COURSE DISCOURSE: $209,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix CSIO4*

WEF 8 2019 will host the Rolex series of Nations Cup competitions and should not be confused with the Longines series that took place 2 weeks ago at the Palm Beach Masters show grounds at Deeridge Farms. We also host the $209,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix CSIO4* that will be held in the International ring at WEF on Sunday afternoon.

The course designers for the week will be Steve Stephens (USA) and Nick Granat (USA). In conversation with Steve before the class this afternoon I congratulated him on receiving half the winning bid to build the jumps for the World Equestrian Center in Ocala with Tucker Williams receiving the other half. Steve Stephens is accepted as one of the best jump builders in the world and some of his jumps are in play this week and you will recognize them easily because they are different from the jumps we see every week in the international ring at WEF. Steve is also the past designer of the Pan American games and an Olympic Games. He is also in the American Equestrian Hall of Fame.

Early in the week the WEF qualifier was an extremely good test with very good results as well as the U25 grand prix. The Nations Cup class Saturday night was very good and resulted in a jump off for the gold medal with the USA winning on the jump off ride of McLain Ward.

For today’s class we had 45 entries and we will see 42 compete. The course will consist of 14 numbered obstacles and 17 efforts. On the course we will see 3 double combinations, a triple bar, the WATER, 2 liverpools and 1 short pole vertical. We will not see a wall or a plank vertical. The time allowed will be set at 80 seconds and will remain there.

With the Nations Cup being held last night many of the rider`s best mounts were used in that class with the 2 round format and so today we will see the best back up rides in the barn. There will also be some riders moving up to the 4* level or less experienced horses getting a chance at a 4* grand prix. The one thing that cannot or should not change is the level of a 4* grand prix course. The course that we will walk soon will be a 4* track. The weather is hot and humid with very little breeze. With the class today in the afternoon and on Sunday there is a really disappointing crowd on hand. This is nothing unusual for a grand prix class held in the afternoon on a Sunday at WEF but what can you do. It is now time to walk the $209,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix CSIO4*.

Jump 1

#1 oxer 1.44/1.45m/1.50m or 4.8/4.9ft/5 ft. was the only fence on the course tonight that was never damaged.

Jump 2

#2 vertical 1.55m or 5.1ft comes from #1 on the soft bending left rein with no given distance and hit the artificial sand 5 times.

Jump 3

#3 triple bar 1.58/1.90m or 5.4/6.3ft comes on the full turn right away from the in-gate and ended the day for 3 competitors.

Jump 4a

#4a closed Liverpool vertical 1.55m or 5.1ft comes from #3 in a straight line with a distance of 23.3m or 76ft and the top pole was washed 11 times. The use of the Liverpool in a combination has been used only twice this season and has been something that has created some difficulty. This is very good use of the Liverpool.

Jump 4b

#4b vertical 1.56m or 5.1ft comes from #4a with a distance of 8m or 26.3ft and was punished 5 times.

Jump 5

#5 oxer 1.55/1.65m or 5.1/5.4ft comes from #4b on the bending right rein with no given distance and found the floor 6 times.

Jump 6

#6 narrow oxer 1.52/1.20m or 5/4ft comes at the far end of the ring on the full turn left and fell from grace only 1 time.

Jump 7

#7 the open water 4m or 13ft comes from #6 on the left bending rein and there were 4 toes in the tub.

Jump 9

#8 skinny vertical 1.60m or 5.3ft comes from the water in a straight line with a distance of 28m or 92ft and saw 8 poles meet with mother earth. We also had a refusal resulting in a fall and therefore an elimination.

Jump 9

#9 vertical 1.58m or 5.3ft comes from #8 on a full roll back turn on the right rein at and away from the in-gate kissed the ground 4 times.

Jump 10a

#10a oxer 1.50/1.60m or 5/5.3ft comes from #9 on the left bending line with no given distance and 13 poles met mother earth. There was also 1 refusal.

Jump 10b

#10b vertical 1.58m or 5.3ft comes from #10a with a distance of 8.10m or 26.6ft and was damaged 8 times and also created 1 refusal.

Jump 11

#11 vertical 1.60m or 5.3ft comes from #10b on the soft bending right rein with a distance of 21.3m or 70ft and fell from grace 7 times.

Jump 12

#12 Liverpool oxer 1.50/1.60m or 5/5.3ft comes on the right rein and created 6 splash downs and 1 refusal.

Jump 13a

#13a vertical comes from #12 in a straight line with a distance of 19.5m or 64ft and this flat 4 strides was the undoing of 20 rides with 1 refusal.

Jump 13b

#13b oxer 1.5/1.70m or 5/5.6ft comes from #13a with a distance of 7.80m or 25.6ft and we saw 8 failures to execute and also 1 refusal. The forward 4 and then the vertical to oxer combination on a short 1 stride was a demanding test that few did successfully. It was a fair test for a 4* grand prix.

#14 oxer 1.50/1.80m or 5/5.8ft comes in a straight line from #13b with a distance of 23.7m or 78ft and as the last fence in the first round it was the end of the day for 6 riders and also created 2 refusals.

The final results of the first round of the Lugano Diamonds CSIO 4* grand prix will show that there were only 2 clean rounds of the 42 starters. There were 5 rounds of 4 faults and there were 5 rounds of 8 faults and 2 with 9 faults and 1 with 12 faults. There were 2 eliminations, 1 from refusals and 1 from a fall. The time allowed of 80 seconds was very fair. The significant statistic is that there 10 voluntary withdrawals. It must be understood that most VW`s are the decision of the rider so they do not have to use a completed course for possible rider points. A rider may not want to have the competed score on the record for sale purchases and other factors that may be personal to the rider and do not accurately reflect the degree of difficulty on any given course. When a rider withdraws before the end of the course the results will only record the failure to finish. Make no mistake this was a difficult course consistent with a 4* FEI grand prix and more factors in play than just a strong course. The distances heights and widths have all been used in previous grand prix`s this season that were used in this class along with the water jump that has not been seen in 7 previous weeks. The water jump was not a real factor in the outcome of this class. I believe this course deserved better results but that is just a fact of life. Next week we are back to the 5* level and the course designer will be Alan Wade (IRE). The feature grand prix will be the $390,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate Grand Prix CSI5*. And we will be back on Saturday night. Until then I am Dave Ballard.

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