Ifko Aces $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix CSI 2*

Canada’s Jim Ifko and Eventyre Farms’ Un Diamant Des Forets were victorious in the $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix CSI 2*. Photo by SportFot

By Kate Pettersen, Sabrina Brashares, and Kimberlyn Beaudoin for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Canada’s Jim Ifko and Eventyre Farms’ Un Diamant Des Forets were victorious in the $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix CSI 2* , after they crossed through the jump-off timers in a quick 32.73 seconds. The class, originally welcoming 45 horse-and-rider combinations into the International Arena at PBIEC, saw 12 pairs return to contest the jump-off.

It was the second two-star win of the season for Ifko and the 2008 Selle Francais stallion (Diamant De Semilly x Grace Des Forets), and after placing tenth in Thursday’s qualifier, Ifko went in with a plan that suited his fast-footed mount. “My strategy going in there was to just jump a clear round,” he explained. “Fortunately, I do have a naturally fast horse, so as much as that time allowed was quite tight, I knew that if I just stuck to the plan we would make it well within the time. Theonly problem is leaving the jumps up. It was a difficult, technical course, and on top of that with the tight time, I think it was a challenging class with all of that considered.”

Ifko has been riding the horse he fondly calls “Monty” for several years  and credited their long partnership for their continued success. “We’ve been together for quite a few years now,” Ifko commented. “I saw him as a five-year-old, and then our first season together was when he was six. We’ve been able to develop a partnership over the years, and I think that’s helped us a lot. At the end of the day I’m so lucky to have a horse that is brave, fast, careful, and wants to win. It’s a pretty amazing feeling, and I feel very lucky.”

Ifko and his team got to Wellington at the beginning of February and plan to stay for the remainder of the WEF circuit now that they’re in their groove. He concluded, “We had to play a bit of catch-up to feel comfortable, find our bearings, and shake the dust off a bit. Our horses have felt really good, and we are off to a great start, so we are hoping to continue on from there through the remainder of the circuit.”

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Jim Ifko and Un Diamant Des Forets in their awards presentation. ©Sportfot

Second place in the $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix CSI 2* went to the USA’s Paris Sellon riding Anna Jo, a 2009 Oldenburg mare (Acodetto 2 x For Pleasure) owned by Willow Grace Farm, finishing their jump-off in 34.12 seconds. Maria Costa (USA) rounded out the top three aboard Ravello Farms, LLC’s 2009 Zangersheide stallion (Verdi x Converter), Valentino V Z, clearing the fast track in 34.17 seconds.

Results: $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix CSI 2*

1. UN DIAMANT DES FORETS: 2008 Selle Francais stallion by Diamant De Semilly x Grace Des Forets
JIM IFKO (CAN), Eventyre Farms:0/0/32.73

2. ANNA JO: 2009 Oldenburg mare by Acodetto 2 x For Pleasure
PARIS SELLON (USA), Willow Grace Farm: 0/0/34.12

3. VALENTINO V Z: 2009 Zangersheide stallion by Verdi x Converter
MARIA COSTA (USA), Ravello Farms, LLC: 0/0/34.17

4. CHACCA KEEPS II: 2010 Hanoverian gelding by Chacco-Blue x For Lucy LN
SUSAN HORN (CAN), Kingsfield Farm: 0/0/35.56

5. BALOTELLI 5: 2010 Hanoverian gelding by Balou du Rouet x Contendro I
MATTHEW BODDY (GBR), Purple Road, LLC: 0/0/36.27

6. BORA BORA DE LA ROQUE: 2011 Selle Francais mare by Zandor x Geromine De Gorgon
LACEY GILBERTSON (USA), Seabrook LLC: 0/0/36.44

7. TANAEL DES BONNES: 2007 Selle Français gelding by Watch me van’t Zorgvliet x Don Pierre
BRIANNE GOUTAL-MARTEAU (USA), Gerald Ford: 0/0/36.61

8. DALIDA: 2007 Brandenburger mare by Calido I x Dawina
SLOAN HOPSON (USA), Sloan Hopson: 0/0/41.07

9. CORBAWIDO PS: 2012 PZHK by Balou Du Revention x Annette
GAVIN HARLEY (IRL), Wolfstone Stables and Sales Inc:0/4/33.85

10. ERICSON: 2009 KWPN gelding by Pandius x Saloma
AMY MILLAR (CAN), Amy Millar: 0/4/34.67

11. UPPER: 2008 Selle Francais gelding by Diamant de Semilly x Nadir de San Patrignano
DAVID OBERKIRCHER (USA), Southfields Farm LLC: 0/4/34.96

12. HORTENSIA VAN DE LEEUWERK: 2007 Belgian Warmblood mare by Corland x Danora Van De Leeuwek
MANUEL GONZALEZ DUFRANE (MEX), Manuel Gonzalez Dufrane:0/4/35.80