Wellington, Florida, USA – April 3, 2022 – The final class in the International Arena was the $50,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m National Grand Prix. With 51 entries in a starting order stacked with six Olympians and riders from 13 countries, course designer Ken Krome (USA) had his work cut out for him. He set a formidable test that only brought back six for the jump-off. Rising to the top of the class was Belgian Olympian Nicola Philippaerts (BEL) riding his own Gijs.
Philippaerts (BEL) came back third in the jump-off, chasing a time of 44.446 seconds set by Darragh Kerins (IRL) and Intuitive, owned by Eve Jobs, which would hold up for third place. Philippaerts and Gijs brought the winning time down to 41.421 seconds. Second place went to 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games individual gold medalist Ben Maher (GBR), who rode Point Break, owned by Maher, Pamela Wright, and Charlotte Rossetter, to a clear round in 43.344 seconds.
“He has a very good personality, and he doesn’t act like a stallion at all,” said Philippaerts of the 11-year-old KWPN stallion by Kashmir van Schuttershof x Numero Uno. “He always wants to give the best of himself. I think he has a fantastic character. You can see today that he’s very quick for a big horse, and he has a lot of blood for a big horse.”
This is Philippaerts’s second season showing at WEF, and he has plans to return in 2023. “It’s been very good for us the last two years both sales wise and with our results,” he said. “This year I had a very good circuit. My top horse jumped very well. I think for sure for next year there will be quite a big future here as well. It will be exciting to see what’s going to happen and what the plans are, and I will be happy to come back. It’s a nice place to be for a few months, and it’s nice for me as a European to ride against different people and be amongst a bit of a different crowd here. It’s been good for me, so I really want to come back.”
Regarding his win in the final day of WEF, he remarked, “The grands prix are quite difficult enough classes here. In the jump-off there are always a lot of good riders, so it’s always nice to win a class like this before you go back home.”
Final Results – $50,000 CaptiveOne National Grand Prix
1) Nicola Philippaerts (BEL) & Gijs – 0 / 0 – 41.421
2) Ben Maher (GBR) & Point Break – 0 / 0 – 43.344
3) Darragh Kerins (IRL) & Intuitive – 0 / 0 – 44.446
Source: Press Release from Jennifer Wood Media, Inc. for ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions / WEF – Winter Equestrian Festival
Photos: © Sportfot