Wellington, Fla. – Mar. 29, 2022 – It seems that the season just began but here we are at the end of week 11 and only one more week to go. This week features the CSI 4* $216,000 PB Sports Commission Grand Prix and our course designer has been Olaf Petersen Jr.
Ollie is no stranger to the big stage in Wellington Florida and has always built quality courses. This week has been a serious grind for the course designers and ring crew with the usual long days and multiple 2* and 4* classes. The format has given us the feature class to be held in the international ring on Sunday morning at 10:30am. There was a major class held under the lights Saturday where we were introduced to the new owner of the future Wellington International winter series. There was another sellout crowd and the weather was perfect for the event. I am looking forward to the Wellington International and their proposed improvements in the existing grounds and the new additions to the existing grounds. The down side of a major grand prix on a Sunday morning is that there are no spectators in the stands and very few in the VIP section. The weather however is still perfect.
The CSI 4* $216,000 PB Sports Commission course will feature 14 numbered obstacles and 17 efforts. On the course we will see 1 triple and 1 double combination, 1 plank vertical, 1 triple bar, 1 short pole vertical and 2 liverpools (1 closed vertical and 1 oxer liverpool). There will be no open water and no wall. (feeling sad about no wall). The time allowed was set at 89 seconds and was change up to 91 seconds after the 4 ride. The second entry was a VW so there needed to be 3 rides for a change in the TA. There will be 44 entries and all will compete. It is now time to walk the CSI 4* $216,000 PB Sports Commission Grand Prix.
#1 vertical 1.50m or 5ft comes at the far end of the ring and will start the entries on the left rein. Fence #1 was the only obstacle to remain intact in the first round tonight.
#2 oxer 1.50/1.60m or 5/5.3ft comes from #1 on a long and strong bending left rein and fell from the bright sky 2 times. There was no given distance (too long).
#3 vertical 1.60m or 5.3ft comes from #2 with a distance of 23.90m or 78ft and was only punished 2 times. The distance would say maybe a little forward but rode very well in the 5 strides.
#4 oxer 1.52/1.60m or 5/5.3ft comes from #3 on a strong turn right turn and with no given distance and was tossed to the turf 2 times. This jump brought the horses back to the in-gate and I thought that it would receive more punishment but it did not.
#5a oxer 1.52/1.60m or 5/5.3ft comes from #4 on the right rein away from the in-gate with no given distance and fell from grace 2 times.
#5b vertical 1.58m or 5.3ft comes from #5a with a distance of 11.50m or 37.7ft and the top pole was removed from the yellow cups 4 times.
#6 short Pole vertical 1.58m or 5.3ft comes from #5b in a more or less straight line with a distance of 27.00m or 88.6ft and was dashed to the dirt 2 times. If there was a bend in this line it was slightly left rein.
#7 the triple bar 1.53/2.10m or 5.1/6.9ft comes from #6 on the full turn right and was slapped to the sand 3 times. This was the widest triple bar this season.
#8 oxer Liverpool 1.53/1.70m or 5.1/5.6ft comes from #7 with a given distance of 32.50m or 106ft on the slight right bend and created 1 refusal and 3 splash downs.
#9 closed Liverpool vertical 1.60m or 5.3ft comes from #8 in a straight line with a distance of 22.80m or 74.9ft and these quiet 5 strides caused 10 tidal waves in the pool of water.
#10 Narrow oxer 1.55/1.20m or 5.1/4ft comes from #9 on a roll back right turn at and away from the in-gate and was disturbed only 1 time.
#11a vertical 1.55m or 5.1ft comes from #10 on a long gallop on the left rein and no given distance and gravity took 2 rails to the floor.
#11b oxer 1.53/1.65m or 5.1/5.5ft comes from #11a with a distance of 7.90m or 25.9ft and was mugged 7 times.
#11c vertical 1.55m or 5.1ft comes from #11b with a distance of 8m or 26.3ft and was punished 3 times.
#12 Plank vertical 1.60m or 5.3ft comes from #11c on the strong left bending rein with no given distance and became the bogey fence on the course tonight. The plank kissed mother earth 11 times. The ride to the plank was always on the left rein. It was hard to get straight and the plank was also on the very ridge in the middle of the ring. The approach was uphill and the landing was on the down slope. If any of these factors were what made this jump hard to jump clean you can decide.
#13 oxer 1.53/1.70m or 5.1/5.6ft comes on the full turn right at the far end of the ring 2 riders failed to execute this test. #14 vertical 1.60m or 5.3ft comes from #13 in a straight line with a distance of 18.80 or 61.6ft and as the last fence in the first round it ended the evening for 6 competitors. We will now give you the results of the first round of the CSI 4* $216,000 PB Sports Commission Grand Prix.
There will be 9 riders advancing to the jump off. The time allowed did not create any clear rounds with time faults being a factor. There were 14 rounds that resulted in 4 faults and would give any course designer ulcers until the first round was over and then a sense of pride that his course resulted in a really good and entertaining first round. There were 2 rounds of 5 faults and 7 rounds of 8 faults. The rest will jump another day. There were no falls and no eliminations. We had 2 VW’s and 1 refusal.
I think that this grand prix was one of the best this season because the course was not what we have seen this season. We have had big and wide with aggressive time allowed for most of the season with a couple of exceptions. This course used 2 liverpools in a row that caused enough problems but the distance between the 2 jumps was not aggressive and the plank was on its own. The double combination the last couple of weeks has been very difficult and yet tonight was not a major factor and the triple combination was not a major factor either. I think that changing the time allowed was not going to change the final results. As I said earlier every fence was called into play except #1 and I use that as a marker for a great class. This course was the proper height and width and well in line with the reported previous 4* grand prix this season but did not use a lot of the technical issues that we have seen and yet had such good results. You must not look at the clear rounds but at the number of 4 fault rounds and the fact that the TA did not in any way play a part in the results. This is the end of a long season for the 4* horses and my question is do you think that fatigue from a long season and the stress that comes from jumping major courses had a hand in the results today? We have fabulous footing but constant jumping on any footing can take its toll weather on grass or great artificial footing. I think that Olaf Petersen Jr. took these factors into consideration and built a course that made great jumping a reality today. Great job and congratulations my friend and I look forward to your work next season. Next week is week 12 and the final for the 2022 season of WEF and we are out on the grass for the final walk of course discourse. Until next week I am Dave Ballard.