On Friday during Week 5 of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), the first five-star week of the season continued with a victory for Germany’s Rupert Carl Winkelmann in the $62,500 Bainbridge CSI5* 1.50m Speed. Fifty-six competitors took to 2024 Olympic course designer Gregory Bodo’s (FRA) track looking to beat the clock.
Winkelmann and Quinn 33 (Quidam De Revel x Contender), owned by Einkendorf Horses GMBH & Co. KG, set the lead early in the order and never looked back. Going eleventh in the order, the pair completed the track in a clear 60.52 seconds.
“We’re very happy. This is actually my first five-star at WEF, so to come out here and win it is great,” said Winkelmann, 31. “I’ve had the horse [Quinn 33] for several years now.”
During the 2023 season at WEF, Quinn 33 was also piloted to international wins with U.S. rider Tanner Korotkin.
“After last season I took over the reins and he’s been great,” continued Winkelmann. “He’s naturally fast and careful as well, so the ride on him is fun. My job is to think ‘slow’ and he takes care of the rest.” The 14-year-old gelding will continue at the 1.50m level throughout the season, as that is where Winkelmann feels he shines.
Following the winner was Venezuela’s Luis Fernando Larrazabal, and Belle De Muze (Ponsee V), owned by Driss Ngadi. The pair took second with a hair-splitting time of 60.92 seconds, nearly catching the lead as one of the last to go. Taking third was Canada’s Erynn Ballard and Game Over (Ukato x Lord Calando), owned by Ilan Ferder, jumping a clear 61.80 seconds.
“Sean [Crooks] and I started working together this year and he’s been a great help on the ground,” said Winkelmann of his new training partnership. “It’s been not even six weeks and I already feel improvement with the horses and more consistent.
“I’ve been working by myself for the past year, so I figured to take the next step in the sport,” continued Winkelmann. “It was time to have someone by my side to guide me through it, whether that be on the ground or helping me make a course plan. He’s already helped me feel more confident going into the ring.”
Winkelmann will return to the International Arena with a different mount, Calvados Sun, owned by Einkendorf Horses GMBH & Co. KG, for the week’s feature event in the $385,000 Fidelity Investments® CSI5* Grand Prix, hosted Saturday, February 10, at 7pm during ‘Saturday Night Lights.’
Felicie de Coquerie and Karime Perez Nunez Score Career Win in $32,000 1/st Racing CSI2* Qualifier
The $32,000 1/ST Racing CSI2* Qualifier lit up jumper competition in the International Arena on Friday as Karime Perez Nunez (MEX) topped a field of 57 horse-and-rider combinations. Gregory Bodo (FRA) designed a track worthy of its competitors but advanced 15 starters onto the short course while time played a significant factor for four entries keeping them from contending in the jump-off.
The time to beat became tighter and tighter as the challengers put forth their best rounds but only five navigated to a double-clean effort. Among those five, Nunez and her own nine-year-old Selle Français mare Felicie de Coquerie (Malito de Reve x Quiniou) sailed into the lead as the only pair to stop the clock under 40 seconds with a finishing time of 39.29 seconds. The win was a stellar and defining moment in Nunez’s career, much of which she credits to Ilan Ferder.
“I was riding in La Silla (MEX) and Ilan was there competing. He saw me flatting my horse one morning and came over and asked if I wanted to be part of his team,” Nunez stated. “I figured why not start a new adventure, so I talked to my friend and my parents and two months later I was here in Florida as a working student for him. That was two years ago now.”
Nunez’s partnership with her spicy mare began shortly after her arrival to Ferder’s program when the young horse was still quite new to competition and is one she is proud to have developed.
“When I first started riding her at the beginning of her seven-year-old year she was really green and wild, but she has grown up so much,” she laughed. “She used to put everyone on the ground but I liked her character because I knew if I could get her to trust me, she would fight for me all of the way.
“I bought her after I started riding with Ilan and developed her little by little,” she continued. “Last year, I jumped the high amateur division with her and at the end of the year we did our first two-stars. She will just be turning nine this year and I’m so happy with how she’s developed and where she is at this early on in her FEI career.”
While Nunez was at first unsure about bringing her mount back for the short track in order to save her for Sunday’s grand prix, she decided that it would be a good learning experience and it was one that paid off.
“She doesn’t have a big step but she is so good with turning and she wastes no time in the air, so this was a good jump-off for her,” she confirmed. “The more she jumps, the better she gets.”
The victory lap featured a truly international field as Alexandra Worthington (USA) clocked in just behind Nunez on Turn a Blind Eye LLC’s 11-year-old Selle Français gelding by Kapitol D’argonne, De L’oiseliere, with a time of 40.10 seconds, and Grace Debney represented her home nation of Great Britain aboard Temple Equestrian LLC’s 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare by Eldorado vd Zeshoek, Jesprit H.S. Two-star competition culminates in the $62,500 1/ST Racing Grand Prix.