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Bond continues tbird winning streak in $15,000 Maui Jim Winning Round CSI4*-W

Sunday, 25 August 2019
CSI4*-W Thunderbird Show Park 2019

Photo © Kady Dane/tbird Ashlee Bond (ISR) & Belo Horizonte win the $15,000 Maui Jim Winning Round CSI4*-W at the Summer Fort Festival. Photo © Kady Dane/tbird.

 

Press release from Thunderbird Show Park

 


 

Ashlee Bond (ISR) won her fourth international class in two weeks Saturday at Thunderbird Show Park, racing to the top of the $15,000 Maui Jim Winning Round 1.45m CSI4*-W.

She claimed the top prize aboard Little Valley Farms’ Belo Horizonte, who also jumped Bond to victory in the CSI3* tbird Challenge and the CSI3* Kubota Canada Winning Round 1.45m at last week’s Summer Fort Classic. The Maui Jim Winning Round was the day’s feature at the CSI4*-W Summer Fort Festival, featuring the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Vancouver, presented by Celebrity Cruises—the first leg of the 2019/2020 North American League season.

“It’s really been an amazing journey with him, so it’s cool to have this happening now,” Bond said. 

The two-round competition saw 44 combinations take on Peter Holmes’ (CAN) 1.45m course, with the top 11—25 percent of the class—advancing to a second round over a shortened course in reverse order of merit. Last to go after putting forth a leading first round time of 66.90 seconds, Bond continued piling on the speed, crossing the second-round timers in 36.82 seconds. Rowan Willis (AUS), who squeaked into the second round as the fastest 4-faulter with Everse W, put forth a sharp second-round clear in 37.86 seconds to finish second, while Daniel Coyle (IRL) and Legacy finished third. Their second-round time was 38.31 seconds.

“[In the jump-off], my goal is to pick up my rhythm from the first jump and try not to change that rhythm through the whole course and just work from that really good gallop,” Bond said. “With him it works so nicely, because he’s just so quick, and he loves that gallop and I don’t have to worry about the rails, which is a really nice feeling.” 

Photo © Kady Dane/tbird. Ashlee Bond & Belo Horizonte. Photo © Kady Dane/tbird.

Bond partnered with the 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding in the spring of 2018, but the pair didn’t immediately gel.

“It’s been a rocky road,” Bond explained. “[Germany's] Philipp Weishaupt was riding him, and he’s a very different rider than I am. Then I got him, and [Belo Horizonte] was not used to my ride. He was so, so careful and a bit greener than we had thought. I felt like I couldn’t get him to where Philipp was already at, so I sent him back to Philipp, and he did some amazing things with him."

Bond and "Belo" reunited this summer in Europe. Since returning to North America, the pair has simply been on fire.

“We just found this really good rhythm and have finally come together as team. I think having to go back and get more experience, now coming back to me has made all the difference,” she said.

Bond, whose fourth win of the past two weeks came aboard Donatello 141 in the Summer Fort Classic’s CSI3* Steel Craft Doors Cup, plans to ride that mount in Sunday’s Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Vancouver, presented by Celebrity Cruises—it will be the 8-year-old gelding’s World Cup debut. Donatello was also the runner-up in Friday’s $75,000 Volvo Cup CSI4*-W.

“Honestly, I was so elated with [Donatello’s] round [yesterday], the award was a bonus—it didn’t matter, first, second, third,” Bond said. “I was just so proud of how far we’ve come as a team, and my speed round felt like one of the best that we’ve ever had.”

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