Wellington, Fla. – March 27, 2021 – The most prestigious grand prix of the 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) brought the best of the best to the Stadium Derby Field Saturday afternoon during WEF 11, with 40 of the circuit’s premiere partnerships vying for the top spot and the lion’s share of the prize money in the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI5*. Three athletes produced double clear efforts, but in the end it was Germany’s Daniel Deusser who continued his domination of the 2021 WEF aboard Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z. Deusser flew through the timers just 1/10th of a second ahead of Daniel Bluman (ISR) and Gemma W with all the rails intact to claim the winning title.
For the grand prix test, veteran course designer Guilherme Jorge (BRA) presented exhibitors with a long 14-fence track that included an open water and a number of technical lines that traversed the expanse of the Stadium Derby Field. It yielded only eight clear rides from pairs that were able to master the pattern to qualify for the jump-off including Santiago Lambre (MEX), Yuri Mansur (BRA), Beat Mandli (SUI), Jessica Springsteen (USA), Daniel Bluman (ISR), McLain Ward (USA) and Daniel Deusser (GER). The short course offered multiple opportunities for a long gallop as well as quick turn back to the final line.
The technical jump-off proved challenging for the returning competitors, with the fifth athlete to return producing the first faul-free effort. Smolders cleared the track in 36.74 seconds with Copernicus Stables’ Bingo Du Parc, setting the time to beat at 36.74 seconds. Bluman was quick to overtake the top spot with Blue Star Investments and Over the Top Stables’ Gemma W, breaking the beam in 36.54 seconds to nudge Smolders into the eventual third place position.
Ward was next in the ring aboard Beechwood Stables’ Contagious, and while they had the fastest round by almost two seconds, a rail in the double combination would mean a 4-fault effort in 34.94 seconds for fourth place.
The final athlete on course was Deusser, who is no stranger to winning this season, with several victories to his name. He and Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z, a 13-year-old Zangersheide owned by Stephex Stables and Scuderia 1918, sliced the first fence and never took their foot off the gas as they quickly navigated their way through the inside turn to trip the timers in 36.40 seconds and lead the victory gallop.
Deusser and Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z’s season included wins in the $214,000 Grand Prix CSIO4* during WEF 8 and in the $73,000 Adequan WEF Challenge Cup during WEF 7, showcasing their strong and consistent partnership. As the last to go in the jump-off he had the opportunity to see the other riders and plan a track to win. On Sunday, Deusser will head to HITS Ocala for the Great American $1 Million Dollar Grand Prix with Killer Queen VDM, Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z will return to Europe now and Deusser plans to show him during the Dutch Masters in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands. He was thrilled to have the opportunity to compete in Wellington with much of Europe still shut down due to COVID-19 and EHV-1.
The 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival will officially conclude next week, as jumper competition wraps up with Saturday night’s $214,000 FEI CSI4* Wellington Ag Services Grand Prix and Sunday’s $50,000 FEI CSI2* 1.45m Grand Prix during WEF 12.
FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE
Daniel Deusser – Winner of the $500,000 Rolex CSI5* Grand Prix
“I have to say Tobago is my best horse for many years. He has won many grand prix classes and he really likes big grass arenas. He was in very good shape the last couple of weeks, which doesn’t necessarily mean that he was going to win today, but he kept his form and he performed great. It was a little bit in my favor today that I had to start second-to-last in the first round and last in the jump-off. I knew exactly what I had to do. Once it works out and the horse jumps the way that he does, it was not too difficult.”
On how he feels coming up on the end of season with such great success:
“I am in a lucky situation to have a lot of very good horses at the moment. That gives me as a rider a lot of confidence, of course. It makes my life a lot easier! I have to say, Tobago was injured last year and came back only at the end of the year. He actually came back better than before. These couple of weeks here at WEF gave him a lot of strength again. Hopefully he stays exactly in that form and I am really looking forward to a good outdoor season.”
On having today’s class on the grass:
“I have to say we, and I mean all of the riders here, are in a very lucky position to be able to ride here. Maybe for me and also for Harrie we are a little bit more lucky coming from Europe. We know in the current moment with the situation with COVID how difficult it is to organize events, how difficult it is for the sport and how difficult life is in Europe at the moment. A big congratulations and a big thank you to the organizers and the sponsors here so that we are allowed to ride here.”
Daniel Bluman – Second Place
On Gemma W’s performance today:
“We’ve been working with Gemma for the last five years. This is the first year for her jumping the 5* level. I’ve always believed in her from the beginning to be a very, very special horse. I honestly wasn’t surprised to see her perform the way that she did. She has performed like this all season and every step she’s done since a young horse has been like this. We have been patient, but it has paid off.”
On his jump-off round:
“There were definitely a couple places I could have been a little faster. Realistically I knew that whatever I did, McLain and Daniel would follow just as fast or faster. So my strategy was to have a good time, to be smooth and to put enough pressure on that they would have to take a risk. I am not going to say that I am surprised that Daniel beat me. It’s a little bit of a pain for us when he showed up because he’s just on a different level. You need to keep working to be able to ride the way that he rides. I am extremely happy with the results. It was amazing, Gemma was amazing. I think the field was great and to have the Rolex Grand Prix here was a great decision. I am looking forward to being able to win this class in the next ten years at least one time.”
Harrie Smolders – Third Place
On Bingo Du Parc’s preparation for today’s class:
“Bingo Du Parc, I brought him here to Wellington for his experience. It paid off today I think, he did a fantastic job. It was a serious test for him. We saw several horse/rider combinations we will see in the Olympics. It was great sport, I still feel there were some places where I could improve. Hopefully in the future I can come closer or beat the gentlemen in front of me. I am very pleased with the performance of my horse and I’m looking forward to the future.”
$500,000 Rolex CSI5* Grand Prix
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 / 84.37 | 0 / 36.40 | 0
2. Gemma W / Daniel Bluman / Blue Star Investments and Over the Top Stables / ISR / 85.23 | 0 / 36.54 | 0
3. Bingo Du Parc / Harrie Smolders / Copernicus Stables / NED / 86.58 | 0 / 36.74 | 0
4. Contagious / McLain Ward / Beechwood Stables / USA / 86.21 | 0 / 34.94 | 4
5. Don Juan Van De Donkhoeve / Jessica Springsteen / Stone Hill Farm / USA / 86.48 | 0 / 37.21 | 4
6. Chacco Blue II / Santiago Lambre / Attila Korusz / MEX / 87.74 | 0 / 43.14 | 4
7. Dsarie / Beat Mandli / Grant Road Partners / SUI / 86.52 | 0 / 37.42 | 8
8. Vitiki / Yuri Mansur / Yuri Mansur / BRA / 87.83| 0 / 38.35 | 8
9. Balou Du Reventon / Brian Moggre / Ann Thompson / USA / 88.62 | 1
10. Amsterdam 27 / Teddy Vlock / Vlock Show Stables / ISR / 88.66 | 1
11. Carlchen W /Alex Granato / Page Tredennick / USA / 84.44 | 4
12. Pacino Amiro / Bertram Allen / Aiden McGrory / IRL / 84.71 | 4