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Jad Dana continues winning streak at Winter Equestrian Festival

Monday, 15 January 2024
CSI3* Winter Equestrian Festival 2024 (W1)

Photo © Sportfot. Jad Dana and After Eight, winners of the $32,000 Hermès CSI3* 1.50m Classic. Photo © Sportfot.


Press release from Wellington International



Jad Dana is on a streak at the 2024 Winter Equestrian Festival, and it’s a hot one. The 29-year-old Lebanese rider piloted After Eight to win the $32,000 Hermès CSI3* 1.50m Classic on Sunday to close out WEF 1 at Wellington International. 

Dana and the 14-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare (Diarado x Cardento) owned by Springhill Farm battled a day of unrelenting rain to rise to the top from a 10-horse jump-off over courses built by Nick Granat (USA).

“I know it’s not common to have wins like this so close together but as long as our horses feel good we will try to keep the streak going,” said Jad Dana, who also jumped to a win in the Prestige Italia Grand Prix during WEF Premiere on ABC Quantum Cruise. “In this sport we win one day and lose the next, but we do our best to keep things as good as they can be.”

Photo © Sportfot. Luiz Francisco de Azevedo and HFG Quaman. Photo © Sportfot.

By more than a full second margin, Dana made quick work of the competition with After Eight’s foot speed and will to win. While After Eight’s spirit in the ring proves to often be unbeatable, Dana admits her work at home is simple at its core.

“For as hot as After Eight is, her training program isn’t too crazy,” admitted Dana.  She’s incredibly talented, you don’t have to produce her jump or teach her that skill, she does it so well on her own. Less is more with her.

“She just has to feel good — you can’t ride the blood out of her because it’s where she gets her jump from,” continued Dana, who trains with U.S. Olympic team gold medalist Leslie Howard.

Photo © Sportfot. Todd Minikus and Kiekeboe Spirit. Photo © Sportfot.

When Howard was sidelined due to hip surgery during the summer of 2021, she offered Dana the ride on After Eight. Soon after, Springhill Farm stepped up to purchase the mare and keep her a part of his string. “I wouldn’t be able to do it without Leslie and all her experience,” said Dana. “She makes everything happen.”

When asked what made After Eight a perfect fit for him, Dana said, “She matches my competitive energy. It’s a nice feeling when a horse wants something as much as you do.”

Luiz Francisco de Azevedo (BRA) put the speed of Brazilian-bred HFG Quaman to the test but it wasn’t enough to catch Dana. They finished the runner-up in 35.65 seconds for owner Santa Cecilia Stables. U.S. rider Todd Minikus finished third by two one-hundredths of a second riding Spirit Group’s Kiekeboe Spirit in a time of 35.67.

The 2024 Hermès 1.50m Championship Jumper Series will take place weekly throughout WEF, culminating during Week 11’s Saturday Night Lights. Riders who consistently compete in the series will accumulate points towards the series’ title, a $10,000 Hermès store credit and a bespoke Hermès horse rug.


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