Beat Mändli (SUI) is done being a bridesmaid in Traverse City. Already three times a second-place finisher since arriving during week two of the Traverse City Spring series, presented by Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel, he secured the win to kick off week three in Friday’s $37,000 Launch Consulting CSI3* Welcome Stake with Vic Des Cerisiers.
Twice second and now a winner, Vic Des Cerisiers has been a long and steady partnership for Mändli. “We bought Vic as a 7-year-old,” he said of the now 13-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Olympic D’Anguerny x Desir Du Chateau) owned by Grant Road Partners LLC. “First Katie [Dinan] rode him a little bit then we switched around. He had a bit of a break over the winter and he’s just coming back to the scene. He’s doing quite well here; it’s really impressive and I’m very happy with him.”
The win wasn’t handed to the two-time Swiss Olympian, however, as he topped a six-horse jump-off to claim top honors in a time of 33.27 seconds. “I was early to go and I had a few fast ones behind me,” Mändli remarked on his strategy. “I didn’t want to go too crazy, but he feels good at the moment so I decided to have a go, and it worked out well. I had a slow start with six strides but then the rollback to that one vertical was fast and then to the oxer I made up time.”
First to jump off and second in the final placings was Roberto Teran Tafur (COL) and Dez Ooktoff, navigating to a double-clear effort just off Mändli’s time in 33.68 seconds. Third place went to Margie Engle (USA) and Royce, owned by the Gladewinds Partners, LLC, with the final double-clear effort in 34.60 seconds.
Mändli has taken several top placings in CSI3* competition in the latter two weeks of the Traverse City Spring series, including three of the top eight spots in the $37,000 CSI3* Two Phase Thursday and a second place in the $138,600 Staller CSI3* Grand Prix on Sunday of week two. The trip to Traverse City has paid off for both Mändli and Dinan, who have secured wins and top placings on each of their three mounts, with the $138,600 Serra CSI3* Grand Prix still to come Sunday afternoon.
“First of all, we love it here,” Mändli commented. “The facilities are amazing. The footing is amazing. The atmosphere is lovely, and we’re just happy to be here and we always come back here.”
After this series, the Grant Road Partners LLC horses will head to Europe to compete up to the CSI5* level with the goal for both Mändli and Dinan to jump the Nations Cup in Dublin. Ultimately, his goal is to “have some fun and win some ribbons,” which is precisely what he has done in Traverse City so far.
Final Results: $37,000 Launch Consulting CSI3* Welcome Stake
1. VIC DES CERISIERS: 2009 SF gelding by Olympic D’Anguerny x Desir Du Chateau
BEAT MANDLI (SUI), Grant Road Partners LLC: 0/0/33.27
2. DEZ OOKTOFF: 2008 KWPN stallion by Colandro x Lys Rouge
ROBERTO TERAN TAFUR (COL), Roberto Teran Tafur: 0/0/33.68
3. ROYCE: 2004 OS stallion by Cafe Au Lait x Grandilot
MARGIE ENGLE (USA), Gladewinds Partners, LLC: 0/0/34.60
4. LIVESTREAM 2: 2010 OLDBG gelding by Lordanos x Landadel
LISA CARLSEN (CAN), Lisa Carlsen: 0/4/33.32
5. ATIKA DES HAUTS VENTS: 2010 SF mare by Rock’n Roll Semilly
KATIE DINAN (USA), Grant Road Partners LLC: 0/4/33.39
6. TACHINI Z: 2009 ZANG gelding by Toulon x Burggraaf NV
MICHAEL MORRISSEY (USA), MD Stables: 0/4/34.27
7. ESCADA 289: 2012 HOLST mare by Clearway x Coriano
CAITLYN CONNORS (USA), Windridge Farm LLC: 0/WD
8. ATHOS D’ELLE: 2010 SF stallion by Apache D’Adriers x Papillon Rouge
KATIE DINAN (USA), Grant Road Partners LLC: 1/70.49
9. BUGA Z: 2010 ZANG gelding by Chester Z x Quality Touch Z
SAMUEL PAROT (CHI), Samuel Parot: 1/70.54
10. GAZELLE ES: 2011 KWPN mare by Diarado x Ukato
JONATHAN MCCREA (USA), Windsor Show Stables: 1/70.85
11. AYAMONTE BG Z: 2009 ZANG gelding by Air Jordan x Capital
DANA ESCALES (USA), Buttonwood Show Jumpers LLC: 4/68.80
12. LUIGI VD BISSCHOP: 2011 BWP gelding by Bamako De Muze x Nabab De Reve
MATT ARCHER (USA) Rhys Farms, LLC: 4/69.16
Sterling Malnik Rides to Sweet Victory in Junior Hunters
In just her mare’s second year in the hunter ring, Sterling Malnik is racking up championship honors in the Junior Hunters. Sweet Caroline, formerly a 1.35m jumper, was named champion during week III of Traverse City Spring, presented by Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel, in the Hillside Farm 3’6” Small Junior Hunter 15 & Under division.
“I was very pleased with both my rounds today,” Malnik commented about her performance. “We were very consistent; we got an 85 and 86. She couldn’t have been any better. My goal was to go in there and have great, consistent rounds going into [Adequan®/USEF Junior Hunter National Championships] next week. We did just that and I’m very happy.”
Paired together this very week in 2021, Malnik and the 11-year-old Warmblood mare have hit their stride, celebrating their one year anniversary as a partnership with numerous championships at prestigious events under their belts, including this one during World Champion Hunter Rider (WCHR) week in Traverse City.
“She’s a joy to ride,” Malnik remarked. “She’s absolutely incredible and so comfy. She’s with you every step of the way. She’s game for anything you want to do, and she’s brave as can be. You tell her and she’ll do it on the spot. She’s just such a pleasure to ride because she knows her job and she tries her heart out for me every single time I step in the ring.”
Headed into Adequan®/USEF Junior Hunter National Championships for her second appearance at the event, Malnik is feeling confident she will have a successful outing with Sweet Caroline. The previous winner of the 3’3” Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under section raved about her experience in Traverse City in the past and looks forward to another great week of Junior Hunter competition.
“I loved it when it was here last year and I’m sure they’re going to do an incredible job this year,” continued Malnik. “I’m really looking forward to it. The weather is to die for, especially coming from Florida. They run a great show. They’re always well scheduled, the footing is incredible, and the horses tend to love it. Everyone’s happy in this environment and it’s really nice to be here.”
Sweet Caroline is no stranger to the Adequan®/USEF Junior Hunter National Championships, after competing with Grace Debney in 2021. The mare, owned by Malnik, will take to the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring again to jump for a chance at the overall title in the competitive event next week.
Malnik, who hails from Ocean Ridge, FL, will now focus her efforts on Saturday evening’s $100,000 WCHR Central Hunter Spectacular with Sweet Caroline, where she will compete against juniors, amateurs, and professionals alike before resting for the Adequan®/USEF Junior Hunter National Championships.
Reserve championship honors in the Hillside Farm 3’6” Small Junior Hunter 15 & Under went to Sincerely and Raina Swani for Shadowfax Equestrian, LLC.
Other division champions were awarded Friday to conclude divisions during WCHR week. Stage Light with Hannah Kohler for Cindy Locke took championship honors in the 3’6” Small Junior Hunters 16-17, with Aribo and Lauren Little for Little Brook LLC taking reserve champion.
Champion of the 3’6” Large Junior Hunters 16-17 was Paisley Park with Lauren Little in the Irons for Little Brook LLC. Reserve champion went to Small Love and Augusta Iwasaki for Elizabeth Reilly.
Sterling Malnik was also crowned champion of the 3’6” Large Junior Hunters 15 & Under with In Writing, while reserve championship honors went to Singani and McKayla Brombach for Daniel Bedoya.