World of Showjumping
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Stars align for Gregory Wathelet and Kristalic in $12,000 Horseflight CSI4* 1.45m

Saturday, 16 March 2024
CSI4* Desert International Horse Park 2024

Photo © High Desert Sport Photo Gregory Wathelet and Kristalic. Photo © High Desert Sport Photo.


Press release from Desert International Horse Park



Kristalic, the Morning Star Sporthorses-owned stallion, had yet to compete in FEI action beyond Young Horse levels. The team behind him, with Gregeory Wathelet (BEL) aboard, chose Friday of Desert Circuit 10, presented by La Quinta Resort & Club, to be his first week to give it a shot. The instincts were right, as Wathelet and Kristalic took top honors in the $12,000 Horseflight CSI4* 1.45m Speed, proving the horse is progressing into something very special.

“Of course I’m very happy he has done so well,” Wathelet remarked after the win Friday. “I planned to ride him in the four-star because on the grass he was not so steady. I thought he should try the 1.45m because it would be a little easier, but the horse is really nice. He’s really a fighter in the ring, so careful, he really tries hard all the time, and is very competitive. Today he did what he did every week in the end because he’s been good every time.”

Wathelet came in at the tail end of the class and took over the lead, pushing Ali Ramsay (CAN) into second, where she ended up at the close of competition with Conrado 12, owned by Ramsay Equestrian Inc. Laura Hite (USA) took third with Aviator Z, owned by HF Farms LLC.

Wathelet has taken over the ride of several Morning Star Sporthorses entries, and he’s seen a great deal of success with them. The ultimate test will come Saturday, in the $182,000 La Quinta Resort & Club CSI4* Grand Prix under the lights, the final major event of the season.

Photo © High Desert Sport Photo Gregory Wathelet and Kristalic in their winning presentation. Photo © High Desert Sport Photo.

“We always hope for the best for sure,” Wathelet said heading into Saturday’s feature event. “[Stern Dei Folletti is] a horse that has done really good things during the season; he even surprised me with what he did and what he could do. I just need to manage him because he rushes a bit to the jump. I think the last Grand Prix he didn’t touch any pole so I’ll give my shot tomorrow.”

Recently, Morning Star Sporthorses became the leading owner within the United States Equestrian Federation standings, with points stemming entirely from performances at Desert Circuit so far for the year.

“It’s incredible,” said Karrie Rufer, owner of Morning Star Sporthorses. “I’ve gotten really lucky with my agent, Carl Hanley. He’ll call me and say, ‘I think I found the one.’ They’re not always the obvious ones that people would pick, but he just knows the characters of the horses I love to buy.”

Rufer has had to take a back seat this season, but she’s still thrilled by the performances her horses put in day in and day out. “I’m not the one riding them but it’s been rewarding that the horses that I love and that love me back are also really good horses on their own,” she continued. “Fitting the right horses with the right people, and the whole management side of it is fun. I can always retire from riding and just do this. Choosing who was going to ride each horse was a challenge but it’s been so fun to watch them succeed even without me.”

Show jumping resumes Saturday with the $75,000 Aleron LLC Grand Prix on the grass followed by the $182,000 La Quinta Resort & Club CSI4* Grand Prix under the lights.


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