Wellington, Florida, USA – January 24, 2021 – The U25 riders took to the Derby Field at Equestrian Village on Sunday afternoon to contest the first $25,000 Hermès U25 Grand Prix, and the class of 55 welcomed 10 back for the jump-off on the Oscar Soberon-designed course.
Notching their second U25 victory of the week, Ashley Vogel (USA) and her 2009 Zangersheide mare Bellissimo Z (Bamako de Muze x C’est Elle Z) flew through the jump-off timers in 39.10 seconds, solidifying the blue ribbon during their first week ever competing on the Derby Field.
Trailing just behind the duo was Lucy Deslauriers (USA) aboard the Luja LLC’s 2011 Selle Francais gelding Billy de Beaufor (Allegreto x HH Rosine De Beaufor), finishing with 39.43 seconds on the clock.
Third place was claimed by Tanner Korotkin (USA) and Deauville S, a 2006 Holsteiner gelding (Diamante de Semilly x Touch of Class) owned by Castlewood Farm Inc., who concluded their jump-off in 40.56 seconds.
“Bellissimo Z was jumping incredibly today,” Vogel began, “just like yesterday. Yesterday was a good warmup for her. I wasn’t expecting a win to happen twice, but she’s amazing and I’m really lucky to have her! I haven’t really jumped FEI before ‘Bell,’ so getting in the ring with her, it’s just a great confidence builder. She knows what she’s doing, and that really helps going into a jump-off with a lot of fast horses. In the jump-off, she’s naturally quick on her feet, so I hunted a little bit and had a lot of confidence in her so I know that she will leave the ground even if there are small gaps. She jumped great.”
It was also the pair’s first week ever jumping on the grass field together, and Vogel enjoyed the experience overall. “I think it’s cool getting a chance to jump on the grass,” said Vogel. “It’s different and new, and it’s my first time jumping out here, so I have really enjoyed it. Clearly my horse has too!”
While Saturday’s welcome class didn’t go the way Deslauriers planned, she used it as a learning experience and rode through Sunday’s course with a solid game-plan. “He was great today,” stated Deslauriers. “We’ve been building up to the FEI level and doing some ranking classes, and we will try to be competitive throughout this series through WEF. We didn’t have our best day yesterday, and that was definitely a wakeup call, but I just tried to regroup and put in a confident effort today, and I was really happy with how it turned out.”
Going into the jump-off Deslauriers knew she was up against some quick competition. She explained, “The plan was to be as fast as I could and keep the jumps up. I knew Ashley was coming behind me, and she’s been really consistent on that horse and it has a huge stride. I tried to use my horse’s foot speed a little bit rather than his stride to make up time, but I definitely got lucky in a few places and he helped me out.”
Third place finisher Korotkin held the lead for the majority of the class and credited his experienced partner Deauville S for the day’s accomplishments. “My horse is incredible,” he admitted. “He showed a couple of years ago with Laura Kraut and he’s been all over the world, so he’s got a ton of experience. He’s got a unique brain and his own style of going, but he knows where he’s going and is always heading toward the next jump. In the jump-off I was planning on being as quick as possible and we got a little lost, but he’s a great horse and is giving me a ton of experience.”
Korotkin also expressed his appreciation for the Under 25 Series as a whole. He concluded, “It’s a great series because it gives so many young riders a great experience going into a bigger level, showing against competitors that are our own age. Then, when we head into the five-star ring, we’re more prepared to do so.”
The U25 Series will return for WEF 4 with the $25,000 Hermès U25 Grand Prix Series Team Event.
Source: Press release Kim Beaudoin & Sabrina Bashares / Jennifer Wood Media Inc. for ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions / PBIEC – Palm Beach International Equestrian Center
Photos: © Sportfot