We have now come to the end of week 10 of the WEF series and we are in the home stretch of the 2017 season. This week we take a breather and the big horses get a week off as we step back to a 3* FEI rated grand prix.
This past week out in the desert in California we had the first $1,000,000 class of the Triple Crown Hits series. This was a national level grand prix and not a FEI rated class. HITS management placed the height of this class at 1.50m. I watched the live stream of this class before beginning this week’s walk because I wanted to have a comparison to tonight’s class if possible. There were a large number of entries because of the reduced height down from the 1.60m level and we saw riders moving up and getting the rush of competing in a major money grand prix. The course designer for the class was Alan Wade (IRE) who has done major good work on the east coast this winter with stops at the Wellington Masters and last week’s 5* at WEF. There was no water and no triple combination but all the other jewels that make up a major grand prix were in the course. I thought there were going to be a couple more clean rounds with the addition of the East coast riders but there were only 5 clean. This was a great number clean when there were many 4 fault rounds. The overall depth of the class was a little thin. There was a great finish to the jump off with truly great finishes for first and second place.
Now we move on to the Saturday night $130,000 Horseware Ireland CSI 3* grand prix here in Wellington. Tonight we have 45 entered and all 45 will compete. The CD for this week was Michel Vaillancourt (CAN) and on his course tonight we have 14 numbered jumps with 17 efforts. The speed as always is 375m and the TA is set at 85 seconds and will not be changed. On the course there will be 1 double combination and 1 triple combination. There will be 2 liverpools (1 oxer and 1 closed Liverpool vertical). The bike is our short pole vertical and there is a triple bar. The water is not in and this is correct. There is no plank jump. The yellow cups are used on every jump and I am pleased that this seems to be the norm in the international ring now. Once again the weather is perfect and our usual good crowd is on hand for the class tonight. The class tonight is at the 3* level and so the fences will be at a lesser height and I am looking for the technical level to be increased. The TA is set at 85 seconds and was extremely fair. There were 3 rounds that went clear but had time faults and should be considered rider errors. The starting field tonight will show many horses moving up because of the 3* rating and the big guns getting a rest before next week’s half million 5*. It is now time for the walk of the $130,000 Horseware Ireland CSI 3* Grand Prix.
#1 oxer 1.45/1.45m or 4.10/4.10ft square and away from the in-gate. This fence saw 1 refusal and 2 poles tumble to the floor.
#2 oxer 1.50/1.60m or 5/5.3ft comes from #1 on the right bend with a distance of 101ft or 30.50m. Different start this year with 2 oxers on a given distance and #2 ended jump off hopes for 4 riders.
#3 vertical 1.53m or 5.1ft on the left bend with a distance of 22m or 72ft and was not faulted tonight.
#4 closed Liverpool vertical 1.55m or 5.1ft comes on a left turn from #3 and here we had 1 refusal and 2 splash downs.
#5a oxer 1.48/1.65m or 4.11/5.4ft comes from #4 in a straight line with a distance of 29m or 96ft and the height was lowered 3 times.
#5b vertical 1.55m or 5.1ft with a distance of 8.10m or 26.6ft from #5a and was pushed from the yellow cups 8 times.
#5c oxer 1.50/1.60m or 5/5.3ft comes on a distance of 7.90m or 26ft from #5b and fell to ground zero 6 times.
#6 vertical 1.60m or 5.3ft comes from #5c across the face of the in-gate on the left rein and tumbled down only 1 time.
#7 vertical 1.55m or 5.1ft comes from #6 on a right rein and directly across the in-gate and was not faulted tonight.
#8 liverpool oxer 1.50/1.65m or 5.5.4ft comes in a straight line across the in-gate with a distance of 23m or 76ft and splashed down 2 times.
#9 vertical 1.60m or 5.3ft comes on a long gallop from #8 on the right rein and touched mother earth 7 times.
#10 oxer 1.50/1.65m or 5/5.4ft comes from #9 on the left dog leg turn no given distance and departed from the yellow cups 5 times.
#11 vertical (bike) comes in a straight line from #10 with a distance of 18m or 59ft and only 1 horse refused to go for a ride.
#12 triple bar comes from #11 on the right rein and coming home from the far end of the ring. The triple bar was lowered only on 2 occasions.
#13a vertical 1.50m or 5ft comes from #12 in a straight line with a distance of 22m or 73ft and crashed down 8 times.
#13b vertical 1.55m or 5.1ft with a distance of 8.20m or 27ft and found the sand 6 times.
#14 oxer 1.55/1.70m or 5.1/5.6ft this is the last fence in the first round and comes from #13b in a straight line on a distance of 27m or 89ft and kissed the dirt 8 times.
The final results for the first round shows that there were 6 clean, 2 with 1 time fault and 1 with 2 time faults. There were 11 rounds of 4 faults, 1 with 7 faults and 8 rounds with 8 faults. There were 3 refusals, 4 vw’s and no falls. The material count gave us 52 poles, 8 planks, 5 fillers that includes the whole bike jump and 2 liverpools.
The 3* grand prix’s this season have been a hard test for the CD. In the third week the GP gave us very good numbers with the clean and the 4 faulters but the use of 3 combinations that included a triple combination would not have been my choice but the results with fresh horses and early in the season contributed to those results. The 3* in the stadium arena was full measure on the height ,width,technical aspects and combined with an unfair time allowed had disappointing results. The class tonight was spot on and was fair in every aspect. The measure that I like to use is that the 4 fault rounds were twice that of the clear rounds. Also half of the class were within 8 faults of the jump off. The calibre of the horse/rider combinations makes for great show jumping. As the standard is very high here in Wellington the standard of course design must be up to the task of providing courses that meet this standard. Over the life of WEF we have seen many of the best course designers in the world and they have provided courses that given us great sport. My thanks to Michel and his crew for this week and we look forward to seeing you next time.
Next week we get the half million with Guilherme Jorge (BRA) at the helm. I will be bringing the walk of the HITS Ocala Million to you as well. Until next week I am Dave Ballard.