Wellington, Fla. – April 3, 2021 – Thirteen weeks of high-performance show jumping competition during the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) culminated in the $214,000 Wellington Agricultural Services Grand Prix CSI4* Saturday afternoon. As the final test of some of the world’s top athletes and horses, a field of 42 starters took to the International Arena in one final attempt at the top spot on the leaderboard. In a valiant fight to the finish, it was ultimately the United States’ Adam Prudent and Plain Bay Farm’s Baloutinue who claimed the final grand prix win of the winter season.
Veteran course designer Olaf Peterson Jr. (GER) set forth a challenging 14-effort first-round track, offering multiple combinations on course and opportunities to opt for rollback turns to stay within the 81-second time allowed. The third pair in the order of go, Greece’s Ioli Mytilineou and Levis de Muze, claimed the early clear round, with Canada’s Jim Ifko and Un Diamant Des Forets posting the second fault-free round of the afternoon as the ninth pair in the lineup. With a forced jump-off early on in the class, six additional athletes would add their name to the jump-off list by the conclusion of the first round, including Prudent (USA), Kristen Vanderveen (USA), Nayel Nassar (EGY), Kent Farrington (USA), McLain Ward (USA) and Laura Kraut (USA).
A total of four nations were represented in the field of eight athletes invited back to Peterson Jr.’s 7-obstacle shortened jump-off course. The talented lineup was met with new challenges, such as a new fence being introduced on course as well as various spots to demonstrate tight turns in an effort to shave time off the clock. As the pathfinders, Mytilineou and Levis de Muze put in a double-clear effort to claim the early lead in the class, stopping the timers in 40.20 seconds. The lead would immediately change hands to Canadian Ifko, as he left all of the rails intact and shaved four seconds off of Mytilineou’s time, finishing in 36.54 seconds. Prudent entered the International Arena next, hungry for a win, and he put in an efficient and tidy effort aboard Baloutinue, an 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding. The pair crossed the finish line in 35.28 seconds without knocking any rails, moving them right up into the leading spot.
The few that followed could not match Prudent’s impressive jump-off round, with Vanderveen and Nassar incurring faults on course. Next in the arena, Farrington put in a clear effort aboard Gazelle, but was just short of Prudent’s quick time as he finished in 37.37 seconds. The penultimate pair, Ward and Kasper Van Het Hellehof, also had unfortunate rails down on course, leaving it up to the final contenders to try their hand at unseating Prudent. Kraut and Goldwin, owned by Stars and Stripes, showcased a final clear effort, but their time was not fast enough to catch Prudent, ultimately lending him the victory Saturday afternoon.
In just their third grand prix jump-off together since the partnership began, Prudent and Baloutinue claimed a momentous win, setting the standard for competitions to follow. Ifko and Eventyre Farms’ Un Diamant Des Forets finished the class in second place, with Farrington and Gazelle, owned by Farrington and Robin Parsky, rounding out the top three.
Competition during the 13-week 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival series will conclude Sunday, April 3, kicking off at 8:00am with the $10,000 SJHOF High Junior Jumper 1.45m Classic, followed by the $50,000 Grand Prix CSI2* and the $10,000 Medium Junior Jumper 1.35m Classic.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Adam Prudent – $214,000 Wellington Agricultural Services Grand Prix CSI4* winner
On the course:
“In the first round, the course was pretty set in stone with what you had to do in between the lines, and in the second course, it had to be more executed. In the jump-off, I knew I had a lot of fast people behind me so I knew I had to lay it down and take every risk I could and it went quite well.”
“This horse is very careful. We haven’t had a chance to go fast yet and this is my third grand prix jump-off with him. I really pushed it to the limit this time and he performed the best that he could today.”
On his plans after WEF:
“For us, we’re definitely going to take some time off, give the horses a good month off and go back to the farm in Virginia. Then we’ll go back down to Kentucky, but we’ll see from there. It’s a crazy time right now and we don’t know what’s happening in Europe, but we are tentatively planning on going to Michigan, and then we’ll see.”
Jim Ifko – $214,000 Wellington Agricultural Services Grand Prix CSI4* second place
On Un Diamant Des Forets:
“Monte is what I call a very aggressive stallion. When he’s in the ring he is a competitor for sure. In the jump-off I had two advantages on the two really long stretches with two long nine strides to two verticals. He has the ability to just run straight down towards a vertical and leave it up, so I felt confident riding down those lines. Lucky enough it worked in our favor today.”
On his plans for the future:
“We have a bit of a forced break. When we came down we were anticipating, and of course hoping, that the Spruce Meadows summer circuit would happen, but during the middle of this series we found out that it wasn’t going to happen. We’re still going home after this, but as Adam [Prudent] said, it’s challenging times and we’ll wait and see if anything materializes in our way, but if not, we’ll make our way back for Michigan.”
Kent Farrington – $214,000 Wellington Agricultural Services Grand Prix CSI4* third place
On his third place finish:
“I went later in the jump-off, these two, [Adam Prudent] and [Jim Ifko], went earlier and were very aggressive, which I love, and they are great sports. Both of them had incredible rounds today and the jump-off was very open today which, as Jim said, suited a very quick moving horse which both of theirs are. My mare [Gazelle] is 15 years old, and I’ve been bringing her back slowly. She was still a little rusty when we first started, so I’m glad she’s back in form. She is shortlisted for the Olympics so we’ll see how that goes. I like to think she’s on the upswing again. It was a good day for us!”
On the quality of competition at WEF:
“There were more Europeans here than in the past, I think the top 5 of the top 10 riders in the world which raises everybody’s level. I don’t think there is an easy class to win during this circuit, so anybody that has won a class here has earned it. There’s high quality horses and riders, and today was no exception. Adam [Prudent] had an incredible win today. I’ve known him and his family a long time, they are incredible horse people, so hats off to them today.”
On his future plans:
“Our plans are unknown. We are all very lucky that we were able to compete here all winter. There’s still a couple of events coming up but I’m not sure if I’ll compete in those, but we will give the horses a break and keep it easy here.”
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / Country / R1 Time | R1 Faults / R2 Time | R2 Faults
1. Baloutinue / Adam Prudent / Plain Bay Farm / USA / 78.88 | 0 / 35.28 | 0
2. Un Diamant Des Forets / Jim Ifko / Eventyre Farms LTD / CAN / 76.22 | 0 / 36.54 | 0
3. Gazelle / Kent Farrington / Robin Parsky & Kent Farrington / USA / 80 | 0 / 37.37 | 0
4. Levis de Muze / Ioli Mytilineou / Elia Construction SA / GRE / 79.39 | 0 / 40.20 | 0
5. Goldwin / Laura Kraut / Stars and Stripes / USA / 78.14 | 0 / 40.85 | 0
6. Lucifer V / Nayel Nassar / Evergate Stables, LLC / EGY / 78.27 | 0 / 36.15 | 4
7. Bull Run’s Risen / Kristen Vanderveen / Bull Run Jumpers, Inc. / USA / 80.75 | 0 / 38.16 | 0
8. Kasper Van Het Hellehof / McLain Ward / Poden Farms / USA / 77.35 | 0 / 37.85 | 0
9. Hilton Van de Breepoel / Brittni Raflowitz / ESI Show Jumpers, Inc. / USA / 81.50 | 1
10. Cristalline / Adrienne Sternlicht / Starlight Farms 1 LLC / USA / 81.72 | 1
11. Viva Colombia / Brianne Goutal-Marteau / Brianne Goutal LLC / USA / 82.01 | 1
12. Valkyrie de Talma / Rachel Cornacchia / Eventyre Farms / 82.086 | 1