Before we begin the walk of the $72,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI2* just a word about the 11th annual Duke of Wellington Men’s Invitational golf tournament held this week at The Wanderers Club. This event gets 5* for a wonderful event. The staff and that is everyone involved in making this event possible gave me a memory that will stay with me a long time. The players, the course conditions, the food, the warm atmosphere and everything else, was first class. The only complaint I had was my game. Many thanks to Jim Weir for the invitation and putting up with my play. Tonight we will see 45 entries in the $72,000 NetJets CSI2*.
There will be 44 starters as there was a late scratch. Our course designer this week will be Oscar Soberon (MEX) who made his debut here last year and did a great job. The rating of this class as a 2* will test his skills to create a competitive class not be either too easy or too difficult. If the course that he set for the WEF on Thursday is any indication as to the outcome tonight we are in for a great class. In that WEF class there were 104 entries and the results were terrific. In the course tonight we will have 13 numbered obstacles and 16 efforts. Within this course we will see 1 double and 1 triple combination, a triple bar, a plank vertical, a wall, 2 liverpools with water, and 1 oxer with a false ground line. The TA is set at 76 seconds and will not be changed. In both major classes, the WEF and the class tonight the TA was somewhat aggressive but extremely fair. There is a really good crowd tonight and the stands are full. The weather is perfect for show jumping, it is 7pm so let’s begin the walk of the $72,000 NetJets CSI 2* grand prix.
#1 triple bar 1.45/1.75m or 4.10/5.7ft comes across the face of the in-gate with a left or right lead approach. This fence received no damage on the night.
#2 vertical 1.45m or 4.10ft cones a full turn right and was tumbled from the yellow 18mm cups 2 times.
#3 oxer Liverpool 1.46/1.60m or 4.10/5.3ft comes from #2 in a straight line with a distance of 19.50m or 63.9ft and proved fatal for 9 entries. This forward distance up to the top of the crown of the ring and the presence of the Liverpool and the Hermes orange has proved over the past few years to be a difficult jump. The number of strides was 4 forward.
#4 short pole vertical 1.48m or 4.11ft comes on the bending left rein with no given distance from #3 and proved to be easy enough and found the floor only once.
#5 oxer 1.46/1.60m or 4.10/5.3ft comes on a short turn back on the left rein and saw this jump dismantled 8 times and also 1 refusal.
#6a oxer 1.45/1.60m or 4.10/5.3ft comes in a straight line from #5 with a distance of 25.20m or 82.6ft and slightly downhill from the middle crown and met mother earth 3 times.
#6b vertical 1.47m or 4.10ft comes from #6a with a distance of 11.30m or 37ft and influenced the score of only 2 riders.
#6c oxer 1.45/1.60m or 4.10/5.3ft comes from #6b with a distance of 7.90m or 25.9ft. There were more problems here with 7 touchdowns. It is always nice to see that the triple combination be just a normal factor in the outcome of any major class.
#7 false ground line oxer 1.46/1.60m or 4.10/5.3ft is placed at the mouth of the in-gate and caused 4 failures to execute.
#8 the wall 1.45m or 4.10ft comes on the right turn away from the in-gate and did its job as a set up fence. The wall was never faulted but because of the arc of the horse it becomes the test to the following jump or in this case the following double combination.
#9a vertical 1.47m or 4.11ft comes in a straight line from #8 with a distance of 23m or 77.3ft and the resulting flat 5 or the short 6 caused 1 drive by and 6 poles to find ground zero.
#9b oxer 1.46/1.60m or 4.10/5.3ft comes from #9a with a distance of 7.90m or 25.9ft and with the option of the flat 5 or the steady 6 also connected with the artificial footing 6 times.
#10 plank vertical 1.48m or 4.11ft comes with no given distance on the right rein from #9b and this plank was very thin and all black was never faulted. This was actually a surprise to me.
#11 oxer 1.46/1.65m or 4.10/5.4ft comes on a short left turn back on the left rein and in the darkest area of the ring was jumping towards the jumbotron and received replay reviews 6 times.
#12 closed Liverpool vertical comes from #11 in a straight line with a distance of 15.30m or 50ft and this flat 3 strides and also into the jumbotron created 1 refusal and 6 splash downs.
#13 oxer 1.47/1.75m or 4.11/5.7ft comes from #12 on the left bending rein with a distance of 35m or 114ft. This was the last fence in the first round and was the widest spread on the course. This was also the most faulted fence on the course meeting mother earth 13 times. Unlucky #13. The distance on the bending line created the direct 7 or the bending 8 strides. The TA played a role in the decision here but it was also horse specific. If you were on the time about 50% did the 8 but if the TA was in play the 7 was the choice of the other 50%. If your horse was one that was comfortable with a big step then the 7 was also a good choice.
The results of the first were as follows. There were 8 clean rounds, 3 rounds with 1 time fault, 8 rounds of 4 faults, 3 with 5 and 5 with 8 faults. There were 22 rounds that were within 5 faults of the jump off. There was only 1 VW. The results of Oscar Soberon (MEX) could not have been better. Over the last few years this week has featured a couple of the best young course designers we have in the sport today and once again we had a brilliant result. With the field of riders and horses here in Wellington Fla. it is hard to be easy and easy to be hard. It is harder still to almost perfect as the course was tonight. This was great work and look forward to Oscar in Canada this summer. The results of week one were extremely good and week 2 were great. I look forward to week 3 when we will walk the first of the 3* grand prix with Peter Grant (CAN) as course designer of the $134,000 Adequan Grand Prix CSI3*. Until next week I am Dave Ballard.