Edited Press Release
Canadian Olympian Tiffany Foster climbed atop a ‘Saturday Night Lights’ podium at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) for the first time on January 28 during Week 3. Piloting Battlecry, Foster won the $215,000 NetJets CSI4* Grand Prix in front of a packed house at Wellington International. WEF hosts 12 weeks of FEI Competition at Wellington International and runs through March 31.
Over courses set by fellow Vancouver, BC, native Peter Grant, Foster bested a who’s who of show jumping from an original starting field of 46 and an eight-horse jump-off brimming with horse and rider talent.
Battlecry, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Vigo d’Arsouilles STX x Latano) that Foster owns together with longtime sponsor Artisan Farms and Kent Farrington, put his massive stride to good use in Grant’s sweeping short course. They stopped the timers at 39.63 seconds as last to go.
“I’m really happy to finally check this one off,” said Foster, who took over the ride on Battlecry while still competing in young horse classes as a seven-year-old. “It feels great because I have competed a lot here. My horse has a little bit of a right drift – just like every horse, he goes one way or the other – so, I thought the jump-off was actually going to suit him.
“I knew I would be able to get the seven pretty easily up to the wall, and if you were able to take a run across the middle to that oxer and do the six into the double it required extreme athleticism on the horses part,” continued Foster, 39. “I have a lot of faith in my horse and I knew that that right drift would help me get there in that number. I also know that this horse seems to really love to run to the last jump. By the time I cleared that plank was clear, I knew I could take a rip at that last one and he was going to fly it.”
The final podium hosted an all-female top three from three different nations with Brazil’s Luciana Lossio and her own 14-year old Lady Louise Jmen taking second, and Nina Mallevaey taking third for France aboard Cartier SR, and 12-year old Holsteiner gelding (Canturenter x San Patrignano Cassini) owned by The Rein Family. Lossio clocked in just off the pace at 40.07 seconds, while Mallevaey stopped the clock at an even closer 40.12 with less than a second separating the top five placings.
“We’ve seen some pretty big guns winning here and I think that’s a testament to everybody getting ready for this Olympic year and coming knowing that this is the premier winter circuit in the world,” concluded Foster.
After coupling her success in the NetJets Grand Prix with a top-five finish in Thursday’s Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup Round 3, Foster was awarded the Martha Jolicoeur Leading International Rider Award, presented together with Michael and Wendy Smith.
After winning the CSI2* grand prix during NetJets week at WEF in 2023, Lossio stepped up to the four-star ranks with the same horse this year. “We’ve been together for six years already and we’ve been growing together during all this time,” she said. “For me it’s a huge honor to be here with Tiffany Foster. It’s my third WEF season so we always watch these great riders and for me it’s a big honor to be here.
“Finishing behind her it’s almost like winning for me,” said Lossio.
One of a strong contingent of French riders competing in Wellington during the winter season, Mallevaey started strong with a top-three finish early in the circuit.
“This is one of my first podiums at this level with Cartier,” said Mallevaey, who trains with British Olympic Champion Nick Skelton. She added with a smile, “Nick told me I could have gone faster to the last, but I’m so happy with my horse. He’s really trying to do everything for me. I’m going to try to have many more podiums like this.”
To cap the evening, Foster’s groom and Battlecry’s caregiver Kaytlyn Brown was presented with the $500 Grooms Award by Double H Farm’s Quentin Judge and Cayce Harrison.
Top Five Results: $215,000 NetJets CSI4* Grand Prix
- Tiffany Foster (CAN) & Battlecry: 2014 Belgian Warmblood gelding (Vigo d’Arsouilles STX x Latano)
Owners: Tiffany Foster, Artisan Farms, Kent Farrington
- Luciana Lossio (BRA) & Lady Louise Jmen: 2010 mare
Owner: Luciana Lossio
- Nina Mallevaey (FRA) & Cartier SR: 2012 Holsteiner gelding (Canturenter x San Patrignano Cassini)
Owner The Rein Family
- Ben Maher (GBR) & Faltic HB: 2010 Dutch Warmblood stallion (Baltic VDL x Concorde)
Owners: Ben Maher, Charlotte Rossetter, Pamela Wright
- Cian O’Connor (IRL) & Maurice: 2012 Belgian Warmblood gelding (Thunder van de Zuuthoeve x Eros Platiere)
Owner: Pat Crean
The International Arena hosted 2* riders earlier in the day on Saturday with the $10,000 Florida Coast Equipment CSI2* 1.40m Speed. Ireland’s Jordan Coyle won the race against time with mount ‘Emerald Irish Cruise’ (Ringfort Cruise x Mount Diamond Flag), owned by Celtic Park LLC, clearing the course in 62.81 seconds. Second place went to Israel’s Sydney Shulman Desiderio and Villamoura, owned by Jill Shulman, with a clear time of 63.76 seconds. Taking third in a clear 68.37 seconds was USA’s Eve Jobs and her own Valentino Tuiliere.