Wellington, Florida, USA – December 31, 2023 – It was a celebratory weekend for Jad Dana (LBN) during the ESP Holiday Finale at Wellington International thanks to a victory in the $50,000 Wellington National Golf Club National Grand Prix on New Year’s Eve, which closed his year on a high note. In the final Grand Prix of the 2022 ESP Holiday Series presented by Arthramid®Vet, Dana and Fleur-de-Lis’ Cherie, owned by The Cherie Group, galloped to the top of the leaderboard in as the fastest over designer Anthony D’Ambrosio’s (USA) courses.
During the first round of riding, sixteen horse-and-rider combinations made it around D’Ambrosio’s pattern without lowering any fences or accruing time faults to qualify for the jump-off. The group represented an international field, with seven countries represented, Brazil, Ireland, Spain, Israel, the United States, France, and Labanon. After watching 14 riders test the short track, Dana and Fleur-De-Lis’ Cherie sped their way through the course, breaking the beam in 43.213 seconds without any faults to take the lead with just one pair left to challenge.
The final rider to test the track, Luiz Francisco de Azevedo (BRA), put forth a valiant effort but knocked two rails down to incur eight faults against him, cementing Dana as the winner.
Just off the pace, Sarah Hubbard (USA) piloted Latino van de Looise Heide, owned by Hubbard Horses, LLC, to second place with a time of 43.876 seconds.
Francis Derwin Jr. (IRL) and Eve Jobs’ Intuitive rounded out the podium with a double-clear time of 44.891 seconds.
“I am feeling really good,” Dana commented after his win. “I’m very lucky to get to ride these two mares, Fleur-De-Lis’ Cherie and After Eight with the support of my trainer, Leslie Howard, and her husband, the horses’ owners, and my parents. I feel like I have a lot of support! Leslie and Peter are giving me so many opportunities to succeed and I can’t say how grateful I am for them.”
He continued, explaining his connection with his winning mount, Fleur-De-Lis’ Cherie. “She’s absolutely amazing. I really have a very special connection with her. When I first started riding her, I was only jumping 1.20. and 1.25m. She is such a fighter and really wants to win, so she gives everything she can, and I know her so well now that I know what classes are for her and what to aim for.”
With 2022 ending, Dana now has his eyes fully set on the 2023 Winter Equestrian Festival and shared some of his goals for the winter season with us. “We have many young sales horses, so I really want to work on them. Besides me trying to jump bigger FEI classes, getting more ranking points, and getting my name out there, I really want to continue working with the younger horses and try to develop them to their best abilities. I also give a lot of my time to our students. Their results are as important to me as my results, if not more. The people that ride with us are extremely important and they make it happen for us, really,” he concluded.
As the groom of the winning horse, Geovanni Velasquez was the recipient of the Schneiders Groom Award for the $50,000 Wellington National Golf Club National Grand Prix. As part of the recognition, Peralta was presented with a bag of high-quality grooming supplies courtesy of Schneiders Tack.
Final Results – $50,000 Wellington National Golf Club National Grand Prix
1) Jad Dana (LBN) & Fleur-De-Lis’ Cherie – 0 / 0 – 43.213
2) Sarah Hubbard (USA) & Latino van de Looise Heide – 0 / 0 – 43.876
3) Francis Derwin Jr. (IRL) & Intuitive – 0 / 0 – 44.891
Source: Press Release from ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions
Photos: © Wellington International / Anne Gittins Photography
Categories: CSN, English, Jumper News USA