Wellington, Florida, USA – March 6, 2021 – It was a busy day on Saturday during the eighth week of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Abdel Said (EGY) and his own Arpege du Ru claimed the victory in the $37,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Classic CSIO4* at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).
There were 29 entries and 12 clear rounds in the morning class, and they were all going for speed over a course designed by Steve Stephens (USA) and Nick Granat (USA). The early leader was Daniel Deusser (GER) and Stephex Stables’ Calisto Blue, who set a time of 60.66 seconds that would hold up for third place. Near the end of the class, Andrew Bourns (IRL) and Darquito broke the 60-second barrier to finish in second place on 59.69 seconds.
However, it was Said and Arpege du Ru who couldn’t be beat, finishing the course in a speedy 57.98 seconds for the win.
Said has ridden Arpege du Ru for three years, having received a phone call from his Global Champions League teammate Marlon Zanotelli (BRA) about a horse he had for sale that he thought would make a good junior jumper.
“The feeling was so good that I bought her,” said Said of the 11-year-old Selle Français mare (Apache d’Adriers x Quat’sous). “She was amazing to me. She’s so competitive; she’s so intelligent. She’s really quick with her legs. She’s so fast. If you watched her round, there was nowhere you really have to chase her. If you’re neat with your turns and the jumps stay up, she normally wins.”
Said won the Bainbridge Companies 1.40m CSI 3* at WEF 2 with Bandit Savoie, but felt that Arpege du Ru was due for a win.
“I don’t always like to use the phrase ‘unlucky,’ because I always think I can do better, but somehow with her, we’ve been a bit unlucky,” he said with a smile. “She’s been jumping great. Every little touch she’d make, the jump would fall.
“I’m just happy for her today and my team,” he continued. “It’s nice to win in the main ring here and good for the motivation of everybody and morale. It was a nice win.”
Said, who runs a training, dealing, and sport stable outside Antwerp, Belgium, made “an impulsive decision” to come to WEF this winter.
“It was the only place that was open, the only place that was showing,” he noted. “The people are nice, there are regulations and everyone is following them, and we can show. Honestly, you don’t feel it, but at the same time, the rules are strict. For me, it’s the best place to be by far.”
Said hopes to compete in next week’s five-star at WEF 9 and is considering his options for staying in the United States to compete beyond the WEF circuit.
Final Results: $37,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Classic CSIO4*
1) Abdel Said (EGY) & Arpege du Ru – 0 / 57.98
2) Andrew Bourns (IRL) & Darquito – 0 / 59.69
3) Daniel Deusser (GER) & Calisto Blue – 0 / 60.66
Source: Press release (edited) by Kate Pettersen / Jennifer Wood Media Inc. for ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions / PBIEC – Palm Beach International Equestrian Center
Photo: © Sportfot