Wellington, Fla – Feb. 5, 2020 – We ended a week of unsettled weather with the $213,300 CSI4*-W Longines FEI jumping World Cup at Deeridge Farm Wellington, Florida. This week saw 2 4* Grand Prix’s in Wellington. One was held at the WEF derby field on Saturday morning, and unfortunately, the class was moved from the grass to the dressage arena due to heavy rain on Friday. The decision was made because it was felt that the grass would not be fair to everyone throughout the class. It was the correct move, but the flavor of the class was not the same without the grass. The derby field has great footing, but there was just too much rain.
Deeridge, however, had an extra day to dry out, and the footing today is perfect. It must be noted that the grass field at Deeridge was not used on Saturday, and the classes that day were moved to the sand ring as well. It is now Sunday afternoon, and the weather is perfect for an outstanding field of 40 entries. Our course designer is Alan Wade (IRE) and is no stranger to Deeridge or to most riders around the world.
The course will consist of 13 numbered jumps and have 16 efforts. We will see a plank vertical, triple bar, short pole vertical, a triple combination and a double combination and there will be two liverpools, one vertical and one oxer. The course will not show an open water as this is a world cup qualifier and not required. The time allowed is set at 76 seconds and will remain unchanged. There is a good crowd on hand, and with some new features around the outside of the ring, there is plenty of shade and the temperature at start time is about 70 degrees. The conditions are perfect to begin the walk of the Palm
Beach Masters CSI 4* Longines $213,300 World Cup Qualifier.
#1 Vertical 1.50m or 5ft comes on either lead and dashed the hopes of a clean round for one competitor.
#2 Oxer 1.49/1.65m or 5.5.4ft comes on the bending right rein with no given distance but was on a related distance. This fence was only one of two jumps not faulted on the day.
#3 Vertical 1.59m or 5.3ft comes from #2 in a straight line with a distance of 22.30m or 73ft. It tumbled to the turf two times and also created one refusal.
#4 Triple bar 1.53/2.00m or 5.1/6.6ft comes on a full turn on the left rein and was not faulted on the day.
#5 Oxer 1.48/1.75m or 4.11/5.7ft comes from #4 in a straight line with a distance of 27.40m or 89.9ft and touched down one time
#6a Vertical 1.54m or 5.1ft comes from #5 on the bending right rein with no given distance, but again related to a number of strides, and was punished four times.
#6b Oxer 1.50/1.65 or 5/5.4ft comes on a distance from #6a of 8m or 26.3ft and was lights out for nine of our riders.
#7 Vertical 1.61m or 5.3ft comes from #6b in a straight line with a distance 18.00m or 59ft. This jump was the tempest in the tea pot today and kissed Mother Earth twelve times.
#8 Closed liverpool vertical 1.61m or 5.4ft comes on the right rollback turn and, to my surprise, got wet on only one occasion.
#9a Oxer 1.48/1.60m or 4.11/5.3ft comes from #8 on the left rein with no given distance (not related) and fell from grace four times.
#9b Oxer 1.49/1.60m or 4.11/5.3ft comes from #9a with a distance of 10.80m or 35.5ft. One pole was removed from the yellow cups and also created one refusal.
#9c Vertical 1.58m or 5.2ft comes from #9b with a distance of 7.95m or 26ft that was punched out eight times.
#10 Oxer over a liverpool that is 1.51/1.70m or 5/5.6ft comes from #9c in a straight line with a distance of 29.50m or 96.6ft. The burgundy colored poles took a bath four times.
#11 Vertical 1.62m or 5.4ft comes from #10 on the right turn coming back home and sent five riders back to the barn early.
#12 Plank vertical 1.61m or 5.3ft comes from #11 on the bending left rein with no given
diistance, but very related in strides, and the soft yellow plank gave way to gravity 11 times.
#13 Oxer 1.54/1.70m or 5.1/5.6ft comes from #12 in a straight line with a distance of 22.50m or 73.9ft, and not only ended the first round but, it also ended the day for three riders. There was one refusal at #13 but it was really just a circle to re-organize. That ends the first round and now it’s time for the final tally.
There were three clear rounds, one round with only one time fault, 12 rounds of four faults, one with five faults and seven rounds of eight faults. The rest will compete another day. There were no falls and no eliminations. There were, however, six voluntary withdrawals. These VW’s were the choice of the rider not to have their score be counted for year-end rider points. Sometimes to the spectator can be confused by these VW’s and relate these actions to the horse/rider abilities to complete the course. As these withdrawals help the rider manage the showing year, they are valuable to use when they have a class with a better score.
This was as good of a grand prix as we have had in the last few years for me, and we have had quite a few really good ones. Make no mistake; this was a tough but extremely fair track for a 4* World cup. The verticals were all high from first to last, and the oxers had a little extra width, but Alan kept the oxers low enough to be fair. The time allowed was fair due to the dimensions of the course and was not set at the aggressive level.
I have spent some time this season discussing the seeding of the jump order under the
FEI rules. This FEI class was no different from the early part of the season, but this was the strongest group of horses and riders from the first horse/rider combination to the last within this starting order. You will see that there was one clean round in the first third of the order and one clean in the second third of the order and one clean in the last third. This does not happen that often but it does show the overall strength of this group.
The most faults that an individual rider that completed the first round had was 17, and I think that also goes to show that the course demanded a precise ride without being a killer. My congratulations to Alan Wade (IRE) and his group for a great afternoon of showjumping. Many thanks go to Evie Friske (CAN) for a beautiful job of course decorating. This was a very good day for Deeridge and their staff.
We are back at The Palm Beach Masters in 2 weeks for the Longines Nations Cup, but we are off to the 5* at WEF next Saturday night for the Under The Lights grand prix. Until then, I am Dave Ballard.