Wellington, Florida, USA – April 03, 2022 – The final day of the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) concluded 13 weeks of competition on Sunday, April 3, with the last international jumper class of the circuit on the Derby Field at Equestrian Village as well as the closing classes across all divisions at Wellington International. Kelli Cruciotti Vanderveen (USA) emerged as the last international victor as she and Forever SFN won the $50,000 CabanaCoast Grand Prix CSI 2*.
Guilherme Jorge (BRA) built one final challenging effort for the 45 two-star competitors in the class. He tested the entries with an early triple combination, but the efficient time allowed of 74 seconds was only the deciding factor for two duos. Thirteen more had their hopes dashed with the fault of a single downed obstacle. As the first round concluded, the returning line-up consisted of 11 representatives from four different nations prepared to battle it out over the jump-off track.
Cruciotti Vanderveen was the second to return for the short course and established the first clear round over the track with Springpaarden Fonds Nederland’s 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Forever SFN (Azteca VDL x Non Stop) in a time of 38.18 seconds. Five other horses would go clear over the track, but none would come close to the leader’s blazing time.
Fabio Leivas da Costa (BRA) and Bonne Chance Farm LLC’s Ilex put in another top effort to take second place in the class. Da Costa skillfully navigated the nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Baltic VDL x Chin Chin) through each obstacle but fell still two seconds shy of Cruciotti Vanderveen’s top time to finish in 40.14 seconds.
The USA landed in both the first and third positions as Katherine Dinan (USA) galloped into third place with Dijon Terdoorn Z. Dinan piloted the Grant Road Partners LLC’s 11-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Diamant De Semilly x Lord Z) to a final time of 40.19 seconds just behind da Costa.
“I don’t know this horse very well as this is only our fifth class together,” explained Cruciotti Vanderveen. “When I walked the course, I thought it was quite technical, and I knew the time allowed would be tight based on Friday’s qualifier. I thought the first round actually rode quite well, and then I just stuck to the plan I had made for the jump-off. I think where we ended up having the better time was our approach down to the final fence. I’m not sure how many strides I ended up doing but it felt quite fast.”
Cruciotti Vanderveen admitted the win was extra special for her after having to take a hiatus from international competition due to the retirement of her previous top mount.
“It is really special for me not only to be showing at WEF in FEI classes again but also to be able to win here at the end of the season,” added Cruciotti Vanderveen. “It’s hard to put into words how incredible this moment is, and I feel grateful to ride alongside such amazing combinations every day.”
Final Results – €50,000 CabanaCoast Grand Prix CSI 2*
1) Kelli Cruciotti Vanderveen (USA) & Forever SFN – 0 / 0 – 38.18
2) Fabio Leivas da Costa (BRA) & Ilex – 0 / 0 – 40.14
3) Katherine Dinan (USA) & Dijon Terdoorn Z – 0 / 0 – 40.19
Source: Press Release Jennifer Wood & Sabrina Schmidt / Jennifer Wood Media, Inc. for ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions / WEF – Winter Equestrian Festival
Photos: © Sportfot