Welcome to Week Two of WEF 2018. This week will feature the $70,000 Marshall and Sterling Insurance CSI 2* Grand Prix. Saturday’s class will see 45 starters coming forward from the WEF qualifier on Thursday. The grand prix will feature Oscar Soberon (MEX) as our course designer and this will be his first appearance as the course designer in the International Arena at WEF. Oscar has a very good resume and his work has been centered in Canada, USA, Mexico and South America. He is one of the younger course designers working at this level and has a very good reputation.
As I have stated over the years I consider Week Two and the 2* rating one of the most difficult weeks at WEF for the course designer. The 2* rating comes from the prize money offered and not based on the ability of the riders or the horses. Tonight we will see both riders and horses that can compete well above the 1.45m height that must be in play. To achieve good results in this class a course designer must use most of the tools in his bag of tests.
We are under the lights and the weather is perfect for show jumping. The ring looks great and the footing is in good condition. There is a very good on hand for tonight’s class. The course designer for the last two years has been Catsy Cruz who is with us again this year but not tonight. Catsy has been the recipient of my gold star award for designing the best course of the season for her work in this class. Oscar has to be at his best to maintain the level of course designing that we have seen the last two years on this night.
As I have stated we will have 45 entries in tonight and all will compete. There are 13 numbered obstacles and 16 efforts. We will see a plank vertical, 2 liverpools. Triple bar, 1 double and 1 triple combination. There will be a wall and a short pole vertical. There will be no open water. The time allowed was set at 76 seconds and will be changed to 74 after the third ride.
We are now ready to begin the walk of the $70,000 Marshall and Sterling CSI 2* Grand Prix.
#1 the wall 1.44m or 4.9ft comes on the left rein at the far end of the Ring. The wall quickly ended the evening for 1 rider.
#2 oxer 1.45/1.55m or 4.9/5.1ft comes in a straight line from #1 with a distance of 35m or 115ft and was dashed from the yellow cups 1 time.
#3 oxer 1.45/1.60m or 4.9/5.3ft comes from #2 on the bending left rein and on a long gallop and created many problems for many competitors tonight. This was the Hermes oxer (one of the oldest jumps and has never changed except for fresh paint) and caused 3 refusals and 10 poles found mother earth . This oxer had the Liverpool in the middle. (This oxer was built the same way last week)
#4 short pole vertical 1.47m or 4.10ft comes on the right rein and is at the in-gate. This vertical found the ground 3 times.
#5 oxer 1.45/1.55m or 4.9/5.1ft comes from #4 in a straight line with a distance of 15.40m or 50.6ft. Coming across the face of the in-gate the flat 3 strides caused 1 pole to fall but did see 2 refusals and 1 fall resulting in elimination.
#6 oxer 1.45/1.60m or 4.9/5.3ft comes from #5 on the right rein with no given distance and was pushed to the ground 5 times.
#7a vertical 1.45m or 4.9ft comes from #6 on the bending left rein with a distance of 30.50m or 100ft and kissed the sand 1 time.
#7b oxer 1.47/1.10m or 4.10/3.6ft comes from #7a with a distance of 8m or 26.3ft and fell from grace 1 time.
#7c oxer 1.46/1.60m or 4.9/5.3ft comes from #7b on a distance of 11.20m or 36.6ft and fell to the floor 7 times.
#8 plank vertical 1.47m or 4.10ft comes from #7c on a distance of 33m or 108ft. This black plank was jumping right into the jumbotron and yet was faulted just 1 time.
#9 oxer 1.47/1.65m or 4.10/5.4ft comes on the full turn on the left rein and was faulted 2 times.
#10 vertical closed liverpool 1.47m or 4.10ft comes from #9 in a straight line with a distance of 21.50m or 70.6ft and was the only jump to remain standing the whole of the first round without fault.
#11 triple bar 1.47/1.80m or 4.10/6ft comes turning for home on the right rein on no given distance and the width was reduced 1 time.
#12a oxer 1.45/1.60m or 4.9/5.3ft comes from #11 in a straight line with a distance of 19.30m or 63.3ft and was the bogy jump tonight. There were 4 flat strides and the solid color pole (dark green with an orange plank on the bottom) created 2 refusals and 14 poles found their way to the sand.
#12b vertical 1.45m or 4.9ft comes from #12a with a distance of 7.90m or 25.9ft and also found the sand 7 times.
#13 oxer 1.47/1.70m or 4.10/5.6ft comes from #12b in a straight line with a distance of 25.5m or 83.6ft and is the last fence in the first round. The final fence in the first round saw 2 poles fall from the yellow cups.
My first comment on this course has to be that Oscar brought his “A” game to the international ring tonight! This was a great track. The final tally will show that there were 9 clear rounds, 15 rounds of 4 faults, 1 with 5, 6 with 8 and the rest will fight another day. There were 4 voluntary withdrawals, 1 fall and 1 elimination (fall). The FEI seeding gave us 3 clear rounds in the first half and 6 after the drag break. The time allowed was set at 76 and was reduced to 74. This change in hindsight may not have been necessary. Changing the time allowed downward will always be a tough decision. There were no time faults with a clear jumping round tonight.
A course designer uses the material that is provided to build his course. On the course tonight there were 2 liverpools on top of the ground and had water in them. There were 58 poles 7 planks and 2 jumps that included some form of filler. One of those jumps contained potted plants that created a false ground line. This type of jump was quite common in the day but not so popular today. I really liked this construction and was surprised when I saw it used tonight. It was well built and well placed and with the ride on the forward distance was a small factor on the course. I think that the use of the material and the use of specific colour was as well done tonight as we have seen in a few years. This speaks volumes to the imagination and the dedication of our course designer to provide both the riders and the spectators to excellent show jumping tonight.
Great job and I hope this means we will see you again next year. Thank you Oscar Soberon. This year at WEF we have 2 rookies coming into the international ring. We just saw the work of Oscar Soberon and next week we will see the work of Canadian Peter Grant. Who will be the rookie of the year? Oscar has set the bar high as did Catsy Cruz so Peter has his work cut out for him. I am looking forward to the walk of the $132,000 Adequan CSI3*Grand Prix next week on Saturday night under the lights. Until then I am Dave Ballard.