By Kate Pettersen, and Summer Grace for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
The $37,000 Gold Coast Feed & Nutrition Classic CSI2* kicked off international competition on the final Friday of the 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival. A full line-up of 68 horse-and-rider combinations prepared to contest Olaf Petersen Jr.’s (GER) first-round track which included a total of 15 jumping efforts set at the 1.45m height. The class saw riders and horses ranging in experience levels but only a baker’s dozen of the competitors left all fences standing within the time to earn their spot in the jump-off. Veteran professional Laura Chapot (USA) ended up in the top spot after flying through the timers with Chandon Blue in 33.69 seconds.
Four entries of the original field were knocked out of the jump-off return by a lone time fault while another 16 fell victim to a single downed rail. Young professional Kelli Cruciotti-Vanderveen (USA) was the first to return and set the early pace as she and her own 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare Hadja Van Orshof (Cabrio Van de Heffinck), crossed through the timers fault-free in 37.60 seconds. Cruciotti-Vanderveen ultimately landed the eighth place position.
Great Britain’s Jessica Mendoza finished in the final top-three spot with Casanova 499, a 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Clarimo x Wencke. She and Carly Day’s gelding put in a clean finish with a time of 34.27 seconds. American ridersclaimed the remaining two positions with Katherine Strauss in the runner-up position and Chapot leading the pack. Strauss cruised to the finish line with Katherine Strauss LLC’s 16-year-old KWPN gelding (Aachen x Indoctro) All In after producing a clean effort with an efficient time of 34.22 seconds.
Chapot’s efforts with her established partner, Mary Chapot’s Chandon Blue earned her the victory when the speedy pair flew through the timers at 33.69 seconds. Chapot and Chandon Blue have celebrated many upper-level victories together in the years since they teamed up and continue to prove to be a successful pair in any venue.
“I got [Chandon Blue] late in life as he was already coming 13 years old, but he had a fantastic year in 2019,” said Chapot of the 16-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Chacco Blue x Landcapitol). “I think he won roughly six of these classes that winter.”
The pair were not a regular combination in last year’s events as Chapot explained that a minor injury kept her mount out of the game for a majority of the season.
“He ended up having a year off which kind of worked out nicely with the COVID-19 restrictions,” she detailed. “We were able to bring him back up slowly, and he has been jumping better every time, so I’m really thrilled to win this class today.”
She described that she did not chase the win against the string of top competitors today but instead just let her mount ride the track his natural way.
“I didn’t want to get caught up trying to chase anyone so I just thought about sticking to my plan and making sure my horse jumped well,” explained Chapot. “He is a very fast horse so if we are consistent it is usually enough to end up towards the top. He has a great heart and tries his hardest for me each time out in the ring.”
The headliner for the qualifying event, the $50,000 The Wanderer’s Club Grand Prix CSI2*, will take place Sunday, April 4, as the final international event of this year’s Winter Equestrian Festival.
Final Results: $37,000 Gold Coast Feed & Nutrition Classic CSI2*
1. CHANDON BLUE: 2005 Oldenburg gelding by Chacco Blue x Landcapitol
LAURA CHAPOT (USA), Mary Chapot: 0/0/33.696
2. ALL IN: 2005 KWPN gelding by Aachen x Indoctro
KATHERINE STRAUSS (USA), Katherine Strauss LLC: 0/0/34.224
3. CASANOVA 499: 2011 Holsteiner gelding by Clarimo x Wencke
JESSICA MENDOZA (GBR), Carly Day: 0/0/34.27
4. BOHEME DE LA ROQUE: 2011 Selle Français mare by Kannan x Medine d’Amaury
GRACE DEBNEY (GBR), Eurl Top Stallions Company: 0/0/34.513
5. MILLIONINMIND: 2007 ISH gelding by ARD VDL Douglas
EMILY WARD (GBR), Steven Barnes: 0/0/34.633
6. CON COLEUR: 2009 Hanoverian gelding by Contendro I x Couleur Rubin
REBECCA CONWAY (USA), Blue Hill Farm, LLC: 0/0/35.513
7. SCATO VAN DE MOLENBRUG Z: 2010 Zangersheide stallion by Scendix x Charisma
JENNIFER WAXMAN (USA), Daniel Bluman and The Scato Group LLC: 0/0/35.764
8. HADJA VAN ORSHOF: 2007 Belgian Warmblood mare by Cabrio van de Heffinck
KELLI CRUCIOTTI VANDERVEEN (USA), Kelli Cruciotti: 0/0/37.604
9. UPPER: 2008 Selle Francais gelding by Diamant de Semilly x Nadir de San Patrignano
DAVID OBERKIRCHER (USA), Southfields Farm LLC: 0/4/34.453
10. BALOTELLI 5: 2010 Hanoverian gelding by Balou du Rouet x Contendro I
MATTHEW BODDY (IRL), Purple Road, LLC: 0/4/34.588
11. ALMA Z: 2007 Oldenburg mare by Chacco-Blue x Pablo
DANIEL CYPHERT (USA), Heathman Farm, LLC: 0/4/35.346
12. GOTCHA: 2011 Holsteiner mare by Stakkato x Cassini I
SIMON MCCARTHY (IRL), Rock Ridge Farms: 0/4/34.236