Wellington, Fla. – Apr. 1, 2022 – The 2022 season may be winding down for the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), but that didn’t stop some of the world’s elite equestrian athletes from taking the stage on the Stadium Derby Field Friday afternoon to vie for top honors in the $37,000 Bainbridge 1.45m CSI5*. With threats of severe storms in the area, seven horse-and-rider combinations scratched leaving 49 to tackle the track set by Guilherme Jorge (BRA). Ultimately it was Great Britain’s Grace Debney on Temple Equestrian LLC’s Zarina De Vidau who bested the field.
The single-round 16-effort speed class included plenty of room to gallop in between fences. Ireland’s Darragh Kenny and Riley Newsome’s Cicomein VDL,, took the early lead as 16th in the order-of-go with a clear-round time of 56.4 seconds. Fellow Irishman Daniel Coyle went 18th in the lineup, producing a fault-free ride in 55.23 seconds aboard Farona, Sarah Kim’s 12-year-old KWPN Mare. Coyle and Farona continued to hold the top two positions until 18-year-old Debney and ‘Zarina’ blazed a new trail, crossing the Rolex timers in 54.97 seconds without fault.
Debney credited her speedy time to her long-time partnership with the 11-year-old mare. The young athlete’s ability to trust her plan and leave strides out where more veteran riders Coyle and Kenny did not, ultimately made all the difference in the placings as her and Zarina De Vidau claimed the winning prize. The future is bright for Debney, who has an expansive resume from wins in the equitation to international jumper ranks.
Show jumping competition at the Winter Equestrian Festival comes to a pinnacle Saturday April 2, with the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI5* taking place at 11:00 a.m on the Stadium Derby Field.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
On choosing Zarina De Vidau for the class:
“She loves the grass, we find that she jumps unbelievable there. Her stride becomes twice as big so I just think she has a lot of fun out here. She’s the kind of horse that just wants to keep jumping, to keep going. She has such a huge heart.”
On how it feels to win a CSI5* during Rolex week at WEF:
“It’s a huge deal. This has been a dream of mine for the longest time and honestly, I never thought it would come true, so the fact that it is is just unbelievable. Especially on Zarina. I’ve had her for so long and she’s really been my rock and has stepped up even more this year. I never in a million years thought that I was going to do [CSI5* competitions] on this horse. I knew we were going to jump big enough, but I never dreamed of doing the CSI5* Rolex week and winning so it’s unbelievable.”
On how their partnership helped her go against veteran riders:
“I got to see and watch how to do it, and I think that gave me a lot of advantage too – where I can really make up the time and that’s what I noticed from Daniel [Coyle]’s round. I thought maybe I could leave out one more stride and that’s what really did it I think. In those leave outs, every time there was that split second in my head that I thought ‘pull for one more,’ I realized, ‘it’s Zarina, she’s got it.’ We have such a good relationship and partnership. She wants to do her best and I think she has a lot of trust in me and I have a lot of trust in her, so it really works.”
$37,000 Bainbridge Grand Prix CSI5*
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Owner / R1 Faults | R1 Time
1. Zarina De Vidau / Grace Debney / GBR / Temple Equestrian LLC / 0 | 54.97
2. Farona / Daniel Coyle / IRE / Ariel Grange / 0 | 55.23
3. Cicomein VDL / Darragh Kenny / IRE / HKC Collection / 0 | 56.4
4. Ivory TCS / Daniel Coyle / IRE /Ariel Grange / 0 | 56.71
5. Kiana Van Het Herdershof / GER / Daniel Deusser / Stephex Stables / 0 | 57.02
6. Brighton / Tiffany Foster/ CAN / Artisan Farms / 0 | 57.32
7. Hellcat / Paul O’Shea / IRE / Eye Candy Jumpers / 0 | 57.49
8. Lazy / Zoe Conter / BEL / Stephex Stables & Aurora Farms, LLC 0 | 57.7
9. Fecybelle / Karl Cook / USA / Helen Signe Ostby / 0 | 57.82
10. Tic Tac / Ben Maher / USA / Jane Forbes Clark / 0 | 57.88