Ocala, FL- Show jumping athletes returned to the WEC Grand Arena bright and early Friday morning to resume international competition with the $40,000 1.45m Two Phase Special CSI3*. An established field of 23 horse-and-athlete combinations navigated Guilherme Jorge’s (BRA) two phase track, though none could best veteran partners, Aaron Vale (USA) and Cristo Beech (It’s The Business x Cantero).
Vale, last week’s winner of the class and the leader of last night’s $50,000 UF Health Grand Prix Qualifer CSI3*, entered as the first to go with the Thinkslikeahorse’s entry, Cristo Beech.
“Cristo was entered to try and come out with a win, and the plan worked,” laughed Vale.
Landing off the Golden Ocala oxer and making a swift rollback turn back to jump eight, the duo instantly set an uncatchable pace.
“The course rode how it walked, and it felt like a suitable track for Cristo! The rollback to start the speed phase and the turn back to the combination are not necessarily his strength, but they are certainly getting better. He made really great turns in both of those places. The Liverpool to the oxer walked nine but you could do eight, so that was really the only place that you could take out some strides other than in the turns,” Vale commented on the track.
The 12-year-old Warmblood gelding perfected the track, and galloped away from the final fence in 29.34 seconds, earning Vale his second FEI victory of the week.
Vale spoke on this strategy in the Grand Arena, “He turned so nicely back to the combination that I almost thought there was one less there, but I thought it may be a little risky. I was able to just hesitate for a second and it was still fast, even with the breath I took there.”
Tom Foley (IRL) rode Sher Al Farm’s Ibalius SMH to an incredibly close second place. The scopey ten-year-old KWPN gelding jumped in careful form and was quick across the ground for a time of 29.66 seconds, just shy of the leading time.
Winners of Wednesday’s $6,000 1.45m Speed CSI3*, Ashlee Bond (ISR) and Elka De La Pomme (Cartoon Z x Kannan) earned another podium finish. The nine-year-old Selle Francias mare was blazing fast through the turns, with a bit more airtime ultimately securing third place in 30.47 seconds.
Final Results: $40,000 1.45m Two Phase Special:
1 CRISTO BEECH: 2011 AES gelding by It’s the Business x Cantero
Aaron Vale (USA), Thinkslikeahorse 0/29.34
2 IBALIUS SMH: 2013 KWPN gelding by Everglade VDL x Burggraaf NV
Tom Foley (IRL), Sher Al Farm 0/29.66
3 ELKA DE LA POMME: 2014 Selle Francais mare by Cartoon Z x Kannan
Ashlee Bond (ISR), Aurora Farms LLC 0/30.47
4 TIFFANY DE OLID: 2012 Selle Francais mare by Huppydam Des Horts x Coco De Mies
Samuel Parot (CHI), Samuel Parot 0/30.53
5 CHAPEAU PS Z: 2014 Zangersheide gelding by Comilfo Plus Z x Calato
Luis Pedro Biraben (ARG), Miguel Madero 0/30.56
6 COOL GIRL PS: 2015 Oldenburg mare by Casallco x Chacco-Blue
Tracy Fenney (USA), MTM Farm 0/32.83
7 JERSEY: 2014 KWPN mare by Brainpower x Ramira
Stephanie Gallucci (CAN), Equine Partners International LLC 0/33.50
8 VITTORIO 12: 2011 Hanoverian gelding by Van Helsing x Carismo
Captain Brian Cournane (USA), Captain Brian Cournane 0/34.25
9 CHARLOTTA II: 2014 Hanoverian mare by Cascadello x Fighting Alpha 3
Chloe Reid (USA), Live Oak Plantation 0/35.37
10 PREMIER 2S: 2011 Warmblood by Gelha’s VDL Emilion x Ramirha
Marcello Ciavaglia (BRA), Marcello Ciavaglia 0/36.27
11 SUN WARRIOR: 2014 Holsteiner gelding by Flexible x Fasolt
Kaitlin Campbell (USA), Linda Starkman 4/31.23
12 LIEMBA: 2014 Hanoverian mare by Gem of India x Valentino
Hunter Holloway (USA), Hays Investment Corp. 4/34.25