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Derby de Riverland keeps success in the family for Nicola Philippaerts

Friday, 26 January 2024
CSI4*/CSI2* Winter Equestrian Festival (W3)

Photo © Sportfot. Nicola Philippaerts & Derby de Riverland presented as winners of the $62,500 Adequan® CSI4* WEF Challenge Cup Round 3 by Chelsea Buttermore, Senior Equine Event Manager. Photo © Sportfot.


Press release from Wellington International



The third week of international competition during the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at Wellington International started off as a winning one for Belgium’s Nicola Philippaerts aboard Derby de Riverland. They topped the $62,500 Adequan® CSI4* WEF Challenge Cup Round 3 in the International Arena to highlight the NetJets sponsored week in Wellington, FL.

Philippaerts, a 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ tap for Belgium, and the 11-year-old Selle Français gelding (Kannan x l’Arc de Triomphe) topped a field of 59 over a Peter Grant (CAN) designed course. Ireland’s Darragh Kenny and 12-year-old Eddy Blue (Eldorado vd Zeshoek x Chacco-Blue) owned by Kerry Anne, LLC, took second while fellow Irishman David O’Brien rounded out the podium on El Balou OLD, a 12-year-old stallion (Eldorado vd Zeshoek x Balou du Rouet) owned by Chansonette Farm and Leap Year Farm. 

From the end of an 11-horse jump-off, Philippaerts bumped Kenny to the runner-up position by four tenths of a second in 39.29 seconds. 

Photo © Sportfot. Darragh Kenny & Eddy Blue. Photo © Sportfot.

“I saw Darragh [go], and he was very quick; he did one to two in nine and then turned very short,” recalled Philippearts, 31. “For me, the turn didn't really work out well but my horse helped me and I could go forward in the nine, which Darragh maybe had to wait for because he had quite a big stride."

“He’s naturally a quick horse and he helped me out today a lot,” continued Philippaerts who will now focus Derby de Riverland on Saturday’s CSI4* grand prix. “One of his best talents is that he's very careful; he really wants to do his best and doesn't want to touch the poles, which is a very big plus.”

Photo © Sportfot. David O’Brien & El Balou OLD. Photo © Sportfot.

Philippaerts took over the reins of Derby de Riverland halfway through 2023 after the mount was piloted by his younger brother Thibault, who produced the horse up the ranks. Together, Derby de Riverland and Thibault won both team gold and individual silver at the 2022 European Championships for Young Riders in Oliva, Spain.

“So far it's been a fantastic horse for me; he had a big week last week,” said Nicola of their second-place finish in the Keyflow Feeds USA CSI3* Grand Prix during WEF 3. “He showed again today and he feels in really good shape and likes Wellington.”

Of the competition he has faced so far this season, Nicola noted, “Always here in Wellington in the qualifiers and grand prixs there are a lot of good riders. For me, it's nice to come over from Europe and compete against the best in America as well as a few Europeans and it's a nice experience to come back here.”

Thursday’s feature competition was a qualifier for the $215,000 NetJets CSI4* Grand Prix taking up the spotlight during ‘Saturday Night Lights’ at Wellington International. 


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