By Kate Pettersen for Equestrian Sport Productions
Wellington, FL – April 22, 2021 – The third week of the 2021 ESP Spring Series opened with a brilliant victory for Nayel Nassar (EGY) and Oaks Redwood, owned by Evergate Stables, LLC, as they flew to the top of the podium with a speedy clear round in the $37,000 Perfect Products 1.45m Jumpers CSI3*.
The ESP Spring Series includes a total of five weeks of competition until Sunday, May 15. Spring III is ongoing as the hunter’s campaign at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) while three-star jumper competition takes place at Equestrian Village. Friday’s schedule will feature the $37,000 Equine Tack and Nutritionals Qualifier CSI3* and $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Palm Beach Equine Clinic, in the International Arena at PBIEC. A busy weekend will be highlighted by the $37,000 Nutrena 1.50m Classic CSI3* on Saturday, followed by the $137,000 Palm Beach County Sports Commission Grand Prix CSI3* and the $35,000 Wellington Agricultural Services Spring III Grand Prix on Sunday, April 25. Feature classes will be available live and on-demand for free on the livestream.
Olympic course designer Guilherme Jorge (BRA) set a challenging speed track for a field of 39 horse-and-rider combinations during the opening day of competition on the grass Derby Field. It was Nassar and the 16-year-old gelding by ASB Conquistador x Verdi to answer all the questions in the quickest time, stopping the clock in 60.52 seconds to claim the victory.
“I had a bit of an advantage today with two horses in the class,” Nassar explained. “I got to get my feel for the course the first time around. With ‘Basil,’ I really wanted to use his stride to my advantage, and I know he turns really well to the left, so my plan was to leave strides out on the left bends and then stick to what everyone else was doing on the right bends, and it happened to work out today.”
Brazil’s Eduardo Menezes and his own Calypso Des Matis, a nine-year-old Selle Français gelding by Padock du Plessis*HN, came close, finishing less than two-tenths of a second behind the leading time in 60.71 seconds. Their clear effort would help them finish the day in the runner-up spot. In the end, three different nations were represented on the podium as Santiago Lambre (MEX) and Mario Onate’s Comtess 202, a 10-year-old Westphalian mare by Comme Il Faut 5 x Pilot, finished third in a time of 61.13 seconds.
Nassar is currently ranked 39th in the world and has represented Egypt at the World Equestrian Games. This week he will campaign three different horses in three-star competition, including the talented chestnut gelding “Basil” who he calls a fiery competitor in the ring.
“He is just such a ring horse,” said Nassar. “When you see him at home, you would never peg him as a horse to win a speed class like this but as soon as you go in the ring, he really lights up. He knows that it’s when the job is most important and really likes to step up to the plate. He lights up for me when I need him.”
The 30-year-old rider has been competing in Wellington, Florida, throughout the winter circuit and the opportunity to pick up some extra time in the ring at the ESP Spring Series is something he’s grateful for.
“It has been wonderful,” he said of the additional three-star weeks offered at the ESP Spring Series. “We’re really thankful to management for putting on these extra weeks, especially on the grass [Derby Field]. I have a few newer rides this year so it was nice to get to know them during the circuit, but I finally feel like I can be competitive with them, so this was a great opportunity to bring my horses back out here and try to win some classes.”
In the first class of the day, Peter Leone (USA) and Donner, owned by Lionshare Farm, captured the $6,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.40m Jumpers. Leone and the 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding by Thunder VD Auuthoeve x Heartbreaker put forth a double-clear effort in the two-phase format, crossing the finish line in 29.44 seconds in the speed portion to take the win. Margie Engle (USA) and Cesna M, owned by Virginia Bartholomay, rode to second place in a fault-free time of 29.84 seconds, followed by Menezes on his own H Big Action in third place with a clear time of 31.88 seconds.
Final Results: $37,000 Perfect Products1.45m Jumpers CSI3*
1. OAKS REDWOOD: 2005 Warmblood gelding by ASB Conquistador x Verdi
NAYEL NASSAR (EGY), Evergate Stables, LLC: 0/60.52
2. CALYPSO DES MATIS: 2012 Selle Français gelding by Padock du Plessis*HN
EDUARDO MENEZES (BRA), Eduardo Menezes: 0/60.71
3. COMTESS 202: 2011 Westphalian mare by Comme Il Faut 5 x Pilot
SANTIAGO LAMBRE (MEX), Mario Onate: 0/61.13
4. VINCI DE BEAUFOUR: 2009 Selle Français gelding by Diamant de Semilly x Heartbreaker
DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Devon MacNeil: 0/61.28
5. CHRISTOS: 2009 Holsteiner gelding by Cristo 5 x Linaro
BLISS HEERS (USA), Bridgeside Farms LLC: 0/63.17
6. AMALIA: 2012 KWPN mare by Arezzo VDL x Emilion
DANIEL COYLE (IRL), Ariel Grange: 0/63.24
7. IMAGINE: 2013 KWPN mare by Emerald x Heartbreaker
ASHLEE BOND (ISR), Aurora Farms and Little Valley Farms: 0/63.70
8. H.BIG ACTION: 2012 KWPN Stallion by Action-Breaker x Big Star
EDUARDO MENEZES (BRA), Eduardo Menezes: 0/64.26
9. KALINKA DE KALVARIE: 2010 BWP mare by Mr Blue x Acord I
BEN MAHER (GBR), Poden Farms: 0/64.83
10. GAMBLE: 2011 KWPN gelding by Vingino x Indoctro
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Asta Torokvei: 0/65.03
11. TUPAC VAN DE VROMBAUTSHOEVE Z: 2010 Zangersheide gelding by Thunder VD Zuuthoeve x Oma VD
KEVIN MEALIFF (IRL), Oakmont Stables, LLC: 0/65.05
12. CINDERELLA Z: 2010 Zangersheide mare by Chacco-Blue x Julio Mariner XX
MARK REID (IRL), Caroline’s Kids, LLC: 0/65.17