Brazil’s Pedro Muylaert and Prince Royal Z MFS led the $130,000 Grand Prix CSI 3* on Friday night, February 17, at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL. Competing in the Global Arena at Equestrian Village at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), Paul O’Shea and Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu finished second, and Jimmy Torano (USA) riding Day Dream placed third.
Richard Jeffery (GBR) set the course for 44 starters in Friday night’s grand prix. Four entries advanced to the jump-off, where O’Shea and Muylaert were the only two to clear the short course without fault.
Muylaert and Stenio da Silva’s Prince Royal Z MFS cleared the course in 37.27 seconds to take the win. O’Shea and Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu stopped the clock in 37.59 seconds to earn second place. Torano and Day Dream were faster in 36.94 seconds, but incurred four faults at the second to last fence in the jump-off. Hardin Towell (USA) also had a fast time in 37.12 seconds riding Evergate Stables’ New York, but dropped three rails on course to finish fourth.
“My plan was to go fast, but not too fast, because I knew there were not too many in the jump-off,” Muylaert said of his winning round. “My plan was to go clear and fast enough to be in the top three, and I could not imagine that we would win.”
Prince Royal Z MFS is a ten-year-old Zangersheide stallion (Prince de Revel x Ramiro Z) that previously jumped in the 2016 Olympic Games with Uruguay’s Nestor Nielsen Van Hoff before changing hands to Muylaert this year.
“This is a new horse for me. I bought him one month ago, and he came straight away for the season,” Muylaert explained. “This is the first week I have shown him, so I am really happy. He is a very good horse, and I have a lot of confidence with him. He has a lot of heart.”
The rider (30) has traveled to Wellington to compete in the Winter Equestrian Festival for three years, and dedicated his win to the late Andres (Chepito) Rodriguez of Venezuela, who passed away tragically in 2016.
“My history coming to Wellington began with a very good friend, Chepito. He was like my brother,” Muylaert acknowledged. “I started coming here with him, and today, this victory is for him because I am here because of him. Everything is for him now. The experience here is super; it is beautiful. Normally, I compete in Brazil, so here is a little different for me, but I am very happy to be here.”
O’Shea has ridden Skara Glen Stable’s Machu Picchu, a ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Silverstone x Matterhorn) since the end of the horse’s seven-year-old year and has seen great progress.
“When he was seven he won three G.P.’s with his previous rider, and when he was eight he won a 1.50m in Dublin at a five-star show, so he has always been pretty consistent and very successful,” O’Shea detailed. “He has not actually knocked a fence yet this year, so I am really happy with him. I tried to go fast tonight, but I was not fast enough. I could have been quicker to the second fence, but other than that I think I did what I could do.
Torano and Day Dream won the $216,000 U.S. Open FEI Grand Prix CSI 3*, presented by Rolex in September under similar surroundings in a small arena under the lights at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show. The nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Zento x Heartbreaker) has been with Torano since he was six, and is also developing well this winter.
“My biggest thing was the rideability, which I think I have gotten down now,” Torano said of his mount. “I really took a shot (in the jump-off). Maybe I overdid it to the second to last jump, but he is an inexperienced horse. He has never really galloped at a big jump like that off the turn, but he was great. I can count how many rails he has had since I have had him. He is a very careful horse, and I hope for a big future with him.”
Great Britain’s Jessica Mendoza was presented the week six Leading Lady Rider Award by Sharon Loayza, on behalf of Martha Jolicoeur of Douglas Elliman Real Estate.
Also competing on Friday, Samuel Parot (CHI) and Couscous van Orti won the $6,000 Illustrated Properties 1.40m on the Derby Field at Equestrian Village. Claire Schreder (USA) and Ceahorse LLC’s Luca Toni 18 were the winners of the Hollow Creek Farm U25 1.40m competition.
Video (c) Nuno Vicente