The main feature of the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) on Saturday, March 23, was the $209,000 Wellington Agricultural Services Grand Prix CSI 4*, held on the grass derby field at Equestrian Village at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. Emil Hallundbaek (DEN) and Chalisco raced to victory in the field full of top competitors.
There were 45 entries that went to post in the $209,000 Wellington Agricultural Services Grand Prix CSI 4*, and five of those recorded a clear round and advanced to the jump-off.
First to return was Lorcan Gallagher (IRL) riding Dacantos Group’s Hunters Conlypso II. He and the 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Contendro I x Calypso II had a rail at ‘a’ element of the “bogey” double combination for four faults in 45.35 seconds to finish in fifth place.
Hallundbaek and Chalisco were next in, and they galloped around the field and cleared every jump presented to them, crossing the timers clear in 42.37 seconds.
“It started off from one end of the arena to the other, so of course you got a lot of speed at the beginning. I have a very careful horse and for me I used the fence to push him up there,” said Hallundbaek of his jump-off ride and the double combination. “It was a tight turn back. He cleared it super, but it was a difficult combination.”
They were followed by world number three Harrie Smolders (NED), who piloted Evergate Stables LLC’s Une de L’Othain. They had a rail at the double combination as well, giving them four faults in 41.02 seconds for third place.
“I think that the course was not huge, but it was the first class on the grass in the ring,” Smolders explained, since Thursday’s qualifier was moved to the sand ring due to rain. “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, the course was not huge but I think it was a very good build. There was a little time pressure, maybe a few too many in the triple [combination, but I think the course designer did a very good job. He probably would have liked a few more in the jump-off, but sometimes it goes that way.”
Smolders has ridden Une de l’Othain for six months, but said, “I think she felt a bit behind in mileage. We brought her here and I put her in the few weeks I was here in quite a few classes. She still needs to understand the game a little better in the jump-off, but she’s a horse with all the capability. She’s careful, she’s scopey. We’re getting close.”
Taking note of the double combination, Rodrigo Lambre (BRA) piloted Chacciama carefully through the turn and was able to stay clear in a slightly slower time of 42.75 seconds for second place.
“I think I was lucky to go after [Harrie] so I saw that they were having that rail, and I lost a little bit more time to do it better, of course maybe there I lost the class,” said Lambre. “[I] always have to think in the jump-off, since she’s really hot and sensitive. So I was not looking too much at the others and trying to do my job with her.”
Lambre has ridden the 12-year-old Oldenburg mare by Chacco Blue x Andiamo Z for two years.
“She’s a very sensitive mare,” he said. “It took me awhile to connect with her. I think I finally understood her, since then I’ve been very happy. She always tries really hard.”
The final combination into the ring were Jessica Springsteen (USA) and Fleur de L’Aube, Stone Hill Farm’s 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare by Thunder van de Zuuthoev x Orchidee vh Pallieterland. They too had a rail at the double combination to finish in 41.97 seconds for fourth place.
“We have had many years of partnership,” said Hallundbaek of the 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Chacco-Blue x Quidam de Revel he found through Paul Schockemöhle. “He’s always jumped very good, but is a little bit of a hot horse. It took a few years to get the rideability perfect and everything. And now today he’s so consistent in every class.”
Hallundbaek, who is just 21 years old and now based in Aachen, Germany, has won 14 CSI 2* and 3* classes, but this is his first four-star win. Setting that victory in the grand prix made it that much more special with Chalisco, who has been in his family for six years. It is their first grand prix win together at any level. “This is a peak in my career,” he said.
Hallundbaek will take that consistency and apply it next week towards the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5*.
Jose Gomez, owner and CEO of Wellington Agricultural Services, said, “Wellington Agricultural Services is one of the largest agricultural services provider in the Palm Beach area. We basically do the manure removal services for all of the farms out here in Wellington and including the horse show itself. We’ve been around for over 30 years, and our main focus is the environment. Our drive is to one day take 100% of all the waste from Wellington and the Palm Beach area and convert it into bio-fuels and anything energy efficient for our community as well.
“Regarding our event today as a sponsor, it could not turn out any more beautiful than this day that we have out in the green field,” he added. “It goes with our initiative, our brand, so I’m very excited to be a sponsor. I look forward to many more years of doing the sponsorship at the derby field.”
$209,000 Wellington Agricultural Services Grand Prix CSI 4*
1 CHALISCO: 2007 Oldenburg gelding by Chacco-Blue x Quidam de Revel
EMIL HALLUNDBAEK (DEN), Emil Hallundbaek: 0/0/42.37
2 CHACCIAMA: 2007 Oldenburg mare by Chacco-Blue x Andiamo Z
RODRIGO LAMBRE (BRA), Rodrigo Lambre: 0/0/42.75
3 UNE DE L’OTHAIN: 2008 Selle Français by Conterno Grande x Cento
HARRIE SMOLDERS (NED), Evergate Stables LLC: 0/4/41.02
4 FLEUR DE L’AUBE: 2005 Belgian Warmblood mare by Thunder van de Zuuthoev x Orchidee vh Pallieterland
JESSICA SPRINGSTEEN (USA), Stone Hill Farm: 0/4/41.97
5 HUNTERS CONLYPSO II: 2008 Hanoverian gelding by Contendro I x Calypso II
LORCAN GALLAGHER (IRL), Dacantos Group: 0/4/45.35
6 PUMPED UP KICKS: 2003 Brandenburg gelding by Levisto x San Juan
JENNIFER GATES (USA), Evergate Stables LLC: 1/90.64
7 SIMBA: 2006 Oldenburg gelding by Toulon x Argentinus
BEAT MÄNDLI (SUI), Grant Road Partners LLC: 4/83.38
8 LUIBANTA BH: 2008 Irish Sport Horse mare by Luidam x Abantos AMANDA DERBYSHIRE (GBR), Gochman Sport Horses: 4/84.43
9 TRADITION DE LA ROQUE: 2007 Selle Français mare by Kannan x Oberon du Moulin
MCLAIN WARD (USA), Kessler Show Stables Europe B.V.: 4/84.65
10 DIAMONTE DARCO: 2005 GBSH mare by Unbelievable Darco x Unknown
LUCAS PORTER (USA), Sleepy P Ranch LLC: 4/84.88
11 ICEMAN DE MUZE: 2008 BWP stallion by Erco van’t Roosakker x For Pleasure
SCHUYLER RILEY (USA), E2 Show Jumpers: 4/86.03
12 ALEJANDRO: 2009 Rheinländer gelding by Acorado’s Ass x Contanga
SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Seabrook, SpyCoast Farm and Sweet Oak Farm: 4/86.23