Aaron Vale Victorious Again in $200,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix

Ocala, Florida, USA – March 27, 2021 – The WEC Grand Arena hosted thrilling equestrian sport last night for the $200,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix, the finale of the Winter Spectacular. Courses for the classes were co-designed by Anderson Lima (BRA) and Bobby Murphy of Lexington, Kentucky, and featured technical tracks with multiple combinations. Stunning floral decorations and other fanciful elements including a lovely Lugano water feature, a unique World Equestrian Center – Ocala Equestrian Hotel wall, and an elegant golden ring jump made the last Saturday evening under the lights extra special.

Aaron Vale (USA) & Candro van de Zuuthoeve during the awards ceremony

Forty-seven entries took to the WEC Grand Arena under the lights tonight for the $200,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix. Ten entries advanced to the jump-off, but it was Aaron Vale (USA) and Taylor Granat’s Candro van de Zuuthoeve (Thunder Van De Zuuthoeve x Sir Lui) that set the pace with a time that would prove unbeatable.

During the 12-week Winter Spectacular at World Equestrian Center – Ocala, Aaron Vale has claimed 1st place in four grand prix classes. Though Vale and Candro van de Zuuthoeve had landed in the top few placings in grand prix classes several times throughout the season, the pair had yet to secure a win. Tonight, Vale and the 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding were first to contest the course in the jump-off. They set the pace with an impossibly quick, clear round in 41.208 seconds, which would ultimately prove unbeatable.

Molly Ashe Cawley (USA) & Berdien

Just behind Aaron Vale (USA) and Candro van de Zuuthoeve were Molly Ashe Cawley (USA) and Louisburg Farm’s Berdien (Bustique x Querlybet Hero). Ashe Cawley and the 10-year-old Zangersheide mare topped the $20,000 WEC Welcome Prix just two days ago, preparing them well for tonight’s class. The duo delivered a clear jump-off in 41.641 seconds, just four-tenths of a second behind Vale for 2nd place.

Bryn Sadler (USA) & Cinven R

Rounding out the top three placings were Bryn Sadler (USA) and Showcase 81, LLC’s Cinven CR (Clearway x Coronado). Sadler and the 13-year-old Holsteiner gelding have earned top placings in grand prix and welcome prix classes throughout the season and brought their A-game tonight. The pair navigated a clear jump-off round in 43.235 seconds for 3rd place.

Podium: 2) Molly Ashe Cawley (USA), 1) Aaron Vale (USA) & 3) Bryn Sadler (USA)

Final Results$200,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix

1) Aaron Vale (USA) & Candro van de Zuuthoeve – 0 | 0 | 41.208

2) Molly Ashe Cawley (USA) & Berdien – 0 | 0 | 41.641

3) Bryn Sadler (USA) & Cinven CR – 0 | 0 | 43.235

4) Fernando Cardenas (COL) & Quincy Too – 0 | 0 | 45.113

5) Fernandon Cardenas (COL) & Valentine Car – 0 | 0 | 45.305

6) Aaron Vale (USA) & Major – 0 |4 | 41.038

7) Rowan Willis (AUS) & Wellington Grey Goose – 0 | 4 | 43.169

8) Jonathan McCrea (USA) & Fantasy BB – 0 | 4 | 44.204

9) Sean Jobin (CAN) & Darius – 0 | 4 | 47.151

10) Brooke Kemper (USA) & Arpeggi – 0 | 4 | 54.115

Source: Press release from World Equestrian Center

Photos: © Andrew Ryback Photography