Ocala, Florida, USA – June 16, 2023 – International athletes from eight different nations took center stage at World Equestrian Center – Ocala for the $50,000 UF Health Grand Prix Qualifier CSI 3*. Renowned course designer, Andy Christiansen of Ecuador set the tracks for 19 top-level horse-and-rider combinations, where Jacqueline Ruyle (USA) and her own San Chano (Sandro Boy x Chacco-blue) rose to the top of the leaderboard and galloped away with the victory.
Eight athletes competed on Thursday night, and six managed to qualify for the jump-off. Competition resumed this morning after a delay halted the competition on Thursday. The remaining competitors returned to WEC Grand Arena this morning, where only Jacqueline Ruyle managed to jump her way to a clear round to join the six qualified entries from last night for the short course.
Five athletes opted to return for the jump-off with Chloe Reid (USA) and Sean Jobin (CAN) electing to save their horses for another day.
Captain Brian Cournane (USA) set the pace in the jump-off aboard his own 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Sea Plus (Catoki x Cruising) in 45.55 seconds.
Ireland’s Tom Foley (IRL) followed with Idalgo, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Catoki x Quidam De Revel) owned by Sher Al Farm. The pair made light work of the short track stopping the clock at 42.22 seconds to snag the lead.
Foley’s time didn’t hold for long, Rebecca Conway (USA) and Blue Hill Farm LLC’s nine-year-old Zangersheide mare Unestar d’Ysenbeeck Z (Untouchable x Jamar D’ Ysenbeeck Z) shaved nearly a half of a second off his time, crossing the timers in 41.50 seconds.
Aaron Vale (USA) and Cristo Beech owned by Della Wordley gave their best effort, but had one unlucky rail in the process in 41.34 seconds.
Jacqueline Ruyle (USA) and the speedy 14-year-old Oldenburg gelding San Chano were the final pair to descend down the ramp.
“My focus was Saturday. I didn’t want to take any crazy risks, but still go for it. I thought there were a lot of tight inside turns in the jump-off which made the track more difficult. Once you make a turn that tight, you have only have one option, you have to be confident and just go.”
Ruyle and the swift gelding raced around the track, taking an unbelievable tight turn to the tall FEI vertical, which led them to a successful last line, stopping the clock at a blistering 40.08 seconds to seal the victory.
Ruyle wasn’t quite sure if she was going to compete this morning, “After the class was delayed to this morning, I wasn’t sure what my plan was. I was thinking, Saturday night is our main goal, so what’s the best option for my horse to get him ready for Saturday,” shared Ruyle.
“I was considering doing the 1.45m Two Phase Special, but the class wasn’t going until later this afternoon, so I figured jumping this morning would be the best option for San Chano. I think it ended up working out great. A few riders elected to save their horses for tomorrow, so it ended up being a perfect jump-off and a great class,” expressed Ruyle.
UF Health at WEC – Coming in 2024!
UF Health, a founding partner of WEC, will provide guests with the quality care you expect from Florida’s leading academic health center in a new, state-of-the-art, 10,000-square foot facility on property. The UF Health physician office space is part of a larger complex featuring an additional 10,000 square feet dedicated to retail storefronts, which will join the WEC network of more than 30 established retailers on property.
Final Results – $50,000 UF Health Grand Prix Qualifier CSI 3*
1) Jacqueline Ruyle (USA) & San Chano – 0 / 0 – 40.08
2) Rebecca Conway (USA) & Unestar d’Ysenbeeck Z – 0 / 0 – 41.50
3) Tom Foley (IRL) & Idalgo – 0 / 0 – 42.22
4) Capt Brian Cournane (USA) & Sea Plus – 0 / 0 – 45.55
5) Aaron Vale (USA) & Cristo Beech – 0 / 4 – 41.34
6) Sean Jobin (CAN) & Darius – 0 – 75.37
6) Chloe Reid (USA) & Crossover – 0 – 76.16
8) William Simpson (USA) & Chacco P – 4 – 73.19
9) Scott Keach (AUS) & Cencorinue PS – 4 – 73.98
10) Nicky Galligan (IRL) & Nikita van de Leeuwerk – 4 – 74.37
11) Chloe Reid (USA) & Luis P – 4 – 75.97
12) Maria G. Brugal Gasso (DOM) & Uris de La Roque – 4 – 77.33
Source: Press Release from World Equestrian Center
Photos: © Andrew Ryback Photography.