Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 27, 2019 – Week Eight of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) kicked off Wednesday morning, with FEI competition in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) commencing as riders prepare their horses for Saturday night’s $150,000 Nations Cup CSIO4*. On Wednesday morning it was the Lugano Diamonds $5,000 CSIO Welcome that took place, seeing 59 entries contest the 1.45m course set by Steve Stephens (USA) and Nick Granat (USA). In the end, Ashlee Bond (ISR) and Donatello 141 nabbed the top prize by besting the rest of the pack.
Bond’s win Wednesday morning built on her recent successes in Florida, having had a successful week at Deeridge Farms during the second week of the Palm Beach Masters Series two weeks ago, where she was on the silver medal-winning Israeli team for the $290,000 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of the United States of America CSIO5* with her veteran mount, Chela LS. Bond also had wins in the beginning of the week, where she took home the blue in the $10,000 CP Welcome Stake with Donatello 141 and the $72,000 NetJets Classic with another mount of hers, Ereina.
With the class operating as a one-round speed format, riders had to set an early pace and keep it to have a chance at winning, and early trailblazer and overall winner Bond did just that, setting a fault-free time of 57.25 seconds. Bond rode the 8-year-old gelding Donatello 141, owned by Little Valley Farms, the farm she and her father, Steve Bond, run out of Hidden Hills, California. Going third in the order, Bond stuck to her plan and used her horse’s naturally quick ability to put herself a whole 7.65 seconds faster than second-place finisher, Eve Jobs (USA).
Following Bond in the order was Mario Deslauriers (CAN) with Amsterdam 27, whose time of 65.44 seconds would eventually put him fourth overall. Jobs secured the next clear, and her time of 64.88 seconds aboard her own Limbridge would earn her second place. Third place went to Georgina Bloomberg (USA), riding the Gotham Enterprizes LLC entry Cessna 24, with a time of 64.90 seconds. Erynn Ballard (CAN) was the only rider to better Bond’s time, having navigated the track in 56.26 seconds, but a few unfortunate rails fell on course to keep them from the winner’s circle.
Using this class as a warmup for the week’s events, many riders chose to jump a part of the course and retire when they felt their horses were schooled enough. With the water jump as an option at fence six, numerous riders took the opportunity to ensure their horses were ready for Saturday night. Wednesday evening will see the second section of the class run over an identical track under the lights, as competitors had the option to enter their horses in either the evening or morning class, giving them the opportunity to school under the lights if they felt that was best for their mounts.
Section B ran Wednesday night at 6:45 p.m, where Roberto Teran Tafur (COL) had the winning time of 63.41 with his own Dena-Sienne. Martin Fuchs’s (SWI) time of 64.08 took second place with Silver Shine, an entry of Willow Grace Farm. Alejandro Karolyi (VEN) rounded out the top three with Lincourt Gino, owned by Monica Carerra, navigating the course in 66.93 seconds.
WEF Week Eight continues through Sunday, March 3rd, with Saturday nights $150,000 Nations Cup under the lights at 7 p.m highlighting the week.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Ashlee Bond – $5,000 Lugano Diamonds CSIO Welcome winner
“Donatello is 8 years old, and we got him from Richard Spooner and Mark Worth when he was just turning 6. He had only three or four shows under his belt then, so he was very green, but he has come a really long way. He won some 2* 1.45m classes as a 7-year-old and he’s just always been such a consistent, good, steady Eddie, my easiest one of the bunch. It’s always a pleasure to ride him. This is his warm-up class, he will do the WEF Challenge tomorrow, and then he will be done for the week as he has had a big couple of weeks. He went at Deeridge Farms where he did two 1.45m classes, and then last week here at WEF he did the 1.45m’s and then he did the 1.50m on Sunday, where he only had one down. That was a big step for him. I wasn’t even going to show him this week, but I figured why not since he will have the next few weeks off.”
On her plan today
“I think a lot of people were just schooling, but for him, he needs to go at a good rhythm. It worked out since I don’t think anyone was really trying too hard, so I just went in and put him on a good pace. The WEF Challenge is also a speed class so I wanted to put him on that good rhythm to the open water. This is only his third time jumping the open water so I wanted to test him that way. Other than that, I just went out there and let him do his thing. It worked out in the end where I got a nice little check and a present, so I am happy!”
On preparing for the Nations Cup:
“I will do Chela LS in the class tonight, just to jump the open water at night. I don’t think she has ever jumped it at night, and then I will ride her in the 1.45m on Friday because she is good if I can do two classes back-to-back. She’s still wild at 15!”
$5,000 Lugano Diamonds CSIO Welcome
Place / Horse / Athlete / Country / Owner / R1 Faults / Time
1. Donatello 141 / Ashlee Bond / ISR / Little Valley Farms / 0 / 57.25
2. Limbridge / Eve Jobs / USA / Eve Jobs / 0 / 64.88
3. Cessna 24 / Georgina Bloomberg / USA / Gotham Enterprizes LLC / 0 / 64.9
4. Amsterdam 27 / Mario Deslauriers / CAN / Wishing Well Farm LLC / 0 / 65.44
5. Jamaica Van Paemel / Mario Deslauriers / CAN / Luja LLC / 0 / 66.02
6. Excellent B / Nicole Walker / CAN / Nicole Walker / 0 / 66.14
7. Lord Pizarro / Enrique Gonalez / BRA / Enrique Gonzalez / 0 / 66.66
8. Le Roi / Juan Pablo Gnecco / COL / Juan Pablo Gnecco / 0 / 67.26
9. Kaprice Van’t Rookakker / Kent Farrington / USA / Tanma Corp & Kent Farrington / 0 / 67.61
10. C Hunter / Lucas Porter / USA / Sleepy P Ranch LLC / 0 / 67.83
11. Pacific Des Essarts / Jennifer Gates / USA / Evergate Stables LLC / 1 / 68.89
12. Quality FZ / Spencer Smith / USA / Torrey Pines Gut Einhaus / 1 / 68.97