Wellington, Florida, USA – April 01, 2022 – The third day of international competition on Friday, April 1, during the final Rolex-sponsored week of the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), began with the running of the $37,000 CabanaCoast CSI 2*. Jorge’s course for the 1.45m Qualifier CSI 2* left only 13 of the original 76 entries eligible for the class’s short course. The tight time allowed of 71 seconds played a factor for 10 riders, while five more fell victim to a downed rail. Riders from the U.S., Germany, Canada, Ireland, and Great Britain made up the jump-off.
Trailblazer Lacey Gilbertson (USA) was the front runner as the final adjustments were made and set the time to beat with a blazing fast double-clear performance of 38.58 seconds. Samuel Hutton (GBR) immediately followed with another clear round but settled into the temporary second place with a slightly slower time. The remainder of the competitors gave it their best shot with all but five going fault-free but Gilbertson and Seabrook LLC’s 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare Karlin Van’t Vennehof (Fantomas De Muze x Quasimodo Van De Molendreef) held tight to the top position throughout the entirety of the second round.
“I went early so I wasn’t able to watch any go in either the first or the second round,” explained Gilbertson. “We were planning to just have a good ride in preparation for Sunday since it was our first time on the grass. I was very tight from fence one to two, and then just kept flowing after that so everything came up the way I wanted it to. If I just stay out of her way, she gets the job done, and she is very quick across the ground.”
The partnership is new for Gilbertson who has only had the mare for several months, but she is excited for their future.
“This mare was previously a ride for Shane Sweetnam, and I just acquired her for myself at the beginning of the WEF season,” she detailed. “We owned half of her when Shane was riding her, and she was my type, so it worked out well. I am smaller and not that strong, so I think I get along with the mares I’ve had because I don’t overpower them. She makes my life easy.”
Ireland’s Tom Wachman shot into the victory gallop with HH Fireball as the pair flew to a fast second place. He and Coolmore Show Jumping’s 12-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Number One D’Isp x Toulon) landed roughly half a second behind Gilbertson for the honors.
Samuel Hutton (GBR) slipped into the third-place position as his time of 39.67 seconds with Abdel Saïd’s 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding H&M Kirlo van den Bosrand (Cardento 933 x Utrillo VD Heffinck) fell just below Wachman’s time of 39.10 seconds.
Final Results – $37,000 CabanaCoast CSI 2*
1) Lacey Gilbertson (USA) & Karlin van’t Vennehof – 0 / 0 – 38.58
2) Tom Wachman (IRL) & HH Fireball – 0 / 0 – 39.1
3) Samuel Hutton (GBR) & H&M Kirlo van den Bosrand – 0 / 0 – 39.67
Source: Press Release by Summer Grace and Sabrina Schmidt / Jennifer Wood Media Inc. for ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions / WEF – Winter Equestrian Festival
Photos: © Sportfot