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Karl Cook and Caracole de La Roque put on the gas to win $62,500 Bainbridge Companies CSI5* 1.50m

Sunday, 31 March 2024
CSI5*/CSI2* Winter Equestrian Festival 2024 (W12)

Photo © Sportfot Karl Cook and Caracole de La Roque, winners of the $62,500 Bainbridge Companies CSI5* 1.50m. Photo © Sportfot.


Edited press release from Wellington International



Five-star action heated up on Friday afternoon during the finale week of the 2024 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Top riders from across the globe sat well-mounted as they geared up for the pinnacle event of the season—the $500,000 CSI5* Rolex Grand Prix—during the last of the ‘Saturday Night Lights’. The American flag flew high at the completion of the day’s $62,500 Bainbridge Companies CSI5* 1.50m as Karl Cook (USA) and Caracole de La Roque led yet another star-studded victory gallop. 

Guilherme Jorge (BRA) brought forward a one-round speed track that 64 elite pairings would contest. Twenty-three completed the course without jumping faults, but Cook and Signe Otsby’s 12-year-old Selle Français mare (Zandor x Kannan*GFE) are known for their fast footwork, and today was no exception. 

“She loves jumping and she really leans into things,” Cook explained. “When you ask her to turn, she’ll throw her body at it instantaneously and when she sees the fence she’s so good with her body and she lands ready to go."

“She’s incredibly smart and focused,” he continued. "She always has her ears forward, trying to figure out the problem in front of her. She knows so much; if I hint that we’re going left, she probably already knew that three strides ago.” 

With Cook being a latecomer to the WEF season, the mare has yet to perform in a five-star at the venue before this week, but the pairs quick time of 61.50 seconds knocked off any remaining dust as they get ready for their busy summer ahead. 

“I had always planned to have Kalinka do the grand prix this week, so it made sense to let Caracole have a little rip today, and she clearly had a good time doing it,” Cook laughed. “We came late to season, so it wasn’t so much about not stepping her up, it was just that this was always the plan as we’ve been working on getting more consistency and rideability in the ring. Not less fast, just more predictable, and today felt smooth so I’m quite happy.”

Jimmy Torano (USA) piloted newer mount Kochio Z, a 10-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Kannan x Diamant de Semilly), into second place just a little over a second off the pace in 62.74 seconds. Great Britain’s Ben Maher put a podium finish on the board for his home country as he rounded out the top three with Jane Forbes Clark’s 13-year-old KWPN mare Ginger-Blue (Plot Blue x Royal Bravour). 


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