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Winter Equestrian Festival Week 3 Wrap-Up, February 9-13, 2005
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
2000 Olympian Laura Kraut and her Sydney Olympic partner, Anthem, galloped to victory in the $50,000 Kilkenny/ICH Internationale Cup, CSI 3* on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon in Wellington. An enthusiastic crowd of 9,083 was on hand today as forty seven starters turned out for the first American Grand Prix Association (AGA) tour event of this year’s festival.
The ambitious course was designed by Robert Ellis of Hickstead, Great Britain, and featured 13 numbered obstacles and 16 jumping efforts with a double and triple combination along with an open water jump.
Only three starters negotiated the first round course without penalties. Two horse and rider combinations had clear jumping rounds but each accumulated one time fault. 18 of Sunday’s riders came home with four faults, and five had eight faults. The balance of the starters had nine or more.
Riding out of the 18th spot in the order, Laura Kraut, who had stormed to a one-two finish in Thursday’s $25,000 WEF Challenge Cup Series Grand Prix, came in on her Olympic partner, Anthem. Much to the delight of the huge cheering crowd on hand, the veteran duo was flawless and went to the top of the leader board with the first clear ride of the day.
For the next 23 horses it was a roller coaster of emotions for the masses gathered at the Internationale Arena as one competitor after another disappointed them somewhere on the course. A number of competitors had a foot in the water jump or, if successful over the wide water, faulted at the tall green vertical that followed it immediately on a bending line. Three riders made it to the final fence before having their knockdown.
Lauren Hough, an Olympic teammate of Kraut, was up on her Sydney partner, Clasiko in the 41st spot in the jumping order. The pair were perfect and the thousands of fired up faithful exploded when Hough crossed the finish line clear, forcing the jump-off with her Sydney teammate.
Two horses later, as the last to go in the first round, grand prix novice Cayce Harrison and Coeur delighted the crowd with the third clean ride of the day to set up a three horse tiebreaker.
The jump-off was a lengthy nine fence challenge with Anthem and Kraut first to return. Kraut sailed around the speed course penalty free and put up a rapid time to beat of 43.50 seconds.
Hough and Clasiko had an early rail in the tiebreaker and breezed in with four faults in 47.92 seconds. Harrison and Coeur followed, but a later rail cost them a shot at today’s title and the duo finished up with 4 faults in 47.83 seconds.
For Kraut, the excitement of two big wins in one week had her beaming. “Wow! I’ve had just an amazing week and Anthem has just been fantastic,” she said. Kraut beat a field of 17 challengers in her win on Thursday and said that today’s smaller jump-off field made it a tougher task. “It’s hard going into the jump-off with so few. The other day when we had 17 in the jump-off you knew you just had to go in and run, but today with only three and Lauren and Cayce behind me, I went as fast as I could have gone,” Kraut recounted. “I slipped on one turn but he recovered from that amazingly well, so I guess I was a little lucky to get the clear round.”
What about the long time between her clear ride and Hough’s? “That was a long wait. I had a student that was competing over in the Junior Jumper ring so that was a really nice distraction,” admitted Kraut. “But, I could hear the crowd from there and I never heard them scream once; and I heard a lot of ‘awws’ so I knew I was the only one clear.” Kraut felt ahead of time that she wouldn’t be the only one. “I had a very positive feeling that Lauren (Hough) was going clear today and I came over to watch her go and she was fantastic out there,” Kraut said. “Then I was getting on for the jump-off when Cayce went clean.”
Kraut talked about confidence when riding a veteran equine partner like Anthem. “We’ve ridden these horses for so long and when you walk the course like we did today you just know exactly what you’re going to do. With these horses, you know they’re going to get it done for you,” Kraut confirmed. “There’s a confidence that you gain that gives you that little bit of an edge, whereas if I was on a younger horse, I might have questioned something or not been positive I could get it done,” she said.
For second place finisher Cayce Harrison, it was a big step up. “I just got this horse in late July in Europe and I rode him at a couple of shows in Holland and it didn’t really go very well,” Harrison said. “I had a rough couple of shows and I was doubting our partnership a little bit. But I credit all the help that Barney and McLain Ward have been giving me. They really believed in me and believed in the horse and our relationship,” she said. “We’ve really come a long way since the summer. I’m ecstatic. This is almost surreal for me,” Harrison smiled. “But I can see why people get addicted to this and want to go in the ring every Sunday and I’m thrilled. This is my first year doing the big classes and only my third Sunday in the ring at Wellington,” admitted Harrison. “I never really thought I could get to this level, but I’ve got so many people behind me and supporting me that I feel I can go on. I’m very excited about it and can’t wait to keep going.”
Hough paid testament to the rising stars of show jumping. “Last week with Paige Johnson finishing second and now this week with Cayce being second, it’s so great to see these young riders doing so well,” she said. “And at the highest level at one of the hardest venues in the world. Their families have been such wonderful supporters of our sport and it’s so great to see this happening.”
Kraut had only one worry on the day. Anthem failed to give his signature neigh when he came in the ring. “He did not whinny today!” exclaimed Kraut. “He always whinnies! And today all the way to the first fence I’m saying to him, ‘whinny, come on, you’ve got to whinny,’ but he never did,” she laughed. “Thursday he whinnied before the first round and before the jump off and today, he didn’t do it, twice! I was stressed out over it in the first round, but I didn’t worry about it in the jump-off,” giggled Kraut.
Kraut sang the praises of course designer, Robert Ellis. “He built phenomenal courses all week, but especially today. It seemed that there were faults at every fence on the course and even though it wasn’t the biggest course we’ve jumped here on a Sunday, it was difficult to jump clean,” Kraut divulged. “There were a lot of four faulters and only the three clean, but no horse was really struggling, so I thought it was a brilliant job.” Kraut did feel that there would be more than four in the jump-off. “When I walked the course I said to Katie Prudent, ‘I really like this course.’ Usually when I say that everyone else likes it too and there a bunch of clear rounds,” Kraut laughed. “So I was a little surprised that only three managed to go clear. I was really hoping for only one!”
Week Three Jumper Highlights
It was a victory two years in the making but McLain Ward and Galant finally returned to the winners circle on Wednesday as week three of the 2005 Winter Equestrian Festival got underway. 48 starters went to the post in Wednesday morning’s featured event, the $7500 1.45m Jumpers. The class was scored under Table II sec 2(b), Time First Jump-Off.
At the midway point of the class, Canadian Ainsley Vince on Trinity Farm’s Uno took over the lead and looked unbeatable, finishing in 41.782 seconds, a time that would hold up all the way until the very end of the class.
Vince’s lead lasted until Olympic Team Silver Medalist McLain Ward, riding out of the 46th spot in the order, crossed the finish line with Galant. When the dust settled Ward had knocked an astounding 2.77 seconds off of Vince’s top time, touring the jump-off course in a blistering 39.012 seconds.
Galant’s win on Wednesday marked a successful return to the winners circle following a two year long rehabilitation and was a comeback that Ward thought might never happen.
“Galant’s comeback is a really nice story,” explained Ward. “He was injured two years ago at the Ox Ridge Horse Show and we thought his career was over. We never thought he’d be able to make a comeback,” Ward conceded. “He injured his stifle. It was literally a career ending injury. Everyone, including me, wrote him off.”
Ward said that two years in the pastures of New York worked wonders. “We put him in a field at Blue Chip Farm in Wallkill, NY, for two years and let Mother Nature and the people there at Blue Chip work their magic,” said Ward. “They did a wonderful job rehabbing him and getting him back to the show ring. He was third on Saturday and now the win today. I couldn’t be more excited about him returning,” Ward said, smiling.
Ward said that he might have won last Saturday and wanted to make sure there was no doubt on Wednesday. “He’s a winner, but he’s a little hard to ride. He’s a really fast horse,” Ward said. “I went third in the jump-off on Saturday and was a little slow to the last fence and was a little upset with myself for that, so I wanted to make sure that today I didn’t let that happen.”
With over 120 starters in the 1.40m jumpers on Wednesday, the class was divided into two sections. Scoring was under Table III, Faults Converted into Seconds.
In Section A, the top four finishers all had single knockdowns that added four additional seconds to their original time. Ramiro Quintana and Labelle, owned by the Turnabout Farms came home victorious, clocking in at 67.458 seconds to post a narrow win over Laura Chapot on Three Coins, owned by Windsome Farm. Chapot finished just 0.31 seconds shy of Quintana’s time in 67.489 seconds. Last week’s 1.40m winner, Sprite owned and ridden by Chapot finished third on Wednesday. Sprite’s finish time was 68.432, off the winning pace by just .974 seconds.
In the late finishing B Section, Conor Swail and Natalie Johnson’s Jerremy were the winners flashing across the finish in 65.339 seconds. Coming up just fractions short again was Molly Ashe, this time riding Jane Clark’s Concerto. Ashe finished .08 behind Swail at 65.419 seconds.
The third round of the $25,000 Kilkenny/ICH Internationale WEF Challenge Cup Series took center stage on Thursday afternoon. The event, a CSI 3* competition was scored under FEI Article 238.2.2, Time First Jump-Off. 68 starters went to the post in the 1pm feature.
Robert Ellis of Great Britain, the resident course designer at Hickstead, is designing the challenges this week in the Internationale Arena.
17 of the 68 horse and rider combinations managed to negotiate Ellis’s tough first test without penalty. Another 25 starters finished up the first round with four faults while an additional 10 came home with eight faults. A tough triple combination leading to the open water accounted for a majority of the penalties.
It was an exciting jump-off track with long gallops and a number of chances for tight turns, but it was the final rollback to the last two jumps that proved to be the decision maker in today’s class.
Ramiro Quintana aboard Turnabout Farm’s Hurricane set the pace early, as the third to go in the 17 horse tiebreaker. Quintana sprinted around the course in 40.43 seconds. Hurricane was the winner of this round of the WEF Challenge Cup Series last year with McLain Ward in the irons.
Double H Farm’s Goldika, the winner of Round One of this year’s Challenge Cup, was next with McLain Ward. Ward’s jump-off ride was incredibly fast but a knockdown coming home cost Ward the win today. His time of 37.30 seconds was the fastest of the day.
Following Ward’s ride with Goldika, eight competitors tried and a number caught Quintana’s time, but all accumulated faults on their way to the finish line.
Riding twelfth in the jump-off, Laura Kraut on Anthem, her first of two chances, took over the lead with a clean round clocked in at 39.75 seconds. Anthem is owned by the Summit Syndicate. Molly Ashe and Jane Clark’s Cocu were next and had Kraut’s time beat, but pulled the rail on the final fence. Ashe finished with four faults in 38.94 seconds.
Kraut followed Ashe into the ring on her second mount for the timed tiebreaker. She was up on Miss Independent, owned by the Pasmore Stables. Kraut put in another flawless and furiously fast performance and when she blew across the finish line, the crowd was on their feet and the scoreboard was flashing a new top time of 38.27 seconds.
Kraut tried to grasp today’s 1-2 finish. “I’m shocked!” she exclaimed. “I thought, wow, to win over 68 competitors is amazing enough, but to finish first and second is pretty incredible really. On a normal Sunday we’re up against thirty or thirty five, but in these Thursday classes the odds are really stacked against you, so to win is tough enough,” she laughed. “There are just so many good horse and rider combinations and with that many jumping off, you just have to go all out if you have any hope of winning and I did that today,” said Kraut.
Kraut noted that having two horses in the jump-off was certainly an advantage. “After touring the jump-off track with Anthem I knew where I could make up a little time and go a little faster with Miss Independent,” she said. “I think I made up that time on the turn to the last line.”
Kraut also explained that she had a chance to watch Quintana’s jump-off track. “I watched Ramiro go and he was blazing fast everywhere on the course and he left a stride out down one line,” Kraut detailed. “But he did go a little wide to that last line and I knew that was the only place I could catch him.”
Kraut said that she’s just learning to be comfortable with today’s winner, Miss Independent. “Anthem is like an old shoe,” laughed Kraut. “He’s so comfortable for me. I’ve had him for five years and I feel I can jump on him and do anything. Miss Independent is new for me,” she said. “I’ve only been showing her for a year and this is her first time doing the grand prix level classes in Florida, so I’m really excited. She’s really talented and she’s so brave,” said Kraut.
Under beautiful sunny skies but unseasonably cold temperatures, a field of 96 bundled up competitors went to the post in the $5000 Acorn Hill Speed Challenge on Friday afternoon. Morning temperatures dipped to 42 degrees and rose only to an afternoon high of 57 degrees. A brisk 18 mph wind added to the chill factor.
Riding out of the ninth spot in the starting order, Molly Ashe and Jane Clark’s Concerto set the early pace. The duo produced a fault free effort in a speedy time of 62.592 seconds.
Ashe lost the lead by the narrowest of margins when Ramiro Quintana and Carousel, owned by Mary B. Schwab, shaved 2/1000ths of a second off of her time. They took over the top spot as the electronic clocks caught them in 62.590 seconds.
With almost three quarters of the big class complete, Quintana and Carousel lost their lead. 2000 Olympian Lauren Hough was next in the ring on a brand new ride. She was up on Lisa, owned by the Shalanno Farms. The duo looked as if they had been paired together forever. Hough never took back and streaked around the course in what appeared to be an unbeatable time of 60.334 seconds, 2.256 seconds faster than Carousel and Quintana. There would, however, be three more challenges for the lead.
Hough’s Olympic teammate Margie Engle and Hidden Creek’s Charlie Brown were next and ended up just shy of the target time, tripping the timers in 60.730 seconds.
A sixth place finisher last year in the third Acorn Hill Speed Challenge, Heather Caristo’s Far West with Darragh Kerins, would challenge next. Kerins put in a flawless effort and when they raced across the finish line in 60.073 seconds, they had sealed the win, nosing out Hough and Lisa for the lead by .261 of a second.
Ramiro Quintana on his final mount, Labelle, owned by the Turnabout Farm offered up the final challenge. Labelle, who finished second in this class last year, would wind up third Friday, breaking the beams in 60.632 seconds.
Kerins knew that he’d have to be fast to win today. “I saw Lauren Hough go and she was very fast and then I saw Ramiro go and he was fast too,” chuckled Kerins. “So I talked with Norman Dello Joio right before I went in and we both thought that the one place I could catch up was by doing six and five down the far side and then take a real shot at the third to last fence and give it a run coming home,” he said.
With Lisa, Lauren Hough might have found a brand new show jumping partner. “Oh my gosh, she’s an amazing, amazing animal. She’s a fabulous horse and it looks like we’re a really good match. I think I’m gonna have a lot of fun with her,” Hough beamed. “She’s unbelievably careful and the faster you go the more careful she gets. You can tell, the minute she walks in the ring, that she really enjoys what she’s doing. Lisa came to me in October and we gave her about three months to get fit. She looked like a broodmare when she arrived from California,” Hough laughed. Is Lisa a potential Grand Prix horse? “I think at this point in her life she’s the winner in this ring in the 1.40m classes,” conceded Hough. “As a third horse for me in Europe or at the indoor speed classes, I think she’s pretty hard to beat.”
Yann Candele and Tyra topped a field of 45 starters to win the $20,000 1.50m Classic Saturday afternoon.
Only five competitors navigated Ellis’ first round course without penalties. Three double combinations, two of which comprised the final line coming home, accounted for a majority of the faults. Another problem spot was the huge triple bar on a short distance to a very tall vertical midway through the course. Two additional riders did manage to cruise home without jumping penalties but exceeded the allotted time and were assessed time faults. 14 competitors had one rail down and 13 riders pulled poles at two fences.
The five that would challenge for the title included 2004 Olympic Silver Medalist, Beezie Madden, 1984 Olympic Double Gold Medalist Joe Fargis, France’s Yann Candele, Darragh Kerins of Ireland and Judy Garofalo.
Friday’s Acorn Hill Speed Challenge winner, Darragh Kerins, was the trailblazer in the first round and returned first for the timed tiebreaker. Up on Maggie Ferguson’s VDL Lotus Excell, Kerins had one knockdown in the jump-off for four faults and crossed the finish line in 46.679 seconds.
Judy Garofalo and Harlem De Mescam, owned by Cathy Garofalo, were next in the jump-off. Garofalo sailed across the finish line in 44.382 seconds but pulled two rails on the speed course for an eight fault penalty.
Yann Candele on Ashland Stable’s Tyra returned to the ring third. Candele put in a masterful performance, producing the first clear ride in the jump-off and the fastest time as well. Candele flew to the finish in 43.239 seconds.
Joe Fargis and Caucalis, owned by Frederick Graham, were next to challenge. Fargis was clear but not quite fast enough, falling just short of the target time by 9/10ths of a second. Fargis finished in 44.196 seconds.
Beezie Madden aboard Authentic, owned by Team Authentic, was the last to go. Three jumps into the tiebreaker it was apparent that Madden was just warming up for events to come. The Olympic duo wound up with a clear ride but in a time of 45.909 seconds to finish in third place.
Candele was pleased with Saturday’s effort. “My strategy in the jump off was to be efficient but not too crazy,” said a smiling Candele. “I just did the number of strides I was supposed to, not leaving any out and everything went right today.” Candele pointed out that he is pleased with the progress shown by Tyra. “I’m very happy because this mare is just starting at this level,” he said. “She’s starting to do the bigger grand prix classes and she’s jumping so beautifully.”
Candele said that he breathed a sigh of relief when it was apparent that Beezie wasn’t going for the win. “It was good to see that Beezie was just working her Olympic horse,” laughed Candele. “So that helped me out a lot.” “It was pretty big today,” Candele said. “Three weeks into the tournament, three different course designers, three different styles. I thought the combinations were pretty scopey, but with three doubles and no triples, today was ok,” he said.
Week Three Hunter Results- Thursday through Sunday
The Kilkenny/ICH Internationale is the third week of competition in the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL. The hunters are in their second week of showing after having last week off.
This week in the Pre-Green Working Hunter 3’, 98 horses were split into three sections. The largest was Section A, with 36 entries. As the results came in, there was only one horse that regularly placed in the ribbons. Leslie Clarke’s Sunday Morning and Samantha Conroy have only shown once before, but were amazingly consistent this week.
Conroy asserted that “he’s such a cute little jumper.” The judges agreed, as they pinned Sunday Morning first in two over fences classes and placed him third in the last over fences class. Sunday Morning and Conroy were the only ones to place in the top three in every over fences class in their section. “We were so pleased with the way he went this week. He’s so talented, and he always tries to do the right thing,” Conroy expressed. “He’s so straightforward for such an inexperienced horse.” Reserve champion in the A section of the Pre-Green 3’ was Simply Elegant, ridden by Quentin Judge and owned by Lara Gordon.
Two weeks ago, Take Away and Havens Schatt, riding for Cortie Wetherill, were reserve champions in the Regular Working Hunters. Although they did not win any classes this week, they were consistent enough to come home with the championship. The pair were second and third over fences on Wednesday and earned a sixth place under saddle. They placed second and third again over the jumps on Thursday, which gave them the win over reserve champions Beyond and owner/rider Scott Stewart.
Scott Stewart is well known for winning in the hunter divisions, but was still looking for his first rated division championship. He triumphed on Thursday in the Second Year Green Working Hunters on True, owned by Fashion Farm. Reserve champions were Protégé and Elizabeth Towell, who rode for All Seasons Farm.
Popeye K and Tommy Serio locked in the Regular Conformation Hunter championship again, as they won four classes in the division and placed second and sixth in the remaining two classes. Their constant top calls in the division earned the tricolor for owner Elizabeth Spencer, while Paladijn and Louise Serio received the reserve championship for Meralex Farm.
Friday at the Kilkenny/ICH Internationale was chilly, but the competition was quite hot in the First Year Green Working Hunter division at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL. The large division was split into two sections and the championships were fiercely contested.
The champion in Section A of the First Year Green Hunters was Costello, ridden by Louise Serio and owned by Shaw Johnson Price. The sweet bay gelding won two over fences classes and had another third place to pull ahead of Alexa Weisman’s Music Street and Scott Stewart, who received the reserve championship.
Island Heart and Danny Robertshaw were champions again, but topped the First Year Green Working Hunter division, Section B this week. In the opening week of the Winter Equestrian Festival, the duo won five out of six classes to capture the Green Conformation Hunter championship, and won the reserve champion in the First Year Green Hunters.
Like Serio, Robertshaw’s ride on Island Heart is fairly new. Owner Betsy Fauntleroy bought the elegant bay gelding in October, and the horse did not have much mileage in the show ring. “We were a little nervous starting him in the First Years, since he didn’t have much show experience,” Robertshaw divulged. Robertshaw was not surprised, however, that Island Heart started winning right away. “He’s got a phenomenal mind and talent. I was amazed he did so well in the ribbons, but I wasn’t surprised he went so well.” Scott Stewart was the bridesmaid again on Friday, as he guided Fellini to the reserve championship in Section B for owner Molly Ohrstrom.
Indian Summer and Holly Caristo continued their winning streak this week in Section A of the Adult Amateur 51 & Over Hunters. The pair won one over fences class and received three second places to defeat Just Harry and Debbie Bass. Champions in Section B were Dialog L and R. Bruce Duchossois, who won two classes on their way to the tricolor over Sinatra and Gretchen Hunt Weiss.
Only one hunter championship was awarded Saturday in the Kilkenny/ICH Internationale at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL. The Amateur-Owner 36 & Over division was dominated by Caroline Moran and her two stunning bay horses, In Return and Pave.
In the two over fences classes on Friday, Moran won both classes, splitting the wins between her two horses. Pave, the typey light bay, won the first class and was second behind In Return in the second class. Both received ribbons in the under saddle class, while In Return won the next over fences class and finished third in the over fences stakes class. In Return finished with the tricolor, while Pave was the reserve champion.
Moran and her two top horses are right on track for next week, the World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Spectacular/Lincoln Florida Classic. The feature for hunters is the American Hunter Jumper Foundation Hunter Spectacular of Palm Beach, which awards $12,000 and prizes for the winner. Champions and reserve champions in the rated hunter divisions next week qualify for the class. Moran is planning on having her two horses show under the lights in the big grass field of the Internationale Arena. Trainer Williamson professed, “Next week is what we’re really aiming for.”
More names were added to the list of qualifiers on Friday for the R.W. “Ronnie” Mutch Equitation Classic, which will be held on March 12. In the USEF Show Jumping Talent Search, two new names were at the top of the judge’s card. The Section A winner was Nikko Ritter, who topped Natalie Johnson, while Cordelia Allsopp beat out Addison Phillips in Section B.
Consistency was the key in the Washington International Horse Show Equitation Classic. Maggie Mc Alary was second to Blythe Marano in the jumper phase and Natalie Johnson in the hunter phase, but her high scores made her the overall winner.
Multiple championships were in abundance on Sunday at the Grand Hunter Field during f the Kilkenny/ICH Internationale at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL. The Amateur-Owner 18-35 hunters were the first division of the day and were split into two sections.
Due North and owner/rider Avery Dimmig were champions in section B of the Amateur-Owner hunters, while Brianne Goutal picked up the ride on the flashy chestnut gelding and reigned supreme in Section A of the Large Junior 16-17 Hunters.
After both riders posted wins in their first over fences classes on Saturday, a healthy competition grew between them. “We were just being very competitive with one another about what ribbons we got,” commented Dimmig. “I kept telling her that I could do better than she did, and then she kept stepping it up another level,” said Dimmig, laughing. Due North defeated reserve champions Edwina and Jack Hardin Towell Jr. in the Large Junior hunters and Regall and Paige Johnson in the Amateur-Owners.
Brianne Goutal continued her winning ways for another championship this week in the Large Junior 16-17 Hunters. In Section B, she rode Navigator for owner Manhattan Mortgage to two firsts, a second, and seventh places over fences and a fifth under saddle. The ribbons gave her the championship over Say the Word, with Alexandra Skiffington riding for Far Niente Equine.
Paige Johnson was another multiple champion at WEF this week. She and Regall were reserve champions in Section B of the Amateur-Owner 18-35 hunters, and her other mount, Skyy, was champion in Section A. They won over Reagan and Tracy Scheriff in Section A.
ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Section A
1. Whitney Weeks
2. Tracey Mack
3. Caroline Oks
1. Jessica Speiser
2. Catherine Wright
3. Michael Delfiandra
1. Blythe Marano
2. Nikko Ritter
3. Hillary Dobbs
USEF Hunter Seat Medal Section A
1. Heather Dobbs
2. Cassie Herman
3. Jessica Springsteen
1. Brianne Goutal
2. Blythe Marano
3. Whitney Weeks
1. Julia Shand
2. Addison Phillips
3. Catherine Wright