CSI 5*

Daniel Bluman’s Strategy Pays off in the $146,000 Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup – Round XII CSI 5*

Wellington, Florida, USA – March 30, 2023 – Israel’s Daniel Bluman made careful plans for Gemma W this season, plans that paid off on Thursday with a victory in the $146,000 Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup – Round XII CSI 5*, a qualifier for the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* on Saturday. The Rolex-sponsored finale of the 13-week Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) runs through April 2.

Olympic course designer Guilherme Jorge (BRA) set the testing five-star track where 15 pairs jumped clear and represented 10 nations over the tie-breaking short course. Bluman and Gemma W, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Luidam x Unaniem) were uncatchable in 36.5 seconds, nearly two full second faster than the nearest challenger.

Gemma W, owned by Blue Star Investments and Over The Top Stables, had picked up a top-five finish in her only other appearance at WEF this season – a CSI4* grand prix during Week 8. Since then, Bluman has had her fully focused on making a big impact during WEF 12.

“Gemma had a very successful 2022 and I’ve been taking it easy with her and not jumping a bunch; the plan was to have her fit and ready for this week to come and attack this grand prix qualifier,” said the 33-year-old two-time Olympian. “She was fresh, and the plan was to do the leave outs everywhere and use her ground speed to put in a competitive time with enough pressure on the couple riders after me.”

Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) & Major Tom

Brazilian Olympic champion Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) finished as runner-up in 38 seconds flat aboard the Artemis Equestrian Farm-owned Major Tom (Vagabond de la Pomme x Heartbreaker).

Bluman is no stranger to success during Rolex Week at WEF after finishing second in the Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* in 2022 on Ladriano Z and 2019 with Gemma W.

“The Rolex Grand Prix in Wellington has been my favorite class,” he said. “I haven’t decided the plan for Saturday yet, but I can say for sure that it will be a very exciting class with great horse-and-rider combinations and a packed house with great atmosphere here in Wellington.

“Gemma feels in top form; she feels fresh and ready to compete,” continued Bluman. “Her biggest talent is her mind; she has the mind of a champion. She really knows her job and if you look at her record, she’s jumped so many clear rounds throughout her career and that’s phenomenal.”

Bliss Heers (USA) & Antidote de Mars

Bliss Heers (USA) and Antidote de Mars (Diamant de Semilly x Jarnac) took third in 38.46 seconds for owner Bridgeside Farms.

CSI5* competition continues on Friday with the Bainbridge Companies 1.45m before the Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* takes center stage under the shine of ‘Saturday Night Lights’ in the International Arena on April 1 at 7:30pm. View ticketing options for the Rolex Grand Prix HERE, or watch live on ESPN3 beginning at 6:30pm.

Daniel Bluman (ISR) & Gemma W during the awards ceremony

Final Results – $146,000 Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup – Round XII CSI 5*

1) Daniel Bluman (ISR) & Gemma W – 0 / 0 – 36.5

2) Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) & Major Tom – 0 / 0 – 38.00

3) Bliss Heers (USA) & Antidote de Mars – 0 / 0 – 38.46

Source: Press Release from ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions

Photos: © Sportfot