WEF holds its eighth week of competition on February 28-March 4 with CSIO 4* competition sponsored by U.S. Trust & Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Highlights include the $35,000 Hermès Under 25 Semi-Final Grand Prix on Friday, March 2, at 7 p.m., the $150,000 Nations Cup CSIO4*, presented by U.S. Trust & Bank of America Merrill Lynch on Saturday, March 3, at 7 p.m., and the $205,000 CSIO4* Grand Prix, presented by Lugano Diamonds on Sunday, March 4, at 1 p.m. WEF hosts hunter, jumper, and equitation competition until April 1 and offers more than $9 million in prize money.
There were 67 entries in Thursday’s feature class, and the format was a speed course designed by Ken Krome (USA). Granato and Carlchen W, a ten-year-old Mecklenberg gelding by Chacco-Blue x Continue, sped over the obstacles and stopped the timers in 65.03 seconds.
They finished just ahead of Olympic gold medalist Beezie Madden (USA) and Abigail Wexner’s Con Taggio, who finished in 65.81 seconds. Third place went to Richie Moloney (IRL) and Ypaja Yando, owned by Equinimity LLC, who had a time of 65.93 seconds.
The speed format “definitely suits this horse for this class,” said Granato, who is originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, but calls Wellington home now. “He’s very naturally fast so it’s nice to get in there and just pick up a rhythm and stick with it. We have two days before we jump Sunday since he’s not in the Nations’ Cup. I will definitely use both of those days to my full advantage on relaxing him back down and really regaining his focus, but I do think it was a nice class for him to start with.”
Granato watched Madden compete before him in the class. “She’s so deceivingly fast and amazing to watch. She’s so smooth and tight with her track,” he said. “Going late I had the benefit of watching some others. McLain (Ward) came out and mentioned to me that he should have done the six (strides) down the last line. He was very smooth and rideable today, so jumping through the last combination I put my eye on the track for the six and got right on it and I think that’s the best place where I got the time.
“It’s probably the biggest win I’ve had with this horse,” said Granato of Carlchen W, his mount for almost five years. “[They have] been great owners with me and really let me take my time developing him. It’s our first week doing a four-star. With it being Nations’ Cup week, it means a lot to go in and have them play the national anthem for your country on home soil because of you.”