As the curtain prepares to come down on the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival, the statistics are almost finalised and McLain Ward is second in the prize money stakes with a total of $165,030. He may add to that today when he brings out the ‘adrenaline junkie’ Catoki in the $50,000 1.50m National Grand Prix – the closing class of the festival in the International Arena at Wellington International.
Ireland’s Bertram Allen tops the leaderboard of winnings with a current purse of $184,500 and he too has a chance to top that up riding Emmylou this afternoon. Britain’s Ben Maher will take home $156,280 from WEF unless he and Sentimiento LS La Silla land a podium spot, as 52 of the top showjumpers currently in Wellington vie for the final spoils.
Temperatures are expected to be more forgiving today after yesterday’s $500,000 CSI5* grand prix was impacted by the heat prompting course designer Brazil’s Guilherme Jorge – who now calls Wellington home – to rethink.
“I made some adjustments in the end because of the heat and the humidity,” he said. “I took the spread out of the last few oxers, because we were all feeling the weather a little bit. But, it was fantastic jumping and conditions of the field. Everything worked out very well, so I’m really happy with it.”
Daniel Bluman, winner of the 2012 edition of this finale grand prix, finished second behind Ashlee Bond on Karoline of Ballmore. Daniel was clear and just off the winning pace of 44.09, in 44.29 seconds with Ladriano Z, owned by Over The Top Stables LLC, which gave Israel a one-two finish. “The field looked beautiful,” he said. “And I think that the Rolex grand prix has to feel different than every other grand prix we jump at in Wellington. That was accomplished today, so congratulations to Gui for that.”
One final WEF class is scheduled at the Stadium Derby Field this morning at 10am as 46 horse-rider combinations contest the $50,000 CSI2* grand prix.
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