Wellington, Florida, USA – March 17, 2022 – On Thursday, March 17, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), international competition continued during the week 10 of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), sponsored by Horseware Ireland. WEF 10 boasts the fourth of five weeks of FEI four-star level sport. WEF offers 13 weeks of top international jumper competition as well as various nationally-rated hunter, jumper, and equitation divisions. Nick Dello Joio (USA) snagged the victory in the day’s featured event, the $75,000 Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup Round X CSI4*, beating out seven other top pairings for the win aboard Cornet’s Cambridge.
A large field of 70 horse-and-rider combinations contested Michel Vaillancourt’s (CAN) first-round challenge with hopes of adding their names to the list compiled for the jump-off track. Darragh Kenny (IRL) proved the luck of the Irish was alive and well on this Saint Patrick’s Day as he and Volnay du Boisdeville produced the first clear effort. Seventeen different nations vied for the top spot but the final battle came down to three Irishmen, three Americans, Beat Mändli (SUI) as the lone representative for Switzerland, and Ben Maher (GBR) as the solo contender for Great Britain.
Nick Dello Joio was one of three U.S. riders to return for the short track but his expert navigation over the course with The Berry Group LLC’s 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding Cornet’s Cambridge (Balou du Reventon x Cambridge 8) proved to be enough to hold on to the lead. The duo laid down a fast and flawless performance, clocking in at 37.87 seconds which put them two seconds ahead of the closest challenger.
“He is not the type of horse that would ever catch your eye in a smaller class, but he is extremely intelligent and he knows when to kick it in to gear,” explained Dello Joio. “He’s naturally very careful so he makes it easy to get ahead of yourself. I have taken it slow with him since coming to Florida and wanted to build him up.
“Today’s course was difficult and a lot of the growing pains I have had with this horse have come from trying to do too much,” he continued. “He is so brave and careful that he really prefers it when the rider stays out of his way and doesn’t try to help him. I decided to just let him jump around how he was most comfortable today and clearly it paid off.”
The pairing was not originally in the cards for Dello Joio, but he happened across the gelding while trying other horses to purchase and pursued him, despite the fact that he was not currently listed for sale.
“I was trying horses in Switzerland and, when I was trying a different horse, saw him in the barn,” added . “I was told he wasn’t for sale, but I asked for a price anyway, and after several days of communicating I was able to try him. I took him off property when I went to try him the second time, and he just came alive. Between that experience, and his show record, I was sold. I had a good feeling about him, and he was probably one of the best decisions I’ve made.”
While not at the top of the podium, Ireland still had a strong performance with Mark McAuley (IRL) and Jasco VD Bisschop taking second place, while Jordan Coyle rode to third aboard Centriko Volo. McAuley chased Dello Joio’s time with SNC McAuley Equestrian’s 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Dulf Van Den Bisschop x Verania) and produced the only other double-clear effort, but was not quite quick enough across the ground after landing with a time of 39.61 seconds.
Jordan Coyle (IRL) then put forth the fastest four-fault score with a time of 36.56 seconds on Celtic Park LLC’s 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Centadel x Chacco-Blue).
Final Results – $75,000 Adequan WEF CSI 4*
1) Nicholas Dello Joio (USA) & Cornet’s Cambridge – 0 / 0 – 37.87
2) Mark Mcauley (IRL) & Jasco Vd Bisschop – 0 / 0 – 39.61
3) Jordan Coyle (IRL) & Centriko Volo – 0 / 0 – 36.56
Source: Press Release from Jennifer Wood Media Inc. for ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions / WEF – Winter Equestrian Festival
Photos: © Sportfot