clark, had the second fence down and clocked in at 44.82 for second place.

"My horse made a green mistake in the jump-off," explained Ward. "In the second jump on the landing where those large Cosequin bottles are, you had to try to slice inside them - she's a little inexperienced and she saw the bottles and cut down on the jump behind. But it's a mistake I can chalk up to a learning experience. I was thrilled. I thought the course was very demanding today. There were some great horses in the jump-off and she performed beautifully."

Ward was gracious about his unsuccessful shot at another win to add to his five-victory streak so far at WEF. "I would have liked to have won, but to lose to Chris and Royal Kaliber is not such a bad thing. It is, in my opinion, the best combination in the world. My horse and I are building towards the Olympics. I have three great horses but ideally if everything goes right this is the horse I'd like to go to the Games on."

Kappler has three Grand Prix horses - Royal Kaliber, Primeur, and Profox - for the 10-week circuit which culminates at the American Invitational in April, but chose the 12-year-old bay Dutch stallion for today's competition as part of his overall plan. Kappler noted that he keeps a legal pad of master plans for all of his horses, adjusting their schedules each week. "I have his schedule mapped out. I started with the Invitational and worked my way backwards. I like to get going early on in the circuit with the horses because it's easier to back off than it is to catch up." Kappler said Royal Kaliber's next class is in two weeks - a World Cup Preliminary Competition - the $60,000 Idle Dice Classic on February 22 at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club.

Kappler also pointed out that this being an Olympic year impacts all of the riders who are hopefuls. "We really need to go as a country and do well. It's important that everybody is competitive in every class and drives each other on to be the very best so that we get the very best horse/rider combinations for Athens."

Brianne Goutal And Marga Win $10,000 High Junior Jumper Classic
In earlier competition in the Internationale Arena, Brianne Goutal rode Marga for Beacon Hill Partners to victory in the $10,000 High Junior Jumper Classic, besting a field of 24 entries. Junior Jumpers are riders that have not yet reached their 18th birthday.

Six horses went clean over the 12-fence Round One course and qualified for the Jump-off. It proved to be a battle between Goutal and Addison Phillips -- both riders had two mounts.

Goutal led off over the seven-effort tiebreaker aboard Onira owned by Cloverleaf Farm, and set the pace with a clear round in 34.214. Next to go, Phillips edged Goutal out of the top spot with a clear trip aboard her own Cantus Anuberth II, clocking in at 34.214. Aimee Aron chased the leaders and caught them, shaving two seconds off the time when she clocked in at 32.091, but a rail down placed her fifth. Dorothy Grubb went next and had the fastest time, 32.050, riding Ria 56 for owner Kinloch Enterprises, but had the unfortunate last rail down and ended up fourth. Goutal returned on Marga and snatched the lead back with her clear trip in 33.859. Phillips had one more shot at the win, but started off her second mount, Rastella owned by Halifax Farm, with the first fence down and a time of 34.627, which placed her sixth.

Goutal finished in the money on three mounts - the teenager racked up $4,300 in prize money. She won with Marga earning $3,000; placed third with Onira for a $1,000 paycheck; and also took the 11th place slot aboard Mon Gamin for Cloverleaf Farm, pocketing $300.

For full results of today's classes, visit

Show days for the 2004 Winter Equestrian Festival are Wednesday through Sunday. Gates open at 8:00 am. Ticket Prices: Wednesdays are free to everyone; Children 12 and under are admitted free every day; Young Adults 13 to 18 and Seniors are $5 on Thursday through Sunday; Adults are $5 on Thursday and Friday, $10 on Saturday, and $15 on Sunday. The Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club is located on Pierson Road off South Shore Boulevard. For additional information, visit or call 561-793-5867.

February 11 - 15 Kilkenny/ICH Internationale CSI***
February 18 - 22 Florida Classic/WCHR Spectacular CSI-W/Y CSI-Ch
February 19 - 22 Zada Enterprises, LLC Florida Dressage Classic
February 25 - 29 PDP Capital Wellington Masters CSI***
March 3 - 7 CN Wellington Open CSI-W
March 10 - 14 CSIO United States Cosequin Finale CSIO***
March 18 - 21 Zada Enterprises WEF Dressage Classic CDI***/Y
(Qualifier for Olympic Selection Trials)
March 24 - 28 Tampa Bay Classic CSI-W (Bob Thomas Equestrian Center)
March 30 - April 3 Tournament of Champions CSI-W (Bob Thomas Equestrian Center)
April 3 Budweiser American Invitational (Raymond James Stadium)

February 15 $50,000 Kilkenny/ICH Internationale Cup, CSI***
February 22 $60,000 Idle Dice Classic, presented by Palm Beach Post, CSI-W
February 29 $75,000 PDP Capital Masters Cup, CSI***
March 7 $75,000 CN Wellington Open presented by Estates of Wellington Green, CDI-W
March 12 $50,000 Samsung Nations' Cup, presented by CN, CSIO****
March 14 $100,000 Cosequin U.S. Open Jumper Championship, CSIO****
March 28 $75,000 Grand Prix of Tampa, presented by Kilkenny/ICH, CSI-W
April 3 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational, presented by The Tampa Tribune


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