Wellington, Florida, USA – April 17, 2021 – It was another beautiful day on the grass Derby Field at Equestrian Village as international show jumpers competed in the first of two three-star weeks as part of the 2021 ESP Spring Series. After notching a win in Thursday’s 1.45m Jumpers, Kristen Vanderveen (USA) and Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili, owned by Bull Run Jumpers, stole the show once again, claiming victory in the $37,000 HorseLinc 1.50m Classic CSI 3*.
With 45 entries represented in the opening round, a total of only five horse-and-rider combinations qualified to return for the jump-off over a shortened track set by Catsy Cruz (MEX) and Andy Christiansen (ECU). First to return, Ireland’s Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Madorada DW, owned by Gerard O’Neil, set the tone for the remainder of the field with just a single knockdown landing them on four faults. The ninth-ranked rider in the world guided the nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare by Breemeersen Adorado to a very quick time, crossing the finish line in 37.36 seconds.
Just two riders later, it was Nicola Philippaerts (BEL) and his own Laurier to produce the first double-clear of the day. Philippaerts and the 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion (Zirocco Blue x Chin Chin) jumped into the lead in a time of 40.48 seconds.
The next pair to contend would prove to be the best once again as Vanderveen and the 16-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion (Berlin x Darco) flew across the turf track, leaving all the jumps in their cups along the way to post the winning time of 38.68 seconds. That would settle the score as Philippaerts ended the day in second place and Kenny rounded out the podium to finish third.
With a winning margin of nearly two seconds, Vanderveen says there was still some gas left in the tank.
“It was nice that there were only five of us in the jump-off,” she said. “I went near the end of the order, and normally he is super-fast, and I would risk a lot in a jump-off. But, knowing that there was only one clear, and it wasn’t super-fast, I did try and find the middle ground in terms of how much risk we took, which for me can be challenging.”
“I’ve jumped him in so many speed classes during the season that I was excited to get to do him in an actual grand prix class,” Vanderveen continued. “I thought that was maybe the best he’s jumped all season. The first round felt phenomenal, and I think he really enjoys the grass. It was a lot of fun to feel him jump like that.”
The win marks their second of the week after capturing the $37,000 CCTV Agent 1.45m Jumpers CSI 3* on Thursday afternoon. Vanderveen said she thinks the key to her success is “Frosty’s” big stride as it gives her lots of different options in the ring, but went on to describe how special he is as a horse.
“He really is amazing,” she gushed. “He’s such a pet in the barn and so nice to have around the stable. To still be a top performer in the ring is really special. He’s been my soundest horse and he’s never had a problem. I think he’ll go forever.”
“We’re starting to have some of his babies,” Vanderveen continued. “I just got some pictures yesterday of his foals that have started to hit the ground, so that’s very exciting.”
Vanderveen remains undecided regarding her plans for next week’s three-star competition as she wants to make sure all of her horses get the chance to jump, but her success this week has her considering putting Frosty at the top of the list for Spring III.
ESP Spring II wraps up on Sunday, April 18 with hunters competing at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) and jumpers taking center stage at Equestrian Village. The concluding class of the week is the $137,000 Bainbridge Companies Grand Prix CSI 3*, showcasing the week’s top talent on the grass Derby Field. The 2021 ESP Spring Series continues with a total of five weeks of competition until Sunday, May 15. Feature classes will be available live and on-demand for free on the livestream.
Final Results – $37,000 HorseLinc Classic CSI 3*
1) Kristen Vanderveen (USA) & Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili – 0 / 0 – 38.681
2) Nicola Philippaerts (BEL) & Laurier – 0 / 0 – 40.485
3) Darragh Kenny (IRL) & Modorada DW – 0 / 4 – 37.366
Source: Press Release by Kate Pettersen for ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions
Photo: © Sportfot