Just 2/100ths of a second was all Ian Millar needed to capture the $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix over Brianne Goutal on Jan. 17 at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Fla.
A 10-time Olympic veteran for Canada and one of the sport's most illustrious stars, Millar had a fantastic 2014 season with Dixson, including a big win in the $1.5 Million CP International Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows and a trip to France for the Canadian show jumping team at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
Millar called the first-round course, which resulted in a four-horse jump-off, "extremely interesting. A course designer like that will find weaknesses in a horse and rider. There's no way around it—a rider's flaws are going to come out and a horse's flaws are going to come out.
"The jump-off could have had a little more imagination in it for my liking," Millar admitted. "It was just one track as fast as you could go. There weren't really any options. You could take a stride out to the liverpool, but it was pretty much a straight run and gun. It's good that it turned out that it was only five of us. It gets too crazy at that point. You would rather slow it down and get more of a jumping contest."
Although the time to catch was very fast, Brianne Goutal was just off the winning mark for her second-place finish with Zernike K and was very happy with her mount's performance.
"He's amazing," she smiled. "He is just a really classical little guy with great style. He tries really hard. He has been a little up and down. He was a little bit inconsistent last year, but all summer long and fall up until now, he has been very consistent. He is wonderful, and he really gives it his best shot each time. I felt he was super smooth tonight. He did everything I was asking, going and coming back really nicely, which is what I was having trouble with before. I am thrilled with how he went."
Final Results: $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix CSI 2*
1. DIXSON: 2003 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Vigo d'Arsouilles x Olisco, IAN MILLAR (CAN), Ariel and Susan Grange: 0/0/40.10
2. ZERNIKE K: 2004 KWPN gelding by Sam R 60 x H Topas, BRIANNE GOUTAL (USA), Remarkable Farms LP: 0/0/40.12
3. QUIDAM'S CHERIE: 2005 Oldenburg mare by Quidam's Rubin x Lifestyle, CIAN O'CONNOR (IRL), Adena Springs: 0/0/40.27
4. DAKOTA: 2003 Belgian Warmblood mare by Calvados Ex Sable Rose x Cash, PAIGE JOHNSON (USA), Salamander Farm: 0/0/40.99
5. VEYRON: 2006 Oldenburg stallion by Conterno Grande x Heartbreaker, LJUBOV KOCHETOVA (RUS), Ljubov Kochetova: 0/42.40
6. ATLANTA 541: 2005 KWPN mare by For Pleasure x Libero H, MEREDITH MICHAELS-BEERBAUM (GER), Michaels & Beerbaum gmbH: 1/77.37
7. WAOMI: 2003 KWPN mare by Lupicor x Boreas, KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Amalaya Investments: 4/71.45
8. ROSANA DU PARK: 2005 Selle Francais mare by Kannan, ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Artisan Farms LLC: 4/72.23
9. CONTIKI: 2006 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Contendro x Calido , NICHOLAS DELLO JOIO (USA), Coker Farm Inc: 4/72.71
10. BIG SMILE: 2006 Westphalian mare by Cartano x Hors de La Loi II, CARLY ANTHONY (USA), Artisan Farms LLC: 4/73.16
11. PALOUBET: 2001 Selle Francais gelding by Baloubet Du Rouet x Voltaire, WILTON PORTER (USA), Sleepy P Ranch LLC: 4/73.34
12. NAVALO DE POHETON: 2001 Selle Francais gelding by Cumano x Double Espoir, SCHUYLER RILEY (USA), Wolfstone Stables: 4/74.36