Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 24, 2018 – The second CSI5* Grand Prix of the Winter Equestrian Festival season attracted 40 of the world’s top-ranked horses and riders to the International Ring Saturday evening, each vying for the lion’s share of the pot in the $384,000 Rolex CSI5* Grand Prix. Israel’s Danielle Goldstein and Lizziemary ultimately outrode the field as one of only two double clear pairs of the evening, besting reserve champion Liubov Kochetova’s effort aboard Veneno by nearly ten seconds in the jump-off.
Course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) crafted a techinical 17-effort first round track, including an open water jump, for the evening’s group of contenders. Unlike the last CSI5* class held two weeks ago when only two pairs rode a clean first round to be eligible for the jump-off, this evening’s class saw six duos leave all the rails in the cups within the time allowed to advance. Of the six competitors returning for the abridged course, five nations were represented, with only USA qualifying more than one pair for the final test.
As the sixth to go in the first phase, Russia’s Kochetova and her own Veneno navigated the first ride of the class with reason to celebrate, followed by Jessica Springsteen of USA aboard RMF Swinny Du Parc, owned by Rushy Marsh Farm LLC, twelve trips later. Adding a third woman rider to the jump-off, Goldstein and Lizziemary, owned by Goldstein and The Golden Group, subsequently put their names on the list of returning pairs. Representing the boys, Brazilian Yuri Mansur piloted Louisie Weber’s Babylotte to a clean and clear ride, immediately followed by Canada’s Eric Lamaze and Chacco Kid, owned by Chacco Kid Group. American McLain Ward and his trusty partner HH Azur, owned by Double H Farm and Francois Mathy, rounded out the elite group with their careful ride.
First back for the jump-off, Kochetova and Veneno started on a good note without dropping any rails, but tripped the timers in a conservative 45.772 seconds to open the door for those that would follow. Springsteen and her mount rode a blazing track in 37.248 seconds, but fell victim to two rails. The first two contenders were quickly surpassed by Goldstein and Lizziemary, who navigated D’Ambrosio’s shortened course in a fiery 35.922 seconds, leaving all the rails up to propel themselves to the early lead. Mansur and Lamaze both pushed their horses for maximum effort with blazing trips, but also dropped rails with only World-ranked #3 Ward and the decorated HH Azur left to go. In the end, Ward and the mare had neither the time nor the clean ride, as they dropped the front rail of the final oxer to break the beam in 36.606 seconds to settle for third position behind champion Goldstein and runner-up Kochetova.
Team Israel has been making waves at WEF this year, with Daniel Bluman and now Goldstein claiming the first two CSI 5* events of the circuit. With their long-term sights set on this year’s World Equestrian Games in Tryon. N.C. and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, the two have been turning heads as they successfully represent Israel in many of the major classes at WEF. Israel has never fielded an equestrian team in the Olympic Games before, but Bluman and Goldstein are leading the charge to change that and hopefully make history.
The seventh week of WEF competition will conclude Sunday, but not before a new group of jumpers take to the ring for a shot at the top prize in the FEI 5* $70,000 Hollow Creek 1.50m Classic and the FEI 2* $50,000 Dutta Corp Grand Prix. Elite jumper competition will continue for five more weeks at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, with the FEI $150,000 Nations Cup and the FEI CSI5* $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix serving as two of the remaining highlight events.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Danielle Goldstein – $384,000 Rolex CSI5* Grand Prix champion
“The horse had a big summer and jumped the European Championships, so I was a little bit easy in the fall and was building her up towards these 5* classes. She jumped beautifully tonight. She’s funny. Chestnut mares always have a reputation of being a little bit quirky and she is. She’s a little fussy with her face and with her mouth, but she goes in the ring and she’s always on the job. She tries her heart out and tonight she really jumped great.”
On her history and plans with Lizziemary:
“She’s a wonderful horse and we clicked right away. As soon as I got her, the first grand prix we went in, she won. We both trust each other. It works out well in big classes when you can trust each other. Now we have a bunch of experience under our belt. That’s the hope [to take her to the World Equestrian Games]. I would like to do it on her.”
On her jump-off ride:
“I had walked nine [strides to the final fence]. My groom kept telling me there was an eight, and I just thought ‘I don’t know, that seems far away,’ but I got a good shot at the skinny and I took it and the horse jumped great. It worked out tonight.”
On the success of Israeli rider at WEF:
“Daniel [Bluman] has won two grand prix classes this season, so it has been a big season which has been wonderful. We have been building for a few years trying to get a number of riders up to this level, and it’s all coming together right now. Hopefully we can keep it rolling and get ready for bigger things. It means everything [that Israel is going well] because there’s only a few of us at the moment, not a huge group, from Israel, so we’re a close knit group and it means the world to us. We have big plans for the future as far as the World Equestrian Games and hopefully the Olympics, so it’s certainly going well. All we want to do is go to the Olympics and represent our country well. Everyone wants to win a medal, but for Israel it’s a huge deal. The country has never fielded and equestrian team at the Olympics, so we feel like at the moment we’re building towards something really great.”
Liubov Kochetova – $384,000 Rolex CSI5* Grand Prix reserve champion
“He is still young, he is only 10 years old. He started to jump the grand prix just a half year ago, and has been getting good experience since then. I got him from Germany when he was 5 years old. He’s a very good horse – just a bit spooky – but he’s doing amazing. He just needs more experience with night classes because he is a little bit nervous at the jumps, and it’s a little bit difficult to jump because when a horse is more brave it’s easier. Today, I’m so happy with him. He had two clear rounds. When I just got him I would warm him up and he was very spooky, I was worried how I would jump him in these jumper classes.”
McLain Ward – $384,000 Rolex CSI5* Grand Prix third place
On his jump-off ride:
“Azur was brilliant. She jumped two brilliant rounds. Danielle put up a great jump-off round. It wasn’t easy to beat, and she actually did eight [strides] to the last, which I hadn’t walked. I thought is was nine, and when I rolled back on the skinny, it didn’t show up exactly the way I wanted and Azur made a great move to clear it, but we landed very far to the left. I just didn’t see the line to do it so I chickened out and did nine. I knew nine was too slow, so I was trying to do nine quickly and just drove her through the front rail. It was rider error. Danielle put up a great effort and I wasn’t going to be able to back into winning this.”
$384,000 Rolex CSI5* Grand Prix
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / R1 Faults / R2 Faults / Time
1. Lizziemary / Danielle Goldstein / ISR / 0 / 0 / 35.922
2. Veneno / Liubov Kochetova / RUS / 0 / 0 / 45.772
3. HH Azur / McLain Ward / USA / 0 / 4 / 36.606
4. Chacco Kid / Eric Lamaze / CAN / 0 / 4 / 37.238
5. Babylotte / Yuri Mansur / BRA / 0 / 4 / 39.285
6. RMF Swinny Du Parc / Jessica Springsteen / USA / 0 / 8 / 37.248
7. Sancha LS / Daniel Bluman / ISR / 4 / 74.21
8. Blue Movie / Rowan Willis / AUS / 4 / 75.32
9. Cita / Daniel Coyle / IRL / 4 / 78.11
10. Coriandolo Di Ribano / Lauren Tisbo / USA / 4 / 78.24
For the full results, please click here.