Wellington, FL – Jan. 20, 2020 – Week 2 of WEF 2020 has come to an end and we will walk the FEI $73,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI2* under the lights for our only 2* of the 2020 season and the first Under The Lights Saturday Grand Prix. There is a really good crowd on hand and the weather is perfect. Our course designer is Oscar Soberon (MEX) and he is becoming familiar with the International Ring. The qualifier on Thursday featured 106 entries to find the 40+ prequalified competitors to compete tonight. With 20 clean rounds and 20 rounds with four faults, Oscar had a perfect result. The starting order tonight will have 45 entries and all will compete. The course will have 13 numbered obstacles and 16 efforts. There will be no water jump and there will be no triple combination. We will see three double combinations, a plank vertical, short pole vertical (skinny), two liverpools (1 vertical, 1 oxer), triple bar and a wall. The wall is very open and the horse can see through it, which I think makes it easier for the horse to jump the wall more like a vertical than a solid wall and, therefore, can make a related distance to the next jump ride a little differently. There are nine spread jumps and six verticals on the course. The time-allowed is set at 80 seconds and will not be changed. The time was aggressive but fair and was a large factor in the outcome of this grand prix. I think that it is now time to walk the $73,000 NetJets CSI2* Grand Prix.
#1 vertical 1.45m or 4.10ft ended the night for 3 competitors before it really got started.
#2 oxer 1.46/1.20m or 4.10/3.9ft comes from #1 on the left rein and a long gallop and being placed at the top of the crown of the ring and we saw 8 failures to execute at this point.
#3a plank vertical 1.47m or 4.11ft comes on a full turn right and away from the in-gate and received punishment 1 time.
#3b oxer 1.46/1.60m or 4.10/5.3ft comes from #3a with a distance of 8m or 26.3ft and tumbled to the sand 3 times. If riders did not make a strong effort to ride extra forward from #1 to #3a the time allowed early on became a factor.
#4 vertical 1.47m or 4.10ft short poles and plank (skinny) comes from #3b in a straight line with a distance of 20.20m or 66.3ft and met mother earth 1 time.
#5a oxer 1.45/1.50m or 4.10/5ft comes from #4 on a long gallop on the right rein at the far end of the ring and was pushed from the top cups 1 time.
#5b oxer 1.45/1.60m or 4.10/5.3ft comes from #5a with a distance of 11.10m or 36.3ft and was adjusted downward 7 times.
#6 vertical 1.47m or 4.11ft comes from #5b on the right rein and there were 4 failures to execute at #6.
#7 oxer 1.46/1.60m or 4.11/5.3ft comes from #6 in a straight line with a distance of 21.80m or 71.6ft and was evicted from the top poles 2 times.
#8 oxer Liverpool 1.45/1.65m or 4.10/5.4ft comes from #7 with no given distance on the left rein and created only 2 splashdowns tonight. This is the Hermes sponsor jump and has added a little white to the pillars. Last year this was the single most faulted jump over the season and yet did not create much difficulty tonight. Do you think adding the white to the pillars has made this jump less difficult?
#9 vertical 1.48m or 4.11ft comes on the continuing left rein and right at the mouth of the in-gate and received a 1 time knock out punch.
#10 the wall 1.48m or 4.11ft comes on the continuing left rein away from the in-gate and came tumbling down 4 times.
#11a oxer 1.45/1.55m or 4.10/5.1ft comes from #10 in a straight line and with a distance of 15.20m or 49.9ft and was definitely the bogey fence on the course tonight. Using the wall to set up the line and with a flat 3 strides and the oxer (11a) very square we saw 17 dreams of success fail to appear.
#11b liverpool vertical 1.47m or 4.11ft comes from #11a with a distance of 7.80m or 25.6ft and here we saw 5 poles in the water. There was 1 coach that made the comment that we do not see the liverpool in the combinations much anymore. My response was that it should appear more often and I was happy to see it on the course tonight. The coach was making an observation and not making a complaint. I like the use of the liverpool in this manner, not always but sometimes, and would like some feedback from the readers.
#12 triple bar 1.45/1.90m or 4.10/6.3ft comes on the full right rein and coming back home and gravity won on 2 occasions.
#13 oxer 1.47/1.70m or 4.11/5.6ft comes from #12 in a straight line with a distance of 28.50m or 93.5ft. The triple bar sets up this distance to be the forward 6 or steady 7 strides. There were 3 failures to execute at the last fence on the course but the most important factor in using the 6 or 7 strides was the time allowed. The choice of strides created many on course tonight to be over the 80 seconds. This was the last fence on the course tonight in the first round.
The results of the first round will show that we will see that 5 riders will advance to the jump-off. Really great results for our course designer Oscar Soberon. There were 5 rounds with 1 time fault, 8 rounds of 4 faults, 6 with 5 faults, 7 with 8 faults and 3 with 9 faults. The rest will jump another day. There were 3 VW’s and 1 elimination on refusals. I have stated in the past that I do not think we should have a 2* as the caliber of horse/rider combinations at WEF exceeds this level and this week should be a 3*. However, it is what it is. Within the limits of the rules for a 2* Oscar created a great class not only in the Grand Prix but also in the Qualifier. Job well done and we will see you again my friend. I would also make mention of the look of the international ring and how the way Oscar and his crew built and decorated the ring. I think the construction of the jumps was the best in a long time and I hope the future classes here and out on the grass can be as creative with the material as we saw tonight. Next week we move up the 3* rating and our course designer will be a past favorite Kelvin Bywater (GBR) and we will again be under the lights on Saturday night and feature the FEI $137,000 Adequan CSI 3* Grand Prix.
I want to go off-topic for a moment and thank The Wanderers Club for hosting the Duke of Wellington member/guest golf tournament this week. Once again it was a 5* 3days of golf and good times. The staff at the club and I mean all the staff made this a really great event. I did not play my best but that is a goal that in golf I have seldom reached. I had a great time and want to thank everyone at The Wanderers Club.
Until next week, I am Dave Ballard.