Wellington, Florida, USA – February 24, 2022 – The seventh week of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), sponsored by Lugano Diamonds, featured international five-star and two-star jumper competition on Thursday, February 24, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL. Thursday’s highlight was the $75,000 Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup Round VII CSI 5* which was won by Daniel Deusser (GER) and Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z. WEF runs for 13 weeks from January 5 – April 3, 202,2 and hosts a variety of international jumper classes as well as nationally-rated hunter, jumper, and equitation competition.
Fifty-seven of the world’s elite show jumping combinations set out to contest Anthony D’Ambrosio’s (USA) first-round track in hopes that they would qualify for the jump-off and subsequently, the $406,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix CSI 5* on Saturday, February 26, at 7 p.m. Of the 18 nations represented in the opening field, only 10 combinations from six of those countries landed a spot for the short track. That field then went from 10 to nine returning as Sergio Alvarez Moya (ESP) made the decision to save his jumps for another day.
Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam (IRL) led off the return field and immediately put out a challenge to the remaining riders as he and Alejandro, owned by Sweet Oak Farm, Spy Coast, and Seabrook, produced another clean round in 38.25 seconds. Always an exciting pair in a jump-off, Daniel Deusser (GER) and Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z entered third and overthrew Sweetnam by clocking in almost a second faster at 37.42 seconds. Those following put forward their best efforts but as the final horse stopped the clock, it was obvious Deusser and the 14-year-old Zangersheide stallion (Otangelo x Mr Blue) gelding had succeeded.
“I chose this horse for today because he is in very good shape again,” explained Deusser. “He had a few months off last year, and then when we jumped him here for the first time two weeks ago, he showed us he was feeling good.”
WEF is the first international competition for the Stephex and Scuderia 1918’s gelding since they competed at CHI Geneva in November of 2021.
“After the first round, I had such a good feeling about the ride that I actually was really trying to win when I went in for the jump-off,” added Deusser. “He is a very flexible horse, and he doesn’t care if you turn him short so the jump-off was quite nice for me. I thought the course designer did a good job today; it was tricky and difficult enough, and the time allowed was short but not impossible.”
Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z will also be Deusser’s mount for the main event on Saturday night.
“He leaves for Europe next week so this will probably be his last show of the season in the States,” said Deusser. “He seems to be in a pretty good mood, so the plan is to use him for the grand prix as well.”
Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) and his partner, the Poden Farms’ 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding F One USA (Toulon x Tangelo Van De Zuuthoeve) missed the mark by mere milliseconds but managed to take home the second-place title. The duo stopped the clock with a time of 37.55 seconds which then bumped Sweetnam into third.
Shane Sweetnam’s (IRL) performance with Sweet Oak Farm, Spy Coast, and Seabrook’s 13-year-old Rheinländer gelding (Acorado’s Ass x Continue) remained good enough to secure the final spot of the victory gallop.
Final Results – $75,000 Adequan WEF Challenge Cup Round VII CSI 5*
1) Daniel Deusser (GER) & Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z – 0 / 0 – 37.42
2) Shane Sweetnam (IRL) & Alejandro – 0 / 0 – 38.25
3) Ben Maher (GBR) & Ginger-Blue – 0 / 4 – 39.35
Source: Press Release from Jennifer Wood Media Inc. for ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions / WEF – Winter Equestrian Festival
Photos: © Sportfot