Wellington, Florida, USA – February 24, 2023 – Sixty-eight horse-and-rider duos took to the International Arena on Friday, all vying for a spot in the $50,000 Ethel M. Chocolates Grand Prix CSI 2* two days later. The $39,000 Ethel M. Chocolates Qualifier CSI 2* 1.45m Qualifier was the gateway to grand prix glory having Laura Chapot (USA) take top call riding Chandon Blue.
Seven riders representing seven unique nations battled it out over the tie-breaking jump-off track, but Chapot and her longtime partner Chandon Blue could not be caught.
“He really likes it down here in Florida; this is probably the one time of year he works the hardest, but he doesn’t need a lot of practice,” explained Chapot of her and Mary Chapot’s 18-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Chacco-Blue x Landcapitol). “He loves to compete. He gets bored when he is at home, and I wonder sometimes if something is wrong but then he gets to the show ring and just grows.”
The gelding has been one of Chapot’s top mounts for many years and proved to be as quick on his feet as ever after clocking in a double-clear effort in 35.75 seconds.
“I had a pretty solid plan in my mind today and I just had to watch the first horse to know if it was going to work or not,” added Chapot, who has experienced immense success in speed rounds in the International Arena at WEF. “He can sometimes get almost too enthusiastic in the show ring so the hardest thing with him is to keep him thinking and relaxed. Today he seemed settled, and he really couldn’t have ridden or jumped any better for me in this class.”
Bumped to runner-up, Luis Fernando Larrazabal (VEN) picked up second place aboard Victoria Heurtematte’s 11-year-old Mecklenburg mare Condara (Conthargos x Catapult 7). They produced two clear rounds with a short course finishing time of 36.06 seconds.
Canada’s Alicia Gabdan-Lewis (CAN) rider her own 11-year-old Oldenburg mare Beneficial slid into the third spot after stopping the clock in 36.73 seconds.
Final Results – $39,000 Ethel M. Chocolate Grand Prix Qualifier CSI 2*
1) Laura Chapot (USA) & Chandon Blue – 0 / 0 –
2) Luis Fernando Larrazabal (VEN) & Condara – 0 / 0 – 36.06
3) Alicia Gabdan-Lewis (CAN) & Beneficial – 0 / 0 – 36.73
Source: Press Release from Equestrian Sports Productions
Photos: © Wellington International / Sportfot / Hannah Stephens