Wellington, Florida, USA – March 18, 2022 – A whopping 77 elite entries closed out Friday in the International Arena for the $37,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m CSI 4*. Vaillancourt produced one final large track which pinned competitors against the time-allowed of 77 seconds and was designed as a single-round speed class. The day’s only international event featured some of the best athletes, as representatives from 17 individual nations vied for the podium position.
Italy’s Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) took the early lead in the class as one of the first 10 competitors to cross under the PBIEC bridge, setting an intense challenge for the rest of the field from the start. Each combination from then on out did their best to match or best De Luca’s time with Dirka de Blondel, but even the closest pair added almost an entire second to the clock from their time of 57.60 seconds.
“She is not really so fast,” admitted De Luca of the Poden Farms’ nine-year-old Selle Francais mare (Very Berlin De Castel x Lauterbach). “Last week I tried to override her a few times, and I had a rail down. Today, I just let her be a bit more, and everything went quite smooth and also fast, so I was very happy with her.”
Since acquiring the mare at the beginning of the 2022 WEF season, De Luca has already had several wins credited to his name including a top finish in the $1,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.40m CSI4* during WEF 3 and in the $37,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.45m CSI5* during WEF 7.
“She is a work in progress but everything she is doing, she is doing amazingly well,” he added. “She is definitely a winner, and we are all very excited for her future. I thought today’s course was technical, but I can’t complain because it seemed pretty perfect for us.”
Young rider Natalie Dean (USA) overcame the large field to take the second-place honors aboard the Marigold Sporthorses, LLC’s entry Kamilla D. Dean also went early in the class and produced a top performance in 58.51 seconds on the 11-year-old SCSL mare (Kashmir Van Schuttershof x Canturo*bois Margot).
Jumping into third was Jiminy Cricket of Evergate Stables, LLC, with Nayel Nassar (EGY). Nassar and the 11-year-old Westphalian gelding (Colestus x Cornet Obolensky) were just a hair slower than Dean with their finishing time of 58.67 seconds.
Final Results – $37,000 Douglas Eliman Real Estate CSI 4*
1) Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) & Dirka de Blondel – 0 – 57.60
2) Natalie Dean (USA) & Kamilla D – 0 – 58.51
3) Nayel Nassar (EGY) & Jiminy Cricket – 0 – 58.67
Source: Press Release from Jennifer Wood Media Inc. for ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions / WEF – Winter Equestrian Festival
Photos: © Sportfot