Wellington, FL. – February 2, 2023 – The Wellington Equestrian Festival (WEF) kicked off another Derby Week with the CSI4* $50,000 (CHF) Adequan WEF Challenge Round 4 Thursday morning. A talented line-up of 51 horse and rider combinations competed on the grass in pursuit of the champion honors. Ultimately it was Santiago Lambre and Casey who finished at the top of the leaderboard after an expertly ridden double clear and a lightning-fast jump off round.
In the first phase, competitors faced a daunting 13 obstacle track built by course designer Anderson Lima (BRA). The large grass derby field meant that the time allowed of 78 seconds was an influential variable, requiring athletes to ride efficiently around the course while still keeping all of the delicate 1.55m jumps intact. The second rider to come forward, USA’s Lillie Keenan was the first to post a clear round within the time allowed, setting the standard for the rest of the athletes to follow. It was Belgium rider Jos Verlooy who secured a jump-off with another faultless first round, with just 13 riders qualifying for the second phase of the competition.
Twelve riders decided to come forward for the jump-off phase of the 4* competition, with Keenan the first to return to the grass to put down a clear round with 40.85 seconds on the clock, setting the pace for the athletes who followed. Verlooy was next in and took over the early lead, finishing less than a second faster than Keenan. However it was Britain’s Amanda Derbyshire with her ride on Cornwall BH who broke the 40 second barrier, besting the previous time-to-beat with an impressive 36.91 seconds, shaving nearly four seconds off of Verlooy’s time. Derbyshire piloted the 15 year-old Holsteiner gelding around the shorter track with expertise, taking over the lead in the early stages of the jump-off. American riders Adrienne Sternlight and Laura Kraut followed suit but neither could beat Derbyshire’s quick time. Israel’s Ashlee Bond and Aurora Farm, LLC and Stal Horn’s 12 year-old gelding Garfield came the closest, just a fraction of a second behind the pace on a time of 37.17 seconds.
In a thrilling finish, it was Santiago Lambre and Casey who secured the win, the second to last combination to come forward in the competitive jump-off. Galloping to the finish on a time of 36.60 seconds, Lambre and his own 13 year-old Hanoverian mare shaved a half of a second off of Derbyshire’s time, incorporating sharp turns and an efficient track to place themselves at the top of the leaderboard. After her early lead, Derbyshire maintained a good position to secure a second place finish, with Bond and Garfield finishing in third.
Show jumping competition during WEF Week 4 will continue on the Stadium Derby Field Friday, February 3rd at 9:00 AM with the CSI4* (CHF) $37,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty 1.45m.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Santiago Lambre- $50,000 (CHF) Adequan WEF Challenge Round 4 Winner
“I felt that she was ready to do this week, she’s a fast horse and she’s ready for the next week at 5*. I was lucky that I was at the end so I could watch the riders go fast and I tried to do less strides everywhere, and at the combination I took a lot of risk but she’s careful and has a big stride so it worked.”
On competing at the Stadium Derby Field:
“I love the grass here, it’s the best ring in the US I think and I try to come every time each year, so I think I’m going to be ready for next week.”
$50,000 (CHF) Adequan WEF Challenge Round 4 Winner
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Owner / R1 Time | R1 Faults / R2 Time | R2 Faults
1. Casey / Santiago Lambre / BRA / Santiago Lambre / 73.76 | 0 / 36.6
2. Cornwall BH / Amanda Derbyshire / GBR / Gochman Sport Horses LLC / 77.62 | 0 / 36.91 | 0
3. Garfield / Ashlee Bond / ISR / Aurora Farms, LLS & Stal Horn / 77.98 | 0 / 37.17
4. Truman / Amy Millar / CAN / Millar Brooke Farm & Overlund / 74.36 | 0 / 37.83 | 0
5. Ilex / Fabio Leivas De Costa / BRA / Bonne Chance Farm LLC / 77.29 | 0 / 39.68 | 0
6. Bisquetta / Laura Kraut / USA / Cherry Knoll Farm, Inc. / 74.1 | 0 / 40.24 | 0
7. Nixon Van’t Meulenhof / Jos Verlooy / BEL / Eurohorse BVBA / 75.85 | 0 / 40.33 | 0
8. Queensland E / Lillie Keenan / USA / Chansonette Farm LLC / 73.61 | 0 / 40.85 | 0
9. Faquitol-S / Adrienne Sternlicht / USA / Starlight Farms / 77.75 | 0 / 42.05 | 0
10. Squirt Gun / Paul O’Shea / IRE / Eye Candy Jumpers / 74.71 | 0 / 38.68 | 4
11. Highway FBH / Jacob Pope / USA / The Highway Group / 75.74 | 0 / 40.36 | 4
12. Fantasy BB / Jonathan McCrea / USA / Windsor Show Stables LLC / 77.5 | 0 / 43.26 | 4