Israel’s Ashlee Bond landed the biggest prize of the Winter Equestrian Festival this afternoon, winning the Rolex CSI5* grand prix on Karoline of Ballmore, a horse she announced as an addition to her string, just four weeks ago.
As she ended her lap of honour, the 36-year-old passed her winning sash and ribbon to her five-year-old daughter, Scottie. Ashlee will also take home a monetary prize of $165,000 for the win.
“Thank you to my team, my parents, and, first and foremost, to God,” she posted also immediately after the win on Instagram.
Karoline of Ballmore, a 12-year-old black mare by Diarado out of Faraline V (by Convento Van De Helle), is one of 102 BWP horses competing at WEF grand prix level this winter. She had been previously partnered with Margie Engle and was produced jointly by the Philippaerts brothers, Nicola and Ludo, who were able to help Ashlee get to know the mare while in Wellington. “I got the opportunity to school with them, and they know her very well so we’ve jumped some incredibly big fences,” said Ashlee.
Watching the pair jump with unfussy effectiveness round the five-star course designed by Brazil’s Guillherme Jorge, it was easy to see where Ashlee, 37, was coming from when she commented previously that: “Every once in a while, a horse will come along that you click with immediately and that’s what it was like for me with Korra!”
“The grass field is one of the prettiest arenas in the world,” Guillherme said before the class. He also said that the course would be “challenging” and his prediction proved correct, with it producing just five clears out of the 40 entries. Eight partnerships retired – no doubt in part a reflection on the culmination of 13 weeks showing at WEF and the temperature hitting the 90s, with zero breeze as a respite.
Israel’s Daniel Bluman on Ladriane Z shadowed his compatriot’s time of 44.09sec, jumping clear with 44.29sec on the clock to take second place and a purse of $100,000, while Chloe Reid kept the USA in the frame on Souper Shuttle, finishing third with a time of 47.63sec.
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