Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 25, 2020 – Week Seven of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) once again welcomed some of the world’s top horses and athletes for the second CSI5* week of the 2021 season. A field of 54 entries contested the joint efforts of Course Designers Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) and Andy Christiansen (ECU) in the $73,000 Adequan WEF Challenge Cup Round VII CSI5* on Thursday morning, but it would be world number three Daniel Deusser (GER) and Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z who would nab the win at the last second.
With 13 numbered obstacles, 16 jumping efforts and a time allowed of 71 seconds, many of the contestants closed out their initial round with rails down in the last line of the course. The early pathfinder of the morning was Eduardo Menezes (BRA) riding the H5 Stables owned entry H5 Elvaro who nimbly navigated the track to secure his position in the jump-off. With a large field hoping to follow his lead, only five riders would add their names to the roster for the second round prior to the drag break: Kristen Vanderveen (USA), Harrie Smolders (NED), Lauren Hough (USA), Schuyler Riley (USA), and the winner of the last CSI5* WEF Challenge Cup, Lucy Deslauriers (USA). The initial field of qualifiers would be joined by six more riders making a field of 12 qualified for the final round. Those six riders were McLain Ward (USA), Lorcan Gallagher (IRL), Alexandra Thornton (GBR), Beezie Madden (USA), Mario Deslauriers (CAN) and last, but not least, Deusser.
With both Lucy and Mario Deslauriers electing to not return for the final showdown, ten of the world’s top show jumpers lined up at the in-gate for their chance at securing the victory. The shortened eight-effort track featured rollbacks and long galloping tracks across the arena over a total 320m with a time allowed of 52 seconds. Menezes was the first to return and the first to set the standard over the jump-off course, piloting H5 Elvaro to a clean and tidy round with a time of 40.12 seconds. Following immediately behind, Vanderveen and Smolders gave Menezes’ time a run for the money, but rails in the Lugano Diamonds double combination would push them out of the lead.
The remaining competitors tried to put their best foot forward, but struggled to deliver a clean round faster than Menezes’. Hough and Riley also fell victim to rails at the double combination, and while Ward got creative and crept between fence 16 and the gazebo in an attempt to shave time, he and longtime mount HH Azur, owned by Double H Farms, stopped the timers just a hair too slow at 40.80 seconds. Partnered with Dunwalke LLC’s Cornetto K, Thornton also issued a clear jump-off round, but her wide turns added extra time leaving them out of the running for the lead position.
As the last horse and rider duo to enter the ring, Deusser and Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z, owned by Stephex and Scuderia 1918, had one goal in mind: to snag the win. Deusser expertly navigated Ward’s tight turn to the third jump on course and wasted no time throughout the track. After clearing the troublesome double combination, Deusser put the pedal to the metal and added another win to his 2021 WEF season resume by tipping the timers at 39.15 seconds. Menezes and H5 Alvaro were awarded second for their previous leading time with Ward and HH Azur wrapping up the podium in third.
Show jumping competition will return to the International Ring on Friday at 8am with the Lugano diamonds $2,500 High Amatuer Owner Jumper 1.40m, followed by the $37,000 FEI CSI 5* Bainbridge 1.45m and the $37,000 FEI CSI 2* Griffis Residential Qualifier.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Daniel Deusser- winner of the $73,000 Adequan WEF Challenge Cup Round VII CSI5*
On Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z :
“Tobago and me, we have been a team now for many, many years. There is a reason why he has been my number one horse the last couple of years. I know him and he knows exactly what to do in the ring. Even though he just arrived here [over the weekend], I did a couple of small jumps on Sunday. I thought he might be a bit rusty or a bit stiff, he didn’t jump for a long time actually. His last show was two months ago. I started him yesterday in the 1.40m competition just to see how he was in the ring, but even yesterday it was straight away a different feeling.He knows that it counts in the ring. That is why I entered him today and today you couldn’t really see that he had a two month break.”
On Tobago’s workmanlike personality:
“If you follow me a little bit in the warmup, [Tobago] looks like he is really quiet and like he doesn’t have too much blood or doesn’t want to run that much in the ring. But I think that is just one of his strengths, he saves his energy for exactly the moment he needs it. I think he figured that out over the last couple of years and that it counts for 60 seconds in the ring and not the ten minutes in the warmup.”
On his plans for the courses today:
“When I walked the course, I was very happy with the course designer. It was a course that asked a lot of questions and distances. You had to go forward, backwards, into the combinations two times and the fences were not ridiculously high or wide. It was just a technical course at the end. The time allowed was alright, it was not super short and I thought in the end, it was a very good result with twelve clear. Ten jumped off, it could not have gone better for a Thursday.”
On his plans for the week:
“It is difficult because we always want to win. We go in the ring to jump clear rounds and to win in the end, but sometimes you have to prepare the horses a little bit. So that means you have to pick your classes. To go fast every time is almost impossible with the horses. So actually, my plan this week was for Tobago to jump yesterday and today and then I would try Killer Queen in the grand prix. She was a little bit nervous here under the lights two weeks ago. That is why this week I’m going to jump her in two small classes just to relax and try her on Saturday night.”
$401,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate Grand Prix CSI5*
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / Country / R1 Time | R1 Faults / R2 Time | R2 Faults
1. Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z / Daniel Deusser / Stephex and Scuderia 1918 / GER / 0 | 66.87 / 0 | 39.15
2. H5 Elvaro / Eduardo Menezes / H5 Stables / BRA / 0 | 67.09 / 0 | 40.13
3. HH Azur / McLain Ward / Double H Farm / USA / 0 | 68.28 / 0 | 40.58
4. Cornetto K / Alexandra Thornton / Dunwalke LLC / GBR / 0 | 70.48 / 0 | 45.88
5. Monaco / Harrie Smolders / Evergate Stables, LLC / NED / 0 | 70.26 / 4 | 39.82
6. Bull Run’s Prince of Peace / Kristen Vanderveen / Bull run Jumpers Six LLC / USA / 0 | 70.71 / 4 | 40.05
7. VDL Cartello / Lorcan Gallagher / Heathman Farm LLC / IRL / 0 | 67.92 / 4 | 40.81
8. Giardo / Lauren Hough / Harris Equestrian LLC / USA / 0 | 77.22 / 4 | 37.655
9. Robin de Ponthual / Schuyler Riley / Katherine Gallagher / USA / 0 | 69.02 / 4 | 43.10
10. Garant / Beezie Madden / Abigail Wexner / USA / 0 | 69.12 / 4 | 49.63
11. Hester / Lucy Deslauriers / Lucy Deslauriers / USA / 0 | 67.85 / WD
12. Bardolina 2 / Mario Deslauriers / Wishing Well Farm LLC / CAN / 0 | 68.69 / WD