Saturday night's $300,000 FEI World Cup™ Grand Prix CSI 5*, presented by The Bainbridge Companies, was an incredible display of world-class talent as Germany's Daniel Deusser, Brazil's Alvaro de Miranda and Great Britain's Ben Maher and Nick Skelton topped an all-star cast during the highlight event for week nine of the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF).
Forty-five entries showed in the prestigious World Cup qualifier jumping a course set by Steve Stephens of Palmetto, FL. Representatives from 14 different countries competed, including an impressive 20 riders that have appeared in Olympic Games for their home nations. In a thrilling race against the clock, eight of the world's best made it to the jump-off and four jumped double clear.
Ben Maher and Jane Clark's Cella were the first pair to clear the jump-off course and set the leading time at a lightning fast 40.12 seconds. Nick Skelton was up next with his great mount Big Star, owned by Beverly Widdowson. They cleared the course in 41.01 seconds. Alvaro de Miranda and AD Rahmannshof's Bogeno, owned by Miranda and Victory Equestrian BV, went next and stopped the clock in 40.46 seconds. Their round was followed by a stellar performance from Daniel Deusser and Cornet d'Amour, owned by Stephex Stables and Pedro Veniss. They flew through the course in 38.94 seconds to earn top prize. Maher and Cella finished second, de Miranda and AD Rahmannshof's Bogeno were third, and Skelton and Big Star placed fourth.
Daniel Deusser has ridden Cornet d'Amour, a ten-year-old Westphalian gelding by Cornet Obolensky x Damiani, for ten months since he began riding for Stephex Stables in Belgium last May. After a couple of months off and a 1.40m class at a national show in Germany, the pair traveled to Wellington this winter and jumped right in with week eight's Nations Cup.
"I was doubting that it was maybe a little too quick to start with the Nations Cup last week, but he came in that ring and he felt fantastic," Deusser stated. "He jumped double clear in the Nations Cup and was third in the class Thursday and he wins now, so I think he did a really good job."
Commenting on the class, Deusser noted, "The beginning of the class we didn't have too many clear rounds, but at the end we had very good riders and very good horses. The quality of the horses and riders in the jump-off was really good and they started very fast. For me there was no choice, I had to try it and we were a little bit lucky and it worked out today."
"I saw that the jump-off was really fast," Deusser detailed. "I saw Nick just before I went in and he did eight strides to the last fence. I thought that it was really long, but at the beginning I already had a really good turn from one to two and really kept the triple bar on the inside. Then also to the double vertical I had a really good turn. I had already a really long distance to the second to last fence and I thought 'Okay, I'm going to do the eight.' It was risky and my horse helped me a lot; I think that was the reason I was actually faster."
The packed house of over 6,000 spectators at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) went wild when Deusser galloped through the timers, but he was very focused. "When I went to the last fence I was actually a little bit scared that I couldn't make it, so I didn't actually listen to the crowd, but it was a nice feeling afterwards," Deusser laughed. "It's one of the best competitions I've won so far. It was very good money and in the moment, it is one of my best results." Along with prize money, Deusser was also awarded the Herman 'Kappy' Kaplan Perpetual Memorial Trophy, established for Kappy with fondness by the Farriers of the 1995 WEF.
Finishing second, Ben Maher did everything he could in his round and was pleased with the results. He spoke about the quality of the class and the excitement of the competition. "Every week the jump-offs get faster and faster," Maher noted. "It looked for a long time like there wouldn't be many clear rounds tonight and then there were a lot at the end of the class. I think probably some of the fastest horses there are anywhere right now are all here in the same jump-off. For me, I was third in the jump-off, so I had to do everything possible to make the others chase us, which is what we did. We held on for as long as we could and in the end one managed to catch us. All the horses jumped great and it was an exciting round."
"The jump-off was not too many options, again. It always tends to be a little like that in Florida," Maher remarked. "There's a lot of galloping. I don't know where I could have gone any faster unless I left a jump out. Daniel was amazing. He was in a great position and he had nothing to lose. There were three or four of us all within the same second, so if he didn't do what he did, he was only going to be fifth anyway. Congratulations to him, he pulled off an amazing jump-off tonight."
Alvaro de Miranda had his best result of the circuit this evening and was happy with his horse as well. "I was very happy to be in the jump-off," he acknowledged. "We have been trying every week and I've had one down and down and down and finally today I was really happy because I think I had a good round and my horse was jumping super. We had the fastest horses in the jump-off and when I came out and I saw that I was quicker than Big Star but slower than Ben, I was happy."
Final Results: $300,000 FEI World Cup™ Grand Prix CSI 5* Presented by The Bainbridge Companies
1. CORNET D'AMOUR: 2003 Westphalian gelding by Cornet Obolensky x Damiani DANIEL DEUSSER (GER), Stephex Stables & Pedro Veniss: 0/0/38.94
2. CELLA: 2002 BWP mare by Cento x Chin Chin BEN MAHER (GBR) Jane F. Clark: 0/0/40.12
3. AD RAHMANNSHOF'S BOGENO: 2000 Belgian Sport Horse gelding by Baloubet du Rouet x Elanville ALVARO DE MIRANDA (BRA), Alvaro De Miranda & Victory Equestrian Sport BV: 0/0/40.46
4. BIG STAR: 2003 KWPN stallion by Quick Star x Nimmerdor NICK SKELTON (GBR), Beverly Widdowson: 0/0/41.01
5. UCEKO: 2001 KWPN gelding by Celano x Koriander KENT FARRINGTON (USA), RCG Farm: 0/4/41.88
6. CYLANA: 2002 Belgian Warmblood mare by Skippy II x Darco REED KESSLER (USA), Reed Kessler: 0/4/41.90
7. CELLAGON LAMBRASCO: 1998 Holsteiner gelding by Libero x Coriolan JANNE FRIEDERIKE MEYER (GER), Meyer, Friedrich & Anna Sophie:0/4/43.06
8. QUALITY GIRL: 2003 Oldenburg mare by Quidam's Rubin x Dobrock TODD MINIKUS (USA), Todd Minikus, Ltd:0/8/46.05
9. KISMET 50: 2001 BWP mare by Kannan x Furioso II CANDICE KING (USA), Bellissimo, LLC: 1/86.36
10. NICE DE PRISSEY: 2001 Selle Francais stallion by Rosire x Amarpour BRIANNE GOUTAL (USA), Remarkable Farms LP: 4/80.35
11. LANSDOWNE: 2003 KWPN stallion by Guidam x Wolfgang CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Ariel & Susan Grange: 4/81.94
12. SIMON: 1999 KWPN gelding by Mr. Blue x Polydox BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Abigail Wexner: 4/82.61
Source: press release from Jennifer Wood Media Inc.
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