Wellington, Fla. – March 25, 2021 – Top athletes gathered from around the world for the penultimate $137,000 Adequan WEF Challenge Cup during WEF 11, as the 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival begins to wind to a close with the final FEI CSI5* week of the year. With 13 of 22 qualified combinations returning for the jump-off during the day’s highlight event, it was the speed and accuracy of Israel’s Ashlee Bond and Donatello 141 that topped the leaderboard, besting five other double clear efforts.
Fifty-seven combinations came together at the Stadium Derby Field to try their hand over Guilherme Jorge’s (BRA) course, which eventually yielded 22 clear efforts as the top combinations appreciated the world-class footing and inviting fences. The track featured a triple combination as the fourth obstacle on the track and finished with a double combination and a triple bar. While the course proved technical, the time allowed left the door open for several clear rounds. Only 13 duos opted to return for the tiebreaker, which proved to be more challenging with two new fences and just the first part of the triple combination included, as athletes galloped around the expansive field to try and break the beams in the fastest time. Only six combinations crossed the finish line with all the rails intact.
Chloe Reid was the pathfinder with Souper Shuttle, choosing to be more conservative to ensure a clear round in 41.66 seconds. Two rounds later, Ireland’s Cian O’Connor and Kilkenny set the time to beat as they sped through the timers in a clear 41.12 seconds to go to the top of the leaderboard. Laura Kraut opted not to catch O’Connor with Goldwin, finishing the track in 48.76 seconds for sixth place.
Fellow Irishman Darragh Kenny attempted to catch O’Connor with Vinci De Beaufour, but their clear time of 41.40 seconds was only good enough for a third place finish. Sliding in right behind him was Harrie Smolders (NED), who left all the rails intact aboard Bingo Du Parc, but was just 1/100th of a second slower with a time of 41.41 seconds.
The fastest of the day proved to be Bond with her top mount Donatello 141, who showcased his world-class ability on the grass field by tripping the timers in a clear 40.29 seconds, a full second faster than O’Connor, to lead the lap of honor. During WEF 4, Bond placed second during the CSI4* Grand Prix on the Stadium Derby Field with the 10-year-old Westphalian gelding, who has been competing on the grass fields at Spruce Meadows since he was just 6 years old. She was thrilled about the change of venue for the finale events of the Winter Equestrian Festival, saving her horses talents for this event after producing a double clear effort for the Isreali Team during the Nations Cup.
Now athletes are looking ahead to Saturday’s $500,000 FEI CSI5* Rolex Grand Prix, featuring the biggest purse of the year at the Winter Equestrian Festival. The competition will once again be held on the picturesque Stadium Derby Field, kicking off at 1pm.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Ashlee Bond – Winner of the $137,000 Adequan WEF Challenge Cup CSI5*
On her jump-off:
“I felt like Donnie was jumping a little too high in the first round, which is a good feeling, but I also wanted him to level down a little bit, so that’s why I chose to do the jump-off. My plan was to gallop and take as many risks as I wanted, but I didn’t want to put everything out there. I felt like I rode my own track. I didn’t think about who was leading or any of that. It was the best preparation for him for Saturday’s class. I felt like the round that we had got him in the right space of how high he was jumping over the fence, how well he was getting across the jumps and being careful of the front rail. It felt really good.”
On the first round:
“I actually thought height-wise it wasn’t [soft], but the time allowed was soft. I thought [Guilherme] would change the time after the first three, but he left it, and I think that changed everything. When people have so much time to take across the first round you get so many clear, especially with the quality and caliber of riders you have here – especially 5* week. I think if he had tightened it up he would have had 10 clears, because the course was good. It wasn’t trappy, but it was a really good course. Big enough, scopey enough, I just think the time was the reason so many were clear.”
On the change of venue for the final classes:
“I love it! I love the field. He has jumped at Spruce Meadows since he was 6 and always did really well on a big field. He did his first 1.45m in the International Ring and was clear at Spruce as a 7-year-old. He’s really good in big open fields. I was thrilled because he jumped so well here.”
On preparing for the $500,000 FEI CSI5* Rolex Grand Prix:
“That would be my Dad. He is the only one that sits on him the day before a class. The formula for Donnie is that Willow helps ride him on flat days, I school him once a week, but during show weeks Dad flats him the day before a big class. The day of the show he gets a 15-20 minute trot lunge and then we go in and win the class – try not to mess it up because your horse will be fine!”
$137,000 Adequan WEF Challenge Cup:
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / Country / R1 Time | R1 Faults / R2 Time | R2 Faults
1. Donatello 141 / Ashlee Bond / Little Valley Farms / ISR / 71.29 | 0 / 40.29 | 0
2. Kilkenny / Cian O’Connor / Ronnoco Jump LTD / IRL / 75.84 | 0 / 41.12 | 0
3. Vinci De Beaufour / Darragh Kenny / Devon MacNeil / IRL / 74.44 | 0 / 41.40 | 0
4. Bingo Du Parc / Harrie Smolders / Copernicus Stables LLC / NED / 76.26 | 0 / 41.41 | 0
5. Souper Shuttle / Chloe Reid / Live Oak Plantation / USA / 73.73 | 0 / 41.66 | 0
6. Goldwin / Laura Kraut / Stars and Stripes / USA / 76.91 | 0 / 48.76 | 0
7. Kasper Van Het Hellehof / McLain Ward / Poden Farms / USA / 74.69 | 0 / 40.02 | 4
8. Carlchen W / Alex Granato / Page Tredennick / USA / 73.54 | 0 / 40.30 | 4
9. Glamour Girl / Henrik Von Eckermann / Portfolio Horses LLC / SWE / 73.58 | 0 / 41.66 | 4
10. Ibelle Ask / Yuri Mansur / Stutteri Ask A/S / BRA / 77.31 | 0 / 41.91 | 4
11. Kamilla D / Erynn Ballard / Ilan Ferder / CAN / 76.70 | 0 / 45.68 | 4
12. Cocolina / Natalie Dean / Marigold Sporthorses LLC / USA / 76.19 | 0 / 46.74 | 4