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Mike Winter Wins at Red Hills
Tallahassee, FL, USA
Photos: Anthony Trollope/
Mike Winter (CAN) and Wonderful Will
Mike Winter, originally of Toronto, ON, and now residing in Newnan, GA, took top honours and Selena O'Hanlon of Elgin, ON, finished in fifth in the first FEI World Cup Qualifier of the 2008 season at The Red Hills International Horse Trials, held March 13-16, 2008, in Tallahassee, FL. Red Hills is also a qualification trial for the Olympic Games Eventing competition, which will take place in Hong Kong, China, August 9-12, 2008.

Competing in the CIC 3* division, Winter, a member of the 2007 Pan American silver medal Team was paired with Wonderful Will, Sher and Elliot Schwartz's 10-year-old thoroughbred began the competition on a dressage score of 62.8 penalties and tied for 13th place in the field of 23 starters. The pair then recorded one of the 11 clean jumping performances over Capt Mark Philips cross country course incurring just 23.6 time penalties, and was double clear in show jumping to finish with a score of 86.4 narrowly defeating 2006 World Championships bronze medalist, American Amy Tryon and reigning Olympic gold medalist Leslie Law of Great Britain.

"The cross-country course was well suited to Wonderful Will. It was twisty through the woods," noted Winter, who has now qualified two horses, King Pin and Wonderful Will for the 2008 Olympic Games. "We have had such a long partnership, and I know how he will react. I'd like to thank my wife, horse owners and sponsors for being part of such a great team."
Clark Montgomery (USA) and Up Spirit
Sandra Donnelly, of Calgary, AB, riding her own 11-year-old Canadian Warmblood gelding Buenos Aires, finished in 10th place. Tied for fourth after dressage, Donnelly incurred 20 jump and 22.4 time penalties during cross-country and had eight faults in show jumping to finish with a score of 104.8.

Finishing just behind Donnelly in 11th place on a score of 105.3 was Leslie Grant-Law and Timber Spirit, her own 13- year -old English thoroughbred. In 15th place was Diana Burnett of Blackstock, ON, and her own Sagacious King, a 12-year-old Canadian Thoroughbred gelding.

In the CIC- World Cup Qualifier 3* division, O'Hanlon and Colombo, a 14-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding, owned by Elaine and Michael Davies. Sitting in 14th place after dressage on a score of 60 penalties, the pair added no jumping and just 20.8 time penalties on the cross-country and two time penalties in the show jumping to finish with a score of 82.8 and the fifth place ribbon.

Burnett riding her own and John and Nadia Lennox's Manny, an eight-year-old Canadian Thoroughbred gelding, finished in 12th place. Right behind Burnett was 2007 Pan American Eventing Team member Kyle Carter, of Calgary, AB, and currently based in Citra, FL, who placed 13th with his own and Nicole Shinton's 10-year-old American thoroughbred gelding and Carter's Pan Am partner Madison Park.

American Clark Montgomery and Up Spirit won the CIC-W 3* division on a score of 65.5.

In the CIC 2* division, Sonya Crampton of Victoria, BC, and Kenlis Cavalier, Raymond Venoski's nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, finished in 20th place with a score of 114.3.

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