Wellington, Fla. — March 1, 2020 — A picturesque Sunday afternoon played host to the $214,000 Premier Equestrian CSIO4* Grand Prix at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The marquee class of the day featured 46-horse and rider combinations, that represented 15 nations and played out over the course of the afternoon. Capping off the Winter Equestrian Festival’s famed Nation’s Cup week, the class proved to be challenging and fair. After proving his skill against an eight-horse jump-off, Brazil’s Rodrigo Lambre and Catover were crowned victorious.
America’s Kenneth Krome designed a course that proved to be challenging yet fair. The 13-obstacle first-round effort was built to a 1.60m specification and included several challenging combinations and bending lines. Although time did not prove to be a concern over keeping the rails in the cups, riders could not waste any time in making their way around the International Ring. Among the first 25 entries, only three were clear. Alexandra Thorton (GRB) was the first athlete to be clear across the track. She was followed by Irish rider, Darragh Kerins, and later Louis Pedro Biraben (ARG). After a quick drag break, five other riders including Erynn Ballard (CAN), Shane Sweetnam (IRL), Sydney Shulam (ISL), Nicholas Pizarro (MEX), and Rodrigo Lambre (BRA) all put in fault-free efforts, bringing the final jump-off total to eight.
Thorton and Charielle, whom she had previously purchased from Lambre, was first to return to the jump-off and put in another clear and fast effort of 39.088 seconds to kick off the short course and set the tone for the following riders. After a fault-free second round from Biraben, Ireland’s Sweetnam entered the ring in the second to last position and he maneuvered the short course with the ease that has been afforded to him through his experience. The veteran professional piloted Chaqui Z to a clear and lightning-fast effort, just beating Thorton in a time of 38.292 seconds. The last to enter the ring, Lambre was not to be outdone. Lambre had had time to watch his competitors’ choices across the course and used that knowledge to his advantage. He made several athletic turns and sped to the final victory on Catover in a time of 37.737 seconds.
Lambre is currently ranked 56th in the FEI rider rankings and splits his time during the winter season between Mexico and Florida. He has been partnered with Catover, an 11-year old Holsteiner stallion for several years and the pair recently made a solid outing as part of Brazil’s Nation’s Cup team that competed at the Palm Beach Masters Series. Earlier in the year, the pair achieved a top 10-finish at the CSI4*-W in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Additional awards were presented to Thorton, who earned the Leading Lady Rider Award, presented by Martha Jolicoeur. Before the kick-off of the class, Kevin Babington was awarded the Kate Nash Boone Style Award by M. Michael Meller that recognized not only his achievements as an athlete but his grace and courage after a catastrophic accident in 2019 that left him paralyzed from the neck down. Babington was cheered on by fellow equestrians and spectators that had gathered to support him in receiving the honor.
FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE
Rodrigo Lambre – $214,000 Premier Equestrian Grand Prix CSIO4* winner
“I have been riding him since he was 8 years old. I have been flatting him since then, but actively riding him since October of last year, with Tokyo in mind. He has a difficult canter and I have had to try a lot of different bits. Today, I switched to the hackamore, which I have won with before, so I am not sure why I changed actually! Today, I came back to it and he was amazing actually, so we are going to stick with it.”
On the jump off:
“He is not a really fast horse but he has a huge stride. I think today was a jump off that I could use that to my advantage. I saw that I was last and I think I won doing the seven to the last jump, which for many horses is too far, but shows what a different stride he has.”
On his plans for the future:
“We all have Tokyo in mind this year and it is a difficult year to qualify for each country. There are only so many shows that you can do, so it is important to have these victories as often as possible.”
Shane Sweetnam- second place:
On Chaqui Z:
“I was delighted with him. He is 14 now, so I am using him lighter. This is the first time he has shown here and only his third big class. He felt great, I think his jump off was excellent. I think from jump two to one, cost me a little bit, but after he responded great. Even though he is 14 he feels like he is 8 and I am really happy with him.”
Alexandra Thorton – third place:
On Returning to WEF after a long absence:
“I have been based in Europe since 2012. The last time I was here was 5 years ago. It is a completely different experience and the footing is amazing. I actually extended my trip because it has been so great.”
On being awarded the Leading Lady Award:
“I think it is really cool that they do that here! Girls often are a minority in these classes, but there were three in our jump off and were all good and fast so I am thrilled to win it.”
$214,000 Premier Equestrian Grand Prix CSIO4*
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / Country / R1 Faults | R1 Time / R2 Faults | R2 Time
1. Catover / Rodrigo Lambre / Mario Onate / BRA / 0 | 76.66 / 0 | 37.73
2. Chaqui Z / Shane Sweetnam / Spy Coast Farm LLC / IRL / 0 | 74.8 / 0 | 38.29
3. Charielle / Alexandra Thornton / Dunwalke LTD / GRB / 0 | 71.48 / 0 | 39.08
4. Colorado 210 / Luis Pedro Biraben / Miguel Madero & Luis Pedro Biraben / ARG / 0 | 74 / 0 | 40.42
5. J-Boston S.E. / Sydney Shulman / Jill Shulman / ISR / 0 | 73.42 / 4 | 37.55
6. Catoki’s Son Z / Erynn Ballard / Ilan Ferder / CAN / 0 | 74.54 / 4 | 38.39
7. Carlos JD Z / Darragh Kerins / NRG Farm LLC / IRL / 0 | 76.99 / 4 | 40.71
8. Fabrice DN / Nicolas Pizarro / Luis Alejandro Plascencia / MEX / 0 | 74.85 / 8 | 38.41
9. Idalville D’Esprit / Eric Lamaze / Chris Stinnett / CAN / 1 | 78.29
10. HH Conrad / Quentin Judge / Double H Farm / USA / 4 | 74.07
11. Garant / Beezie Madden / Abigail Wexner / USA / 4 | 75.25
12. Don Juan Van De Donkhoeve / Jessica Springstein / Stone Hill Farm / USA / 4 | 76.05