Wellington, Florida, USA – March 27, 2022 – Daytime competition on Saturday was highlighted by the $50,000 Beerbaum Stables Grand Prix CSI 2*. After a thrilling jump-off, Laura Chapot (USA) and Chandon Blue were victorious.
Forty-five combinations advanced from the 89-strong field in Thursday’s qualifier to contest the challenging track set by Olaf Petersen Jr. A tight time allowed of 75 seconds had more than 10 riders pick up time faults. Ultimately, an impressive 15 duos persevered to jump through cleanly.
“My plan for the first round was just to keep him focused all the way through the course, because he tends to want to get a little bit running towards the end,” detailed Chapot. “In the last line coming away from home, I wasn’t sure I was going to quite make the turn to it. Fortunately, he’s fast enough and got his eye on the jump, and once he gets his eye on the jump, he’s good to go.”
Petersen Jr.’s jump-off test echoed elements of the first round, opening with two rollbacks, and later, a particularly tough turn off the left lead to a wide liverpool oxer. Riders also tried to slice across a vertical in the center of the ring to chase the time.
Conor O’Regan (IRL) led the way in the jump-off and turned in a neat, clear effort with Dynamite Ranch LLC’s Mendini DR in 36.95 seconds.
Alison Robitaille (USA) then managed to shave off a few tenths of a second, crossing the timers in 36.41 seconds with Alison Firestone LLC’ Oakingham Lira.
Eighth to go in round two was Laura Chapot (USA) and Chandon Blue who gave everything and then some, slicing and dicing, to finish in 35.42 seconds.
Jessica Springsteen (USA) and Naomi van het Keizershof, owned by Stone Hill Farm, came very close, but ended up in second place in 35.46 seconds. Robitaille completed the all-female podium for third, and O’Regan finished in fourth.
“It wasn’t really my favorite jump off for him, because it was very twisty-turny, especially with the inside turn to the third jump,” admitted Chapot. “Fortunately, I was late enough in the order that it became obvious that that turn was absolutely necessary to win. I tried to just take my time and not let him get too strong to that point.”
She continued, “I kind of had to rein back my inner desire to go faster and just trust that he’s such a quick horse. I know if I can keep him thinking and looking, he carries a lot of speed naturally, so more often than not, he’ll finish up in the top group.”
Chandon Blue, an Oldenburg gelding by Chacco-Blue x Landcapitol, has had a tremendous season. In addition to this win, he also topped the $50,000 Marshall & Sterling/Great American Insurance Group National Grand Prix, held under the lights during week 2. As the end of the circuit nears, Chapot could not be more pleased with her mount.
“He felt fantastic this whole week. He was really rideable and just so into it,” she noted. “I think he’s actually just coming up to his high point. He’s started to finally get relaxed in the ring and get down to business, so I’m feeling like we’re really prepared for the rest of the year.”
At 17-years-young, Chandon Blue’s leading personality and enthusiasm seems to be what is helping him turn back the clock.
“In the schooling area, he bucks and plays after the jump. You can tell he really enjoys the job and really understands when he does it well,” Chapot expressed. “We have to disregard the number on his passport a little bit and just keep looking to the horse for him to tell us what he wants to do or not. We always want to be a little cautious with him, but for now he comes out every time and wants to go, so he hasn’t shown us he wants to slow down just yet.”
For their win today, Chapot was awarded with The Champion Equine Insurance Jumper Style Award by Laura Fetterman.
Final Results – $50,000 Beerbaum Stables Grand Prix CSI 2*
1) Laura Chapot (USA) & Chandon Blue – 0 / 0 – 35.42
2) Jessica Springsteen (USA) & Naomi van het Keizershof – 0 / 0 – 35.46
3) Alison Robitaille (USA) & Oakingham Lira – 0 / 0 – 36.41
Source: Press Release by Summer Grace and Amanda Picciotto Feitosa / Jennifer Wood Media, Inc. for ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions / WEF – Winter Equestrian Festival
Photos: © Sportfot