Welcome to week 7 of WEF and the course walk of the Lugano Diamonds CSI 5* grand prix. The prize money tonight will be $384,000 and there are 40 entries competing for the blue ribbon. In the start order there will be 1 scratch so we will see 39 go to the start line. Our course designer for the week has been Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) and we look forward to his interpretation of this 5* event.
Before going further I need to congratulate both Tony and his partner Guilherme Jorge for providing their expertise as technical advisors to the new course designers we have seen in the international ring this year. It is very difficult to enter this environment for the first time and they can be sure that Tony and Guy are there for technical guidance should they need it. In the old days a course designer was almost always a little short on experienced support. In the new world it is a team effort in the major competitions.
On to the class we have tonight. On the course tonight we will see 14 numbered obstacles and 17 efforts. The material count will give us 54 poles, 11 planks, 2 liverpools, a wall and 1 triple combination and a double combination. On the course for the first time this season we will have open water. There was no filler used except for potted plants to form a false ground line at the Hermes oxer (#6). Do you think that week 7 is a little late for the water to be used for the first time? The time allowed is set at 80 seconds and will not be changed. I was at a small show on Friday night and the jumper judge suggested that I should explain why the difficult jumps are so difficult. To do the whole course would be boring but from now on the walks will feature 1 line or 1 jump that proved to be difficult and I will give my personal opinion as to where the difficulty was created. That will come at the end of the walks. The weather tonight is a little close but cool enough to be almost perfect. The crowd was a little late arriving but in the end it was a usual a full house. I think that we are now ready to begin the walk of the #384,000 Rolex CSI 5* grand prix.
#1 oxer 1.45/1.47/1.45m or 4.9/4.10/4.9ft was big enough but not a problem on the course tonight.
#2 the wall 1.52m or 5ft comes from #1 in a straight line with a distance of 31m or 107.6ft was a forward 7 strides but we did see a couple of 8 strides but the 7 was the favorite choice. As most riders are aware of the weapons that a course designer uses the 7 was chosen because of the modern use of a more aggressive TA is common and the 7 strides set the ride for the rest of the course.
#3 triple bar .9/1.95m or 3/6.3ft comes from #2 on the right rein with a distance of 38m or 124ft and fell from grace 1 time.
#4 vertical 1.55m or 5.1ft comes from #3 in a straight line with a distance of 19.60m or 64.3ft and also found the floor 1 time.
#5 closed Liverpool vertical 1.60m or 5.3ft comes on the full turn left and is tight to the rail at the far end of the ring and splashed down 7 times.
#6 false ground line oxer 1.50/1.70m or 5/5.6ft comes from #5 with a small bend left with a distance of 21.50m or70.6ft. The riders were concerned about the distance and striding but after the first competitor did the soft 5 strides there were fewer concerns. We had a couple of 4 strides but the 5 was the number for most. This fence was pushed from the top yellow cups 6 times. This was a difficult line but not as difficult as many thought.
#7 open water 4.20m or 13.9ft comes from #6 on a bending left rein with no given distance and gave up 11 toes in the tub with 1 refusal resulting in 1 fall and thus elimination.
#8a oxer 1.51/1.65m or 5/5.4ft comes from the water on a distance of 26.00m or 85.3ft in a straight line and was faulted 5 times.
#8b vertical 1.53m or 5.1ft comes from #8a with a distance of 7.90m or 25.9ft and resulted in only 1 failure.
#9 skinny oxer 1.55/1.40m or 5.1/4.6ft comes from #8b on the roll back right turn at and away from the in-gate and kissed mother earth 3 times.
#10 vertical 1.60m or 5.3ft comes in a straight line from #9 with a distance of 23.50m or 77ft across the face of the in-gate and tumbled from the sky 6 times. We also had 2 refusals resulting in elimination.
#11 oxer 1.52/1.75m comes from #10 on the bending left rein with no given distance and was a disappointment for 6 riders.
#12 plank vertical 1.60m or 5.3ft comes from #11 in a straight line with a distance of 14.50m or 47.6ft and slipped from the flat cups 8 times.
#13a vertical 1.55m or 5.1ft comes on the full turn left and was lowered only 2 times.
#13b oxer 1.51/1.70m or 5/5.6ft comes with a distance of 8m or 26.3ft and with the little extra in width this was the bogey fence tonight with 11 failures to execute.
#13c vertical 1.57m or 5.2ft comes from #13b with a distance of 11m or 36ft and was only faulted 1 time.
#14 oxer Liverpool 1.52/1.80m or 5/5.8ft comes from #13c on the right bend towards the in-gate with a distance of 40m or 131ft and ended the evening for 8 riders. This was the last fence in the first round tonight.
The final tally will show that there were 6 clean rounds, 5 rounds of 4 faults, 2 rounds of 5 faults, 4 with 8, 4 with 9 faults and 5 with 12 faults. The rest will jump another day. We had 1 fall (elimination), elimination (refusals) and 3 vw’s. Anthony D’Ambrosio gave us a very good CSI 5* grand prix. The course was tough but fair. The TA was what it should have been. The course used all the tools (open water, plank vertical, triple bar, short pole vertical, triple combination, double combination, 2 liverpools and a fair TA). This year we have had really consistent and excellent course design for our feature grand prix’s and tonight was another. Great job Anthony! To finish the walk tonight, I am choosing the last fence on the course as my jump to give my reasons for the difficulty it posed to the riders. The striding gave the riders the option of the 8 or 9 strides on the bend to finish the first round. This oxer was toward the in-gate and was big, square and wide. The widest oxer on the course. The TA was fair but was also a big part of the tests on the course. The 8 strides was the rider’s choice in almost all the rides and the TA was always in their head. Some of the rides were a little late and therefore long and with the width this was the cause of most of the errors at this jump. If you have an opinion about this line or any other lines or distances on this course tonight or any other night please let us know.
Next week is a big week with the grand prix but we also have the nation’s cup. Our course designer will be Ken Krome (USA) who had a great week last year with his grand prix and his Nations Cup and we look forward to his courses next week. Until then I am Dave Ballard.