Wellington, Fla. – Jan. 18, 2020 – Saturday Night Lights at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) Week Two welcomed 46 horse-and-rider combinations to challenge the $73,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI2* in the International Ring. Riders who earned a spot in the class qualified in the $37,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round II on Wednesday. The 80-second time allowed for the 13-obstacle course, including two water jumps and a triple bar, proved challenging for many. Several riders managed to complete their round without a rail down, but couldn’t beat the time limit. Ultimately, Mexico’s Santiago Lambre and Cetano Van Aspergem Z proved to be the best contenders of the evening as they concluded the night as the victors and the victory lap leaders.
In the first round of competition, Lillie Keenan (USA) and her ride, Fasther, were the only pair before the first drag break able to accomplish a clean round under the time allowed. They were soon joined by Todd Minikus (USA), McLain Ward (USA), Lambre, Paul O’Shea (IRL) and Eric Lamaze (CAN), each of whom added their names to the short course list aboard their respective mounts in the second half of the first phase of riding. Five other pairs managed to finish designer Oscar Soberon’s (USA) track without dropping any rails, but incurred a single time fault to keep them out of contention.
Out of the 46 total rides, just six horse-and-rider duos advanced to the jump-off. Ward and his mount, Jet Blue, owned by Portfolio Horses LLC, were the first pair to go clean and set the pace at 43.605 seconds. Immediately following, Lambre and his own horse, Cetano Van Aspergem Z, bested Ward with a time of 40.227 seconds to move into the first-place spot. Lamaze and his ride, Idalville D’Esprit, owned by Chris Stinnett, gave a valiant effort to catch Lambre’s time, but ended up finishing second with a time of 40.262 seconds. Both Minikus and Keenan incurred faults, solidifying Lambre the blue ribbon, followed by Lamaze and Ward, respectively.
Lambre had faith in Cetano Van Aspergem Z’s speed for this CSI2* class. “For this level, [Cetano Van Aspergem Z] can go fast,” Lambre mentioned in the post-class press conference. He plans to move up to a CSI4* and CSI5* later in the WEF season to test his horse’s speed in bigger classes. Lambre’s horse is not new to the winner’s circle, having recently won the $25,000 Semican National Grand Prix in late December at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center during the ESP Holiday III show.
For the second consecutive week, Keenan was presented with the Martha Jolicoeur Leading Lady Rider Award for her efforts during WEF Week Two. Keenan and Fasther finished 5th in the $73,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI2* with a time of 40.467 seconds in the jump-off.
Action in the International Ring will continue Sunday, Jan. 19, with the $25,000 Hermes U25 Grand Prix and the $37,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.45m class. WEF Week Three kicks off on Wednesday, Jan. 22.
FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE
Santiago Lambre – $73,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI2* winner
Lambre on his round:
“I was number 4 and I was not too fast in the first round. I tried to not lose my mind. For this level, [Cetano Van Aspergem Z] can go fast.”
Lambre on his plans for the 2020 WEF season:
“I’ll try to move up to 4* in 2 weeks, and then one 5* in week 7, and then I’ll have to see how it goes.”
Lambre on his horses:
“This is the first year that I have five or six horses to compete so I don’t plan to jump them too much, but jump every week. I think I have competitive horses for the next [competitions].
Eric Lamaze – $73,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI2*, Second Place
Lamaze on Idalville D’Esprit:
“For me, it’s a new horse so I learn a little bit every day about him. This was the first time I asked him to go fast, and I was quite happy with the result.”
Lamaze on the course:
“The obstacles were hard to jump; it wasn’t necessarily the height but the way they were built.”
McLain Ward – $73,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI2*, Third Place
McLain on Jet Blue:
“I was thrilled. This is the second event we’ve had Jet Blue at in the last month and he’s been clear in both Grand Prixs. For a horse just turning 9, I’m really impressed by him.”
McLain on the course:
“There were very spooky fences particularly for newer, greener horses, and you were a little rushed. You didn’t get a lot of time to set [the horses] up for them.”
$73,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI2*
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / R1 Faults | Time / R2 Faults | Time
1. Cetano Van Aspergem Z / Santiago Lambre / MEX / 0 | 76.82 / 0 | 40.227
2. Idalville D’esprit / Eric Lamaze / CAN / 0 | 79.45 / 0 | 40.262
3. Jet Blue / McLain Ward / USA / 0 | 77.2 / 0 | 43.605
4. Skara Glen’s Chancelloress / Paul O’Shea / IRE / 0 | 79.8 / 0 | 46.714
5. Fasther / Lillie Keenan / USA / 0 | 76.25 / 4 | 40.467
6. Calvalou / Todd Minikus / USA / 0 | 79.73 / 4 | 41.768
7. Venice Beach / Rodrigo Pessoa / BRA / 1 | 80.55
8. Kasper Van Het Hellehof / Cameron Hanley / IRE / 1 | 80.65
9. Akuna Mattata / Nicole Shahinian-Simpson / USA / 1 | 80.88
10. Makavoy / Ben Asselin / CAN / 1 | 81.27
11. Bold Prinz / Stella Manship / USA / 1 | 83.3
12. Essenar Crixus / Jordan Coyle / IRE / 4 | 76.07