The seventh week of the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) began on Wednesday, February 21, and opening up competition with a win was Diego Vivero of Ecuador on Bijoux in the $35,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Jumpers CSI 5*. WEF 7 continues through Sunday, February 25 with CSI 5* competition sponsored by Lugano Diamonds and featuring the $384,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* on Saturday, February 24. WEF runs until April 1 and offers more than $9 million in prize money.
There were 67 entries in the final class of the day in the International Arena, and they competed over a course designed by Anthony D’Ambrosio of Red Hook, NY. In the power and speed format, the fastest over the second phase of the course was Vivero on Bijoux, a 12-year-old KWPN mare by Cartani x Athletico owned by Javier Estrada, in 30.35 seconds.
Second place went to Andy Kocher (USA) and Kahlua, owned by Top Line Sporthorse International LLC, who were just behind in 30.74 seconds, while McLain Ward (USA) and Cerise, owned by Sagamore Farms, were third in 30.92 seconds.
Vivero, who moved to Wellington from Ecuador five years ago, works with Mexican sponsor Javier Estrada. He has been riding Bijoux for two years and praised her “very big heart.”
The speed format suits Bijoux well, Vivero said.
“She’s very quick and she doesn’t lose time over the jumps,” he explained. “She’s very flat in the jump and in her canter. She turns very good. We did a very good turn to the liverpool, and I did a good job after the double and had really good time in the last line. I am very competitive, so I like the speed!”
Winning in the five-star week and hearing the national anthem for Ecuador was a special moment for Vivero.
“For me, it’s very important,” he said. “Not only the five star, but to win against all of the very good riders, like McLain (Ward), all the best riders in the world here. For my country, it’s very special because my country is very small in this sport. We don’t have many international riders. I was very, very proud. To see your flag is very nice.”
Earlier in the day, Alexandra Paillot (FRA) and Lumina, owned by Paillot Equine Consulting Inc., were victorious in the $1,000 Bainbridge 1.40m Jumpers CSI 5*, while Captain Caruso, ridden and owned by Cormac Hanley (IRL), won the $1,000 The Dutta Corp. 1.40m Jumpers CSI 2*.
Source: Press Release by Jennifer Wood Media Inc. for ESP / WEF
Photos: © Sportfot