Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 2, 2017 – Opening day of the 2017 CP Palm Beach Masters, presented by SOVARO®, brought sunshine, blue skies and over 100 of the world's top show jumpers to Deeridge Farms on Thursday. The Jacobs family opened up its private facility for the second time since the inaugural Wellington Masters in 2016 to host one of the final two East Coast qualifying events in the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League. The Hollow Brook Wealth Management Grand Prix Field kicked off on Thursday with the $35,000 CP Welcome Stake CSI3*, which was divided into two sections due to a large number of entries.
Representing France, it was Adam Prudent and Plain Bay Sales' Vasco who walked away with the first FEI win of the week in Section A of the $35,000 CP Welcome Stake CSI3* out of 51 starters.
"This venue is outstanding," said Prudent. "It's such a refreshment to come here and ride on grass and be somewhere other than WEF, although we all love WEF. It's just a great, great feeling being here. The course was great. There were some different options you could do. Most of the riders all did the same, I would say, but we had options and the course was easy enough and showed you around."
The pair took over the winning spot from early leaders Laura Kraut (USA) and St. Bride's Farm's Confu, who were 17th in the order and finished in a time of 63.750 seconds. Prudent bested Kraut's time by one second in 62.990 seconds for the first place prize as 51st in the order of go. Andrew Ramsay (USA) and Stranger 30, owned by The Stranger Group, rounded out the top three of Section A in 63.800 seconds.
"The facility and this venue is unbelievable," said Kraut. "The grass field felt like you could've gone without studs — they didn't slip. When Adam went, you couldn't even see that horses had gone. It's just absolutely perfect so we're very thankful that they've put this event on and we're happy to be here. The course was a nice welcome track. For our horses, it was really unique for them with different jumps. They kind of get bored and used to the same old thing every week so it was, for some horses, a little eye-opening. But for the three of us, it worked out fine!
"It's pretty inevitable when you go so early in a class like that that somebody's going to get you," continued Kraut. "I know Adam would have the skills and fortitude to go in there and give it a go so it wasn't surprising that he was the one who beat me, but I'm happy with second today. [Confu] hasn't jumped since the beginning of November so it was his first class back and I was very pleased with him."
"The whole ambiance is really nice and the setup here is great," said Ramsay. "It's wonderful to be out at another show. It's my first year here and hopefully not my last. The course was a great welcome course. It had some questions but most of the riders took it as kind of a nice, tidy school to get the horses in the ring. It's a nice setup for the rest of the week. Hopefully we'll continue on like this, but we'll see how it goes! We'll be aiming for a nice round tomorrow to make it in to the grand prix on Sunday. I'd love to repeat this tomorrow, especially on Sunday."
In Section B of the $35,000 CP Welcome Stake CSI3*, Ireland's Daniel Coyle took the top two spots with Simba De La Roque, owned by Susan Grange, and Cita, owned by Susan and Ariel Grange. Coyle was second in the order of go to tackle the Alan Wade and Nigel Jess-designed course with Simba De La Roque, taking the early lead in 57.130 seconds. Coyle returned 28 rounds later and rode Cita to a time of 59.800 seconds to also grab second place honors.
"[Simba De La Roque] was only jumping the Welcome this weekend so my plan the whole time was to try to win this class on him," said Coyle. "Unfortunately, I was second to go, so it made it a little bit harder. I just had a plan from the start, and I stuck to it. Both he and Cita were great today so I'm very happy.
"I started to ride these horses in December," continued Coyle. "I have incredible owners and incredible support from Sue and Ariel Grange, my grooms, people at home — it's been an incredible year for me. It's kind of unbelievable for me to take it all in. It'll be probably tomorrowmorning before it sinks in that today was a good day. [Success] is short lived in show jumping; you have to plan for tomorrow."
Yuri Mansur (BRA) and his own Sire One followed Coyle in the rankings for third place in 61.880 seconds.
"Sire One has never jumped in the grass arena so once fences one and two felt OK, I started to get faster and faster," said Mansur. "Sire One is a horse that I haven't been riding for very long. He always did well indoors, but I was not really confident about how he would jump outside until today. He has all the scope and a really, really nice mind. He's so easy to ride."
In the Deeridge Jumper Ring, Luis Larrazabal and Quintus Fabius, owned by Guillermo Pacanin, and Coyle and Farona, owned by Susan and Ariel Grange, shared the top spot in a California Split in the $7,500 Trelawny Farm 1.30m Jumpers, while Ariel Bluman rode Corona 120, owned by R.J. Equestrian Group, to victory in the $2,500 Taylor Harris Insurance Services 1.20m Jumpers.
The 2017 CP Palm Beach Masters will kick-off on Friday at 8 a.m. in the Deeridge Jumper Ring with the $15,000 1.35m Jumpers followed by the 1.10m and 1.20m Jumpers. The Hollow Brook Wealth Management Grand Prix Field will begin promptly at 12:30 p.m. with the $35,000 SOVARO® Longines FEI World Cup™ Qualifer CSI3*-W, where the top 40 riders will qualify to advance to Sunday's main event: the $216,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Wellington CSI3*-W, presented by SOVARO®.
In addition, the Kiki Ulma Reception will be held immediately following Friday's qualifier in the Taylor Harris Club.