Wellington, Florida, USA – April 09, 2021 – The first of five weeks of the 2021 ESP Spring Series took place April 7-11 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) with Thursday’s kicking off the return of top national competition following the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).
Friday’s action was highlighted by the $25,000 Premier Equestrian Spring Welcome Grand Prix, which featured a whopping 24 pairs qualified for the jump-off. By the end of the second round, 15 of those contenders had jumped to a double-clear finish, led by the winning pair of Argentina’s Gustavo Prato (ARG) on King Van Het Keizershof, owned by Kisma Equestrian, LLC. Thanks to a fault-free time of 37.97 seconds, the combination claimed victory by nearly two seconds ahead of the next-closest competitor.
“With how many horses were going clear and going onto the jump-off, I knew I had to either go very slow and clear to get a good placing or go for the class, and I decided to go for the class!” commented Prato of his jump-off strategy with King Van Het Keizershof.
“I’ve been down here the whole [Winter Equestrian Festival] season, but I just got this horse. This is only my fourth or fifth time competing on him, so it’s a new partnership,” said Prato of the 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood (Clearway x Phin Phin). “I think I had the advantage today from the very first fence. He’s absolutely fantastic and incredibly fast.”
Second place in the class went to Anya Bereznicki (CAN) riding Kari Kerr’s Diazella. Bereznicki and the 13-year-old Holsteiner mare (Diamant de Semilly x Candillo) tripped the timers with no faults in 39.91 seconds to earn the runner-up honors. Wilhelm Genn (GER) and Bugatti rounded out the podium with a foot-perfect performance in 40.94 seconds.
Final Results – $25,000 Premier Equestrian Grand Prix
1) Gustavo Prato (ARG) & King van het Keizershof – 0 / 0 – 37.97
2) Anya Bereznicki (CAN) & Diazella – 0 / 0 – 39.916
3) Wilhelm Genn (GER) & Bugatti – 0 / 0 – 40.94
Source: Press Release from PBIEC – Palm Beach International Equestrian Center / ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions
Photo: © Anne Gittins Photography