Laura Kraut & Baloutinue. Photo © Sportfot.
Wellington International was brimming with horse sport fans on the edge of their seats Saturday night as top show jumping talent from across the globe jumped for the $425,000 Lugano Diamonds CSI5* Grand Prix title. The Winter Equestrian Festival’s (WEF) Week 7, sponsored by Lugano Diamonds, saw U.S. Olympic team silver medalist Laura Kraut and her Tokyo Games partner Baloutinue take the top spot.
From a seven-horse jump-off, the stage was set for a U.S. battle as Kraut, Brian Moggre, and McLain Ward were the final three to jump off. Course designer Steve Stephens (USA) tested them in true five-star fashion, which got the best of Moggre and longtime partner MTM Vivre le Reve as the pulled a brick from the wall to eventually finish fifth. Kraut’s winning time of 40.26 seconds stood after Ward gave his best aboard Contagious, but finished just three-tenths shy of the winner’s mark.
Kraut beamed as she clinched a five-star victory in Wellington after knocking on the door several times recently. “I’ve not had many successful jump-offs and I’ve not jumped very many with him,” said Kraut of Baloutinue, a 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Balou du Rouet x Landor S) owned by St. Bride’s Farm. “I always try to go faster than I probably should, but he’s fast enough on his own, and tonight I just let him go his speed and that seemed to work better.
“He’s a trier, he’s elastic, and he’s very careful,” she continued. “It was a fantastic crowd; the atmosphere here at night is as good as it gets. We feel like the crowd is really behind us; when I was clear it was an explosion.”
Laura Chapot Captures Ethel M. Chocolates CSI2* 1.45m Qualifier
Sixty-eight horse-and-rider duos took to the International Arena on Friday, all vying for a spot in Sunday’s $50,000 Ethel M. Chocolates CSI2* Grand Prix. The $39,000 CSI2* 1.45m Qualifier was the gateway to grand prix glory and saw Laura Chapot (USA) take top call riding Chandon Blue.
Seven riders representing seven unique nations battled it out over the tie-breaking jump-off track, but Chapot and her longtime partner Chandon Blue could not be caught.
“He really likes it down here in Florida; this is probably the one time of year he works the hardest, but he doesn’t need a lot of practice,” explained Chapot of her and Mary Chapot’s 18-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Chacco-Blue x Landcapitol). “He loves to compete. He gets bored when he is at home, and I wonder sometimes if something is wrong, but then he gets to the show ring and just grows.”