Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 3, 2018 – Saturday concluded competition on the grass for Week Four of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) with the $205,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI4*, held on the derby field at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival facility. Israel’s 27-year-old Daniel Bluman rode Sancha LS to the top of the leaderboard ahead of seasoned American athletes, Beezie Madden and Margie Engle.
Anderson Lima (BRA) tested 45 riders across his expansive 16-effort track, resulting in nine horse-and-rider combinations advancing to the jump-off, where riders continued to improve with each round. The top spot changed hands consecutively as Engle, Madden and Bluman each bested their predecessor’s time. With the final ride, Ireland’s Richie Moloney delivered a clear round, but was unable to catch the trio’s top times and finished in sixth place.
Now in his eighth season with Sancha LS, Bluman knew he had the opportunity to take more risks than Madden and her younger mount, Con Taggio. He captured the finish just slightly ahead of Madden in 43.39 seconds to take the victory with the 14-year-old mare, owned by Daniel and Steven Bluman andnd Camilo Robayo. Bluman has proved the turf is no test after recently claiming three consecutive FEI wins on the grand prix field at the 2017Hampton Classic Horse Show including the $300,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix CSI4*.
Madden rode Abigail Wexner’s 8-year-old Con Taggio to a double-clear round in 43.48 seconds, finishing the gelding’s biggest competition to date in second place. The top-ranked woman in the Longines Rankings, Madden, and the Oldenburg gelding have been partnered together for less than a year but have collected impressive international results thus far with top finishes throughout 2017 at Spruce Meadows and a victory in the Silverspoon 1.45m CSI5* at the Brussels Stephex Masters in Belgium.
At 18 years old, Gladewinds Farm Inc.’s Indigo, a Dutch Warmblood stallion, proved that he isn’t one to be forgotten as he jumped a double-clear performance in 44.30 seconds to finish in third place. The veteran duo share eight years of partnership and a long list of top international placings over the years between them with no signs of slowing down after Saturday’s third place finish.
Competition will return to Palm Beach International Equestrian Center on Saturday evening, highlighting the Great Charity Challenge beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the International Arena. WEF Week Five begins Feb. 7 and welcomes CSI5* competition with the $384,000 Fidelity Investments® Grand Prix CSI5* on Saturday, Feb. 10.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Daniel Bluman – $205,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI4* winner
On Sancha LS:
“This amazing field suits [Sancha LS] very well. At the end of last year, I made the plan to start the week here by jumping the qualifier with another horse and compete in the grand prix with Sancha. There’s another week here at the end of season that I plan to jump with her. I’m just very pleased and happy she could get some honors. She deserves them!”
On the jump-off:
“I didn’t get to watch many people go but I was lucky I was able to see Beezie who was one of the fastest — she was sharp everywhere. Sancha is a veteran, and with Beezie riding a 9-year-old, I knew I could take some risks that maybe she couldn’t. Luck was on my side. From one to two, I wanted to try to do one less stride. I lost my concentration and nearly ended up in the standard. I was then able to really gallop, full-energy, to the last combination of the course.”
On qualifying for the World Equestrian Games (WEG):
“WEG is my number one goal for this year. I won’t be doing it with Sancha though, she’s already done enough championships in her life. Right now, her aim is to jump classes like this. We have some new Israeli riders that have been added to the team. We’re very motivated to have a good program and hopefully have a strong team for Tokyo as well.”
Beezie Madden – Second place
On Con Taggio:
“This is his first bigger grand prix. He has gone fast before and did some really good classes at Spruce Meadows. He’s won a few 1.45m and 1.50m classes but this was by far his biggest class and I haven’t gone that fast over a big track like this with him. I just decided to have some fun and he was fantastic!”
On future plans with Con Taggio:
“He might go up and down levels a little bit this season. I might spot him in a few 5* classes as well but we’ll see! We didn’t know what to expect today so we’ll make a plan for him from here and hopefully shoot for another grand prix later on.”
Margie Engle – Third place
“He’s 18 now but he doesn’t know it! He still thinks he’s 5 or 6 years old. I haven’t shown him in a big class in a long time. He stayed home last year while I was at Spruce Meadows so he was plenty fresh today. I wasn’t planning on doing this but he felt so good at home. He doesn’t owe me a thing so if he feels like doing it, great! If he doesn’t, I’ll just come out. He’s felt great and sound and fresh so I just thought I’d give it a shot! He’s done more than I could’ve asked for in his life. He’ll let me know when he’s ready to retire. When we went back out for the awards, he acted like he was ready for another round. He has more energy than all of my young ones put together. I’ve never had a horse with his energy. He genuinely loves it!”
On Indigo competing on the grass field:
“He’s brave. He’s the same in most venues. He’s one of the few horses I have that’s good in a small ring. Outside probably best suits him though. The first day here, he was wild and dragging me around a little. It was good to get in the ring once earlier this week. Today, he was much better behaved and not as wild as he was on Thursday.”
$205,000 NetJets CSI4* Grand Prix
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / R1 Faults | Time / R2 Faults | Time
1. Sancha LS / Daniel Bluman / ISR / 0 | 76.92 / 0 | 43.39
2. Con Taggio / Beezie Madden / USA / 0 | 83.54 / 0 | 43.48
3. Indigo / Margie Engle / USA / 0 | 78.50 / 0 | 44.30
4. Diamonte Darco / Lucas Porter / USA / 0 | 78.30 / 0 | 44.68
5. Nice De Prissey / Brianne Goutal / USA / 0 | 78.87 / 0 | 44.78
6. Freestyle De Muze / Richie Moloney / IRL / 0 | 82.52 / 0 | 47.20
7. Skara Glen’s Presence / Paul O’Shea / IRL / 0 | 81.39 / 4 | 43.18
8. Fedor / Scott Keach / AUS / 0 | 80.76 / 4 | 45.03
9. Brilliant Du Rouet / Roberto Teran / COL / 0 | 81.17 / 4 | 49.99
10. Ohlala / Lauren Hough / USA / 4 | 77.91
11. Eristov / Jordan Coyle / IRL / 4 | 77.94
12. Luibanta BH / Amanda Derbyshire / GBR / 4 | 78.57
For full results, click here.