Wellington, Fla. – March 23, 2019 – A starting field of 45 riders came together at the Stadium Derby Field on Saturday morning to vie for the winning title in the $209,000 Wellington Agricultural Services Grand Prix CSI4* during the second-to-last week of the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) circuit. Ultimately, it was 21-year-old Emil Hallundbaek of Denmark who captured the winning honors aboard his own Chalisco, a 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Chacco Blue, ahead of a small jump-off field.
As the tenth in the order, Ireland’s Lorcan Gallagher launched himself to the top of the leaderboard with Dacantos Group’s 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding Hunters Conlypso II after producing the first clear round of the class. Built by German course designer Olaf Petersen, Jr., the course featured a winding group of 13 fences set at 1.60m in height with a time-allowed of 89 seconds. The second penalty-free pair, Hallundbaek and Chalisco added themselves to the jump-off roster shortly after Gallagher’s fault-free round.
At the halfway mark of the class, Gallagher and Hallundbaek were still the only two riders headed into the jump-off. The second half of the class would ultimately not see many more clear rides, with only Harrie Smolders of the Netherlands, Rodrigo Lambre of Brazil and the United States’ Jessica Springsteen carving themselves spots in the returning pack aboard their respective mounts.
The abridged jump-off challenged riders with an 8-fence track and a time-allowed of 55 seconds. A variety of countries were represented in the jump-off, as each qualified duo represented a unique nation. First to try his hand at the short course was Gallagher, who completed his round in 45.354 seconds but had an unfortunate rail down. Hallundbaek returned to tackle the short course next, and was able to produce another clear round in a speedy 42.379 seconds, setting the bar high for the remaining three riders. Smolders attempted to catch Hallundbaek’s time with his mount, Une De L’Othain, next, but the pair fell short with single rail down in the final double combination to finish through the timers in 41.023 seconds.
Lambre and the 12-year-old Oldenburg mare, Chacciama, were the second pair to go double-clear, but they galloped through the timers in 42.758 seconds to settle for second place honors behind Hallundbeak and Chalisco. As the final rider on course, Springsteen and her Belgian Warmblood mare Fleur De L’Aube contributed to the downed rails in the double combination, ultimately completing their jump-off course in 41.974 seconds to finish in fourth place.
Hallundbaek’s win was particularly special as he has had the ride on Chalisco for the past six years and Saturday’s victory was a career highlight. This season marked Hallundbaek’s first time competing in the United States, and while competing at WEF this winter the pair has come close to victory on a number of occasions, but Saturday signified their first triumph. During WEF Week Seven, Hallundbaek and Chalisco finished in fourth place in the $391,000 Palm Beach Equine Clinic Grand Prix CSI5*. Hallundbaek was also a member of the Berlin Eagles team from the Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) in 2018.
Jumper competition will continue at WEF on Saturday evening with the $134,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Classic, which will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the International Arena. Highlight events for Sunday include the $10,000 SJHOF High Junior Jumper Classic, set to kick off at 8 a.m. in the International Arena.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Emil Hallundbaek – $209,000 Wellington Agricultural Services CSI4* Grand Prix winner
On his win with Chalisco:
“Chalisco we have had for many years in the family. We have had him since he was 6 years old and now he is 12 years old. We have had many years of partnership, and I have seen him the whole way. This is the first time for both of us to win a grand prix like this today, so it is a peak in our career. It feels unbelieveable.”
On the jump-off:
“It started off from one end of the arena to the other end, so of course you had a lot of speed at the beginning but then a tight turn back. You had to go fast but also slow [enough]. I have a very careful horse, so for me I used the fence to push him up there a little bit, and he cleared [the double combination] super. It was a difficult combination.”
On his journey with Chalisco:
“He has always jumped very good, but was a little bit of a hot horse and a fighter, so it took a few years to get the rideability perfect. Now, today he is so consistent. This is my first time in America, so everything is new. Next, he will do the 5* grand prix next weekend at WEF, and we will go home to our new home base in Aachen after.”
Rodrigo Lambre – second place
“I have had her since she was 10 years old and now she is 12 years old, so 2 years. She is a very sensitive mare, so it took me a while to connect with her. I think I finally understand her and since then I am always happy because she always tries really hard.”
On the jump-off:
“I always have to think in terms of my own jump-off because Chacciama is really hot and really sensitive, so I was not looking too much at the others. I was just trying to do my job with her. I think I was lucky to go after [Harrie Smolders] so I saw that they were having that rail [down,] so I lost a little bit more time to try to do it better, but there also I might have lost the class.”
Harrie Smolders – third place
On Une De L’Othain:
“We bought this horse about six months ago, but it felt a little bit behind in mileage. She still needs to understand the game a little bit better in the jump-off, but she is a horse with all the abilities – she is careful and she is scopey. We are getting closer and closer. It was the first class on the grass for us and my horse has never competed in this ring so I didn’t know what to expect today, but she really did a very good job. [In the jump-off,] in the tight turn back, her eye was a little bit late on the fence. She is a little bit surprised if she comes through the turn and doesn’t have enough time.”
On the course:
“The course was not huge, but was very well built with a bit of time pressure. Faults were a little everywhere, maybe a few too many in the triple combination. I think the course designer did a very good job. Probably would have liked a few more in the jump-off, but sometimes it goes that way.”
$209,000 Wellington Agricultural Services CSI4* Grand Prix
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Owner / R1 Faults / R2 Faults / Time
1. Chalisco / Emil Hallundbaek / DEN / Emil Hallundbaek / 0 / 0 / 42.379
2. Chacciama / Rodrigo Lambre / BRA / Rodrigo Lambre / 0 / 0 / 42.758
3. Une De L’Othain / Harrie Smolders / NED / Evergate Stable LLC / 0 / 4 / 41.023
4. Fleur De L’Aube / Jessica Springsteen / USA / Stone Hill Farm / 0 / 4 / 41.974
5. Hunters Conlypso II / Lorcan Gallagher / IRL / Dacantos Group / 0 / 4 / 45.354
6. Pumped Up Kicks / Jennifer Gates / USA / Evergate Stable LLC / 1 / 90.64
7. Simba / Beat Mandli / SUI / Grant Road Partners LLC / 4 / 83.38
8. Luibanta BH / Amanda Derbyshire / GBR / Gochman Sport Horses LLC / 4 / 84.43
9. Tradition De La Roque / McLain Ward / USA / Kessler Show Stables Europe BV / 4 / 84.65
10. Diamonte Darco / Lucas Porter / USA / Sleepy P Ranch LLC / 4 / 84.88
11. Iceman De Muze / Schuyler Riley / USA / E2 Show Jumpers / 4 / 86.03
12. Alejandro / Shane Sweetnam / IRL / Sweet Oak Farm, Spy Coast Farm, Seabrook LLC / 4 / 86.23