Andrew Bourns and Sea Topblue Save Best For Last in $216,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI4* at WEF 3

Wellington, Fla. – Jan. 29, 2022 – Show jumping competition at the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) continued Saturday, January 29, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). Featuring another rendition of the fan-favorite Saturday Night Lights, the $216,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI4* was highlighted in the International Arena. A field of 46 horse-and-rider combinations put their names forward for the winning title and the lion’s share of money, but it was ultimately Ireland’s Andrew Bourns and Sea Topblue who bested the rest to take home the top prize.

Andrew Bourns and Sea Topblue

Canada’s Peter Grant set the first round course fit for the CSI4* status. Kicking the class off in a strong fashion, Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) and Lord Lucio delivered a clear effort as the first pair to challenge the 1.60m track. Immediately following, Nicola Philippaerts (BEL) and Moya VD Bisschop put forth a clear effort, forcing a jump-off at the conclusion of round one. Twelve others would add their names to the jump-off roster, including Hector Florention Roca (DOM), Nina Mallevaey (FRA), Nayel Nassar (EGY), Lorenzo De Luca (ITA), Abdel Said (BEL), Brianne Goutal-Marteau (USA), Alessandra Volpi (USA), Luiz Francisco de Azevedo (BRA), Mark Mcauley (IRL), Kent Farrington (USA), Jos Verlooy (BEL), and Bourns (IRL).

Andrew Bourns and Sea Topblue

Grant’s shortened jump-off course led athletes on a winding path through the expansive arena. Eight fences made up the tiebreaking track, which introduced two new obstacles that were not in the first round. Pessoa and Artemis Equestrian LLC’s Lord Lucio were the first to contest out of the hefty 14 horse-and-rider field, setting the pace with a quick clear round with a time of 39.76 seconds. Quicker clears swiftly overtook Pessoa with the next two riders in the order, Philippaerts and Roca, just edging above with times of 39.25 seconds and 39.32 seconds, respectively. With four pairs left to go, many were clear, but none could quite catch Philippaerts. Finally, Irish rider Mcauley was able to ride a fast clear round with tidy turns to cross the finish line in 38.94 seconds, putting him into the lead. 

Mark Mcauley and Jasco VD Bisschop

In the end, it was the last rider, Bourns and Andrew Bourns Sport Horses Inc.’s Sea Topblue that topped the leaderboard. He and the 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse have been together since Bourn’s mother bought him in the Cavan Foal Auction. The pairs’ long partnership paid off as the day ended in their biggest victory yet. Second place honors for the evening went to Mcauley and SNC Mcauley’s Jasco VD Bisschop, a 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding. Philippaerts rounded out the top three aboard his own Moya VD Bisschop, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare.

Nicola Philippaerts and Moya VD Bisschop

CSI4* competition at Week Three of the Winter Equestrian Festival will continue Sunday, January 30, with the $75,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic at 9:45 a.m. in the International Arena. Preceding the $75,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic will be the $10,000 SJHOF High Junior Jumper Classic, which starts at 8:00 a.m. in the International Arena.


Andrew Bourns – $216,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI4* winner

On the courses:

“To be honest, initially when I walked the course, I didn’t think there’d be as many clear rounds. I thought the course was big enough and reasonably technical and in the end, it kind of just shows the strength of the field and the amount of good horses and good riders that are at WEF this time of year. I think we’re all a little bit surprised to see so many clear rounds in the end. To be honest, I had a plan made for the jump-off and I went in with the mindset that I have a lot that I still want to do with this horse this year, so if it was fast enough to win, great, but I had my plan and I was going to stick to it. That’s the kind of mindset I went in with.”

Andrew Bourns and Sea Topblue

On his win:

“[Sea Topblue] is a horse that has been quite successful for me already this year, and last year I had some success too, but I have to say this is probably his biggest win to date. It’s actually one of my biggest wins to date, so I’m pretty happy with that.”

On his partnership with Sea Topblue:

“We actually bought him as a foal many years ago, ten or eleven years ago. My mom bought him in the auction at Cavan, so he’s been in my family for his entire life. Last year, he jumped in CSI3* grand prix here, but he actually failed to qualify for the CSI4* night class here last year. The height of the jumps were never an issue for him, or scope, or ability, or even speed has never been a problem. It really was the rideability. If the track was overly technical, that was almost the first thing to catch him out. I definitely think I’ve worked very hard on him and we were working with a lot of different bits, but I think I have the rideability better now because I don’t have to ride him so defensively anymore. I can move forward a little bit and actually ride the course the way I want to and the way it should be ridden instead of trying to protect him or trying to avoid a fight with him. Now he’s much easier to ride and much more agreeable and makes him a much more effective horse.”

Mark Mcauley – $216,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI4* second place

On Jasco VD Bisschop’s performance:

“It’s my first time here and in Europe, we don’t jump so often under lights. Obviously indoors we do, but it’s not the same and outdoors we don’t often jump under lights. So, I didn’t really know what to expect. My horse was a little bit tense actually when he went into the ring, he was a bit spooky and a bit tense and a little bit overwhelmed. But he manned up well and I’m quite proud of him actually.”

Nicola Philippaerts – $216,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI4* third place

On his plan for going so early in the jump-off:

“I think there were quite a few in the jump-off, so I tried to get her to go and I think Moya did a fantastic job. She’s quite new at this level, so I’m very happy to have her jump very good for the first time under the lights as well. I knew there were many quick ones behind me, so I tried to give it everything, but the Irish were too strong today.”


$216,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI4*:
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / Country / R1 Time | R1 Faults / R2 Time | R2 Faults
1. Sea Topblue / Andrew Bourns / Andrew Bourns Sport Horses Inc. / IRL / 81.16 | 0 / 38.76 | 0
2. Jasco VD Bisschop / Mark Mcauley / SNC Mcauley Equestrian / IRL / 79.19 | 0 / 38.94 | 0
3. Moya VD Bisschop / Nicola Philippaerts / Nicola Philippaerts / BEL / 80.16 | 0 / 39.25 | 0
4. ABC Quantum Cruise / Hector Florention Roca / Wyndmont / DOM / 81.82 | 0 / 39.32 | 0
5.F One USA / Lorenzo De Luca / Poden Farms / ITA / 78.91 | 0 / 39.39 | 0
6. Berlinda / Alessandra Volpi / Alessandra Volpi / USA / 81.6 | 0 / 39.74 | 0
7. Lord Lucio / Rodrigo Pessoa / Artemis Equestrian Farm LLC / BRA / 80.46 | 0 / 39.76 | 0
8. Viva Colombia / Brianne Goutal-Marteau / Brianne Goutal LLC / USA / 79.96 | 0 / 39.83 | 0
9. Arpege Du Ru / Abdel Said / Abdel Said / BEL / 80.04 | 0 / 39.86 | 0
10. Kino / Nina Mallevaey / Rein Family LLC & Torrey Pines / FRA / 80.9 | 0 / 40.97 | 0
11. Igor Van de Wittemoere / Nayel Nassar / Evergate Stables, LLC / EGY / 79.4 | 0 / 39.13 | 4
12. Comic / Luiz Francisco De Azevedo / Santa Cecilia Stables / BRA / 81.21 | 0 / 40.58 | 4


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