Top rider returns to Winter Equestrian Festival after 10-year break to win opener during Nations Cup week

  • Belgium’s Jos Verlooy, who will be representing his country in the Nations Cup at the Winter Equestrian Festival [WEF] on Saturday, jumped to victory in the $37,00 Adequan WEF Challenge Cup on Thursday 3 March riding the 11-year-old black gelding Luciano Van Het Geinstende.

    At the WEF international arena – now peppered with chef d’equipes and riders emblazoned with national flags from the 12 teams competing in the Nations Cup – Jos was delighted to take the prologue win.

    “It gives me great confidence winning the first big class so I’m looking forward to the rest of the week,” he said.

    Jos is back after a 10-year hiatus from riding at WEF.

    “This show is growing,” said Joss. “More and more Europeans are coming over, probably it has a lot to do with Covid. I must say it’s great to show here. It’s different people – different everything. I love the show. I love the people so I’m really happy to be here.”

    Belgium chef d’equipe Peter Weinberg has flown in within the last week along with many of his international counterparts. He was delighted to have five Belgian riders to choose from for the national team.

    Belgium chef d'equipe Peter Weinberg greets Jos after winning round

    Thumbs up from chef d’equipe Peter Weinberg after Jos’ winning round

    “I came for this week, but I know the horses and riders already quite a while. They are in good form, I could see from the results and the livestream videos. That’s how I selected my team.” The team consists of Jos, Zoe and Emilie Conter and Nicola Philippaerts.

    “The thing is that this year there are 12 teams,” said Peter. “And I think there were not that many the last few years so it’s even more difficult this year.”

    Mexico’s Carlos Hank Guerreiro finished 2nd on H5 Sunshine, while Britain’s Jessica Mendoza landed third place riding I-cap ClZ.

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