The WEC Grand Arena hosted thrilling equestrian sport Saturday for the $200,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix, the finale of the Winter Spectacular. Courses for the classes were co-designed by Anderson Lima of Brazil and Bobby Murphy of Lexington, Kentucky, and featured technical tracks with multiple combinations. Stunning floral decorations and other fanciful elements including a lovely Lugano water feature, a unique World Equestrian Center – Ocala Equestrian Hotel wall, and an elegant golden ring jump made the last Saturday evening under the lights extra special.
Forty-seven entries took to the WEC Grand Arena under the lights for the $200,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix. Ten entries advanced to the jump-off, but it was Aaron Vale and Taylor Granat’s Candro Van De Zuuthoeve (Thunder Van De Zuuthoeve x Walach Van De Zuuthoeve) that set the pace with a time that would prove unbeatable.
During the 12-week Winter Spectacular at World Equestrian Center – Ocala, Aaron Vale took 1st place in four grand prix classes. Though Vale and Candro Van De Zuuthoeve had landed in the top few placings in grand prix classes several times throughout the season, the pair had yet to secure a win. On Saturday, Vale and the 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding were first to contest the course in the jump-off. They set the pace with an impossibly quick, clear round in 41.208 seconds, which would ultimately prove unbeatable.
Just behind Vale and Candro Van De Zuuthoeve were Molly Ashe Cawley and Louisburg Farm’s Berdien (Bustique x Queen Z). Ashe Cawley and the 10-year-old Zangersheide mare topped the $20,000 WEC Welcome Prix just two days ago, preparing them well for the class. The duo delivered a clear jump-off in 41.641 seconds, just four-tenths of a second behind Vale for 2nd place.
Rounding out the top three placings were Bryn Sadler and Showcase 81, LLC’s Cinven CR (Clearway x Raissa CR). Sadler and the 13-year-old Holsteiner gelding have earned top placings in grand prix and welcome prix classes throughout the season and brought their A-game. The pair navigated a clear jump-off round in 43.235 seconds for 3rd place.
$200,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix Results
- Candro Van De Zuuthoeve, Aaron Vale – 0 | 0 | 41.208
- Berdien, Molly Ashe Cawley – 0 | 0 | 41.641
- Cinven CR, Bryn Sadler – 0 | 0 | 43.235
- Quincy Too, Fernando Cardenas – 0 | 0 | 45.113
- Valentine Car, Fernando Cardenas – 0 | 0 | 45.305
- Major, Aaron Vale – 0 |4 | 41.038
- Wellington Grey Goose, Rowan Willis – 0 | 4 | 43.169
- Fantasy BB, Jonathan McCrea – 0 | 4 | 44.204
- Darius, Sean Jobin – 0 | 4 | 47.151
- Arpeggi, Brooke Kemper – 0 | 4 | 54.115
Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.