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Ritter reigns in $50,000 BrainJuice CSI2* Grand Prix

Sunday, 26 March 2023
CSI2* Winter Equestrian Festival 2023

Photo © Sportfot Nikko Ritter and Aquiles Del Caribe Z in the $50,000 BrainJuice CSI2* Grand Prix. Photo © Sportfot.


Press release from Wellington International



At the Winter Equestrian Festival, daytime competition on Saturday wrapped up with a successful day for Nikko Ritter (USA) in the $50,000 BrainJuice CSI2* Grand Prix.

A field of forty-five horse and rider combinations contested Petersen Jr.’s original track. As the class came to a close, 11 pairs from six different nations earned jump-off positions with the last to qualify being Sam Walker of Canada. Laying down a faultless and fast finish, Ritter rose to the top of the leaderboard as he produced the fastest time of the five double-clear entries on Aquiles Del Caribe Z.

“Recently there’s just been such an upward trajectory with this horse; I honestly believe she’s the best horse I’ve ever had,” he explained in reference to his nine-year-old Zangersheide mare (Action-Breaker x Gerlinus). “We were second in a three-star in Ocala recently, but this is our first real win. We originally found her while on a trip to Europe. I was there for 13 days and had all but accepted the idea that I wasn’t coming home with a horse and then we found her. I immediately liked her scope and the feeling she gave after the fences.”

Photo © Sportfot Nikko Ritter and Aquiles Del Caribe Z in the $50,000 BrainJuice CSI2* Grand Prix by Lisa Ellis, CEO and CMO and Mark Willis, Owner of BrainJuice. Aquiles Del Caribe Z also received the Champion Equine Insurance Jumper Style Award for WEF 11. Photo © Sportfot.

Ritter travels the country with his boutique training and sales business but calls Wellington home. While his entire team has had a stellar season, he felt the win was in perfect time as he and his mount have been knocking on the door at WEF throughout the season. 

“Anytime we’ve been able to get into a two-star here we’ve had really good results,” he added, explaining that the entry waitlist at this level of competition is steep. “She won her first national grand prix in the fall and did well in a national grand prix here under the lights this season. She’s just been building and looking forward to bigger and better things.”

Young up-and-coming rider Zayna Rizvi produced another top finish for the USA as she piloted Exquise Du Pachis to second-place honors. The rising star gave clear jumping efforts across both phases on the Optimus Agro nv’s 13-year-old Belgian Sport Horse mare (Vagabond De La Pomme x Ogano Sitte) and finished just a second slower than Ritter with a time of 36.54 seconds for the placing. France’s Marie Hecart and S.a.r.I Socrates' 10-year-old Zangersheide mare Cartouche VD Cumel Z (Contadoro van de helle x Orloso vd Cumel) finished third with a time of 37.55 seconds.

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