Ocala, Florida, USA – June 30, 2023 – A picturesque Florida evening set the stage for the $50,000 UF Veterinary Hospital Grand Prix Qualifier CSI3* during Week IV of the 2023 Ocala Summer Series. Thirty-two esteemed show jumping athletes from ten nations contested a challenging course set by FEI Level IV course designer, Alan Wade (IRL) where just four horse-and-rider combinations managed to find a clear round. Luiz Francisco de Azevedo (BRA) was the sole competitor to conquer both tracks, and he managed to do it with both his mounts, Nashville (Diamant De Semilly x Darco) and HFG Quaman (Diamant De Semilly x Quidam’s Rubin).
Ashlee Bond (ISR) and Peter Petschenig (AUT) both earned a spot in the jump-off, but Petschenig opted to save his horse for another day, leaving Azevedo and Bond to battle it out over the jump-off track.
“It was just me and Ashlee. I had two and she had one, but she’s a super rider, super-fast and very competitive, so I tried my best on my first horse [Nashville] to put the pressure on,” said Azevedo.
Azevedo and the 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Diamant de Semilly x Darco) raced around the short course, not touching a single rail to stop the clock at 38.41 seconds.
Ashlee Bond (ISR) was quick on his heels aboard Aurora Farms, LLC’s nine-year-old Selle Francais mare Elka de La Pomme (Cartoon Z x Kannan) in 38.86 seconds, but had one unfortunate rail in the double combination.
Azevedo returned aboard his second mount HFG Quaman, “After I found out that Ashlee had a rail, I decided to take a risk and go slow on my third horse because I went really fast with him yesterday and had the opportunity to be second behind myself today, so I was just hoping for a clear.”
Azevedo and the 10-year-old Brazilian Sport Horse gelding delivered a textbook effort, leaving all rails in their cups in 45.62 seconds, to secure Azevedo the first and second place spots on the podium.
“It was a tough course tonight. When I walked the course, I was impressed with how difficult it was. But, I knew we had a lot of good riders and horses, so it was a bit unexpected to have that number of clear, I was expecting a little bit more,” shared Azevedo about this evening’s first round track.
This is the first time Azevedo has competed in FEI competition at World Equestrian Center – Ocala, “About a year and half ago I came for a national Grand Prix and was delighted by this place. For me, it’s the best place in the world. There is no facility better than this. Whenever I have the opportunity to come here, I will.”
Final Results – $50,000 UF Veterinary Hospital Grand Prix Qualifier CSI 3*
1) Luiz Francisco de Azevedo (BRA) & Nashville, Santa Cecelia Stables LLC – 0 | 0 – 38.41
2) Luiz Francisco de Azevedo (BRA) & HFG Quaman, Santa Cecelia Stables LLC – 0 | 0 – 45.62
3) Ashlee Bond (ISR) & Elka de La Pomme, Aurora Farms, LLC – 0 | 4 – 38.86
4) Peter Petschenig (AUT) & Ennebel Van Het Posthuijs, Petschenig Showjumping, LLC – 0 | 0 –76.11
5) Will Simpon (USA) & Chacco P, Will Simpson Stables Inc. – 0 | 4 –72.01
6) Aaron Vale (USA) & Prescott, Thinkslikeahorse – 0 | 4 – 74.54
7) Erynn Ballard (CAN) & Calypso De Blondel, Ilan Ferder – 0 | 4 – 75.17
8) Kelli Cruciotti Vanderveen (USA) & Gideon, Serenity Farm – 0 | 4 – 75.58
9) Luis Sabino Gon;alves (POR) & Vick Du Croisy, Sigma Stables LLC – 0 | 4 – 75.91
10) Hunter Holloway (USA) & Eastern Jam, Hays Investment Corp – 0 | 4 – 78.66
11) Alberto Michan (ISR) & Itchcock Des Dames , Marco Zamudio – 0 | 4 – 78.71
12) Sharn Wordley (NZL) & Bull Run’s Risen , Della Wordley – 0 | 4 – 79.26
Source: Press Release from WEC – World Equestrian Center
Photos: © Andrew Ryback Photography