Ashlee Bond and Karoline of Ballmore. © Sportfot.
Wellington, FL – April 2, 2022 – The pinnacle event of the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) came to an exciting conclusion on Saturday, April 2, in the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI5*. Olympian Ashlee Bond (ISR) and Karoline Of Ballmore ascended to the top of the podium after an exciting five-horse jump-off.
Course designer Guilherme Jorge (BRA) set a large and technical course befitting a five-star event for the 40 entries that qualified for the class. With a line-up of who’s who in show jumping, five horse-and-rider combinations were able to find the key to a clear round and return for the jump-off.
“It’s always very special to build this grand prix,” said Jorge. “I’ve been coming to Wellington since 1999. This is the fifth time in a row I’ve designed the Rolex Grand Prix. Wellington is home now, so for me it feels very special.
“It’s always very challenging [to design this grand prix course], because it’s the end of the season,” continued Jorge of his design plan. “This arena itself gives us a lot of variety. I knew I had to build a tough course, because we had a really, really strong group of horses and riders. I made some adjustments in the end because of the heat and the humidity; I took the spread out of the last few oxers, because we are all feeling the weather a little bit. But it was fantastic jumping and conditions of the field. Everything worked out very well, so I’m really happy with it.”
As a late addition to the starting order due to a scratch in the original order, Spencer Smith (USA) and Quibelle, a 13-year-old Hanoverian mare by FRH Quaid x Stakkato owned by Gotham Enterprizes, LLC, were first into the ring for both the opening round and the jump-off. Over the shortened course, they had an unfortunate rail for four faults in 45.68 seconds, which would leave them in fifth place at the end of the class.
Chloe Reid (USA) was next to contest with Live Oak Plantation LLC’s Souper Shuttle. She and the 11-year-old Hanoverian mare by Stakkato x La Zarras 2, which she has ridden for three years, put in an efficient clear round in a time of 47.63 seconds to take the lead, but with two more double clear rides after her, she would land in the third-place position on the podium.
Always a threat in the jump-off, Daniel Coyle (IRL) piloted Legacy, a 12-year-old Zangersheide mare by Chippendale Z x Bon Ami owned by Ariel Grange, to the fastest time of the jump-off in 43.88 seconds, but a downed jump for four faults gave them fourth place at the end of the class.
Bond and Karoline Of Ballmore, competing in their first jump-off together, were able to blaze through the jump-off course in 44.09 seconds and leave all of the jumps up to take the lead.
Daniel Bluman, winner of the 2012 edition of this finale grand prix, was clear and just off the winning pace in 44.29 seconds with Ladriano Z, owned by Over The Top Stables LLC, which gave Israel a one-two finish.
Jumper Turned Hunter Catena 5 Ends Circuit on High Note in Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3” 18-35
Julia Weiss, of Amagansett, NY, and her own Catena 5 reigned supreme on Saturday in the Amateur-Owner Hunters 3’3” 18-35, sponsored by Adequan.
The division took place in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring over two days and saw 18 horse-and-rider teams compete in four over fences classes and an under saddle.
Weiss and Catena 5, a 12-year-old Holsteiner mare, posted the top score over fences each day with a 90 in the handy on Friday and a 91 on Saturday. They also won the under saddle and received a second place over fences to end on a total of 36 points for the championship.
Reserve champion in the division went to Quest, owned and ridden by Stephanie Danhakl, of Pacific Palisades, CA. The pair won two of their over fences classes and were third in the under saddle to end on 24.5 points.
For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.