Wellington, FL – January 1, 2023 – It was a celebratory weekend for Jad Dana (LBN) during the ESP Holiday Finale at Wellington International thanks to a victory in the $50,000 Wellington National Golf Club National Grand Prix on New Year’s Eve, which closed his year on a high note. In the final Grand Prix of the 2022 ESP Holiday Series presented by Arthramid®Vet, Dana and Fleur-De-Lis’ Cherie, owned by The Cherie Group, galloped to the top of the leaderboard in as the fastest over designer Anthony D’Ambrosio’s (USA) courses.
“I am feeling really good,” Dana commented after his win. “I’m very lucky to get to ride these two mares, Fleur-De-Lis’ Cherie and After Eight with the support of my trainer, Leslie Howard, and her husband, the horses’ owners, and my parents. I feel like I have a lot of support! Leslie and Peter are giving me so many opportunities to succeed and I can’t say how grateful I am for them.”
He continued, explaining his connection with his winning mount, Fleur-De-Lis’ Cherie. “She’s absolutely amazing. I really have a very special connection with her. When I first started riding her, I was only jumping 1.20. and 1.25m. She is such a fighter and really wants to win, so she gives everything she can, and I know her so well now that I know what classes are for her and what to aim for.”
During the first round of riding, sixteen horse-and-rider combinations made it around D’Ambrosio’s pattern without lowering any fences or accruing time faults to qualify for the jump-off. The group represented an international field, with seven countries represented, Brazil, Ireland, Spain, Israel, the United States, France, and Labanon. After watching 14 riders test the short track, Dana and Fleur-De-Lis’ Cherie sped their way through the course, breaking the beam in 43.213 seconds without any faults to take the lead with just one pair left to challenge. The final rider to test the track, Luiz Francisco De Azevedo, put forth a valiant effort but knocked two rails down to incur eight faults against him, cementing Dana as the winner.
Just off the pace, Sarah Hubbard (USA) piloted Latino Van De Looise Heide, owned by Hubbard Horses, LLC, to second place with a time of 43.876 seconds. Francis Derwin Jr. (IRL) and Eve Jobs’ Intuitive rounded out the podium with a double-clear time of 44.891 seconds.
With 2022 ending, Dana now has his eyes fully set on the 2023 Winter Equestrian Festival and shared some of his goals for the winter season with us. “We have many young sales horses, so I really want to work on them. Besides me trying to jump bigger FEI classes, getting more ranking points, and getting my name out there, I really want to continue working with the younger horses and try to develop them to their best abilities. I also give a lot of my time to our students. Their results are as important to me as my results, if not more. The people that ride with us are extremely important and they make it happen for us, really,” he concluded.
As the groom of the winning horse, Geovanni Velasquez was the recipient of the Schneiders Groom Award for the $50,000 Wellington National Golf Club National Grand Prix. As part of the recognition, Peralta was presented with a bag of high-quality grooming supplies courtesy of Schneiders Tack.
For the full results of the $50,000 Wellington National Golf Club National Grand Prix, please click HERE.
Thursday featured the $10,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.40m Open Stake in the International Arena. The course, designed by D’Ambrosio, consisted of a thirteen-obstacle first round, followed by a six-obstacle jump-off. Twenty-four competitors entered the class with only six clearing the first round. Topping off the clears was Daniel Bluman (ISR) and Corbie V.V.Z ET, owned by Over the Top Stables, LLC, with a double-clear performance and jump-off time of 30.540 seconds. Following Bluman was Tomas Yofre (ARG) and Cardora, owned by Stellium Sport Horses, LLC, with a fault-free jump-off time of 31.428 seconds. Completing the top three was Nikko Ritter (USA) and his own Aquiles Del Caribe Z, performing double-clear with a jump-off time of 32.102 seconds.
Competition continued on Friday with the $5,000 Pilates Rocks 1.35m Open Jumper Stake. Designed by D’Ambrosio, the class consisted of a twelve-obstacle first round, followed by a seven-obstacle jump-off. Out of twenty-four competitors, the top spot was claimed by Andres Torres (COL) and Picara Polka Amouretta, owned by Santa Catalina Farm, with a double-clear performance and jump-off time of 38.71 seconds. Following close behind was Francisco Goyoaga (ESP) and Jakima-VL, owned by Ashland Farms, in a clear 38.83 seconds. Taking third was Elli Yeager (USA) and her own Iceman De Muze with a double-clear performance and jump-off time of 39.199 seconds.
Saturday morning began with the $2,500 NAL Medium Junior/Amateur Jumper Stake presented by Palm Beach Equine Clinic. Sixteen horse and rider combinations competed in the first-round while only six combinations qualified for the jump-off. Anthony D’Ambrosio designed the courses, which included twelve efforts in the first round and six efforts in the short course. Taking top honors was Tony Stormannis (GER) and HS Sportpferde GMBH’s Servus Z. The winning combination stopped the clock at 38.515 seconds. Natalie Thornell (USA) and Joberlina VG, owned by Loveland Equine Investments, finished in second place with a time of 39.516 seconds. Rounding out the top three was Donovan Ross (USA) and Halo Capital’s Durango VDL with a time of 42.178 seconds.
Immediately following was the $2,500 NAL High Junior/Amateur Jumper Stake presented by Arthramid®Vet. Thirteen pairs tested the opening round, while seven of those combinations qualified for the jump-off. At the end of the class, five pairs had managed to finish double clear. Layla Kurbanov (USA) piloted her own Ronja to a first-place finish, stopping the clock at an unbeatable time of 34.865 seconds. Finishing with a competitive time of 37.096 seconds, Richard Neal (USA) piloted his own Camila 11 to second place. Racing to close out the top three was John Angus (USA) and Camino Imperio Egipcio, owned by Sigma Stables LLC, who crossed the timers in 37.660 seconds.
The ESP Holiday Finale concluded the ESP Holiday Series presented by Arthramid®Vet, but in a few short days the equestrian action will resume with Wellington International’s flagship event, the Winter Equestrian Festival. This year, the circuit will begin on January 4, 2023, and conclude after 13 weeks of competition on April 2, 2023.
To view the 2023 Winter Equestrian Festival Prize List and Souvenir Program, please click HERE.
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