Wellington, FL - Katherine Bateson (USA) and Alcazar were victorious during Friday night's FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 4*, presented by Havensafe Farm, at the 2017 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, FL.
AGDF 10 takes place from March 15-19 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center and features the CDI 4* and FEI Grand Prix Freestyle, presented by Havensafe Farm; CDI 3*, presented by The Dutta Corporation; and CDI 1*, presented by CaptiveOne. The week also features a National Show and the 2017 Florida International Youth Dressage Championships.
Bateson and Alcazar, a 2005 KWPN gelding (Cantango x Polina) owned by Jane Forbes Clark, climbed to the top of the leaderboard in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 4*, presented by Havensafe Farm, earning a score of 73.325%.
"I'm thrilled to win tonight," said Bateson. "Alcazar felt amazing. He always gets a little excited with the clapping, so when we are warming up next to all of the clapping he sometimes gets a bit hysterical. He became calmer as time went on. When he got into the ring, I think he was relieved to take a breath for the rest of my test. He really tried though super hard for me, and that means a lot. We've been through a lot this past year, so this is really special." Alcazar underwent serious colic surgery less than a year ago and has overcome many challenges to work back into the competition ring.
Bateson continued, "He had colic surgery during the show in Aachen, and it was quite serious. He had a lot of gut removed. We had incredible surgeons, and we were blessed to be in the right place. I was unlucky to have it happen, but lucky to be where we were. To be honest, he had the surgery and then he never looked back. He was off for three months and then came back, almost better than ever. Just to have him alive, because they didn't give him much of a chance, (and) for him to be back not long after and winning a CDI 4*, is pretty amazing."
Of her freestyle ride to Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk," Bateson commented, "It's the same basic music that I had last year, but I knew that I had to increase my degree of difficulty. Marlene Whitaker did this one for me and put her heart and soul into this freestyle. I was determined to have 'Uptown Funk' as my song, as soon as I heard it on the radio. I like to pick my own music, so I went through picking it out and then Marlene worked her magic. I just wanted something fun, because he's that kind of horse. I thought it really fit him."
Second place in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 4* was awarded to Shelly Francis (USA) and Doktor, a 2003 Oldenburg gelding (Diamond Hit x Gurena x Renoir I) owned by Patricia Stempel, with 72.950%.
"We got through the test without any big bobbles," said Francis, "but we still have little things where he gets a little nervous. This summer he got really afraid of the audience in Rotterdam when we went, so now he's still really afraid of them. Otherwise, he was a little easier to ride than the last show. At least we made our canter pirouettes on the correct lead this time! He's a good boy, and he's really fun. He tries super hard; sometimes a little too hard. He's a really cool horse."
Juan Matute Guimon (ESP) and Quantico Ymas, a 2006 Hanoverian gelding (Fighting Fit x Hauptstutbuch) owned by Juan F. Matute, took third place with a 71.775%.
Matue rode Quantico to the FEI Grand Prix CDI 4* victory on Thursday. Of his freestyle ride, Matute said, "This is only his second season doing Grand Prix, so I have to keep that in mind when we decide which shows he competes in. The goal is to keep gaining experience in the Grand Prix. He felt really good today, very calm. I was actually worried that with the crowd and the lights and the noises, he was going to be overwhelmed, but today we've learned that he can take the pressure pretty well."
Judge at C, Janet Foy (USA), noted, "I think to have these three top riders tonight is really thrilling for all of us. Their freestyles were very difficult, the choreography was really wonderful, and I know that they were all a little disappointed after the Grand Prix because they all made some little mistakes. Tonight, you could really see the determination on their faces. As judges, I think that looking at the results, we all loved the top three and we all found some wonderful highlights."
Betsy Juliano, of AGDF 10 sponsor Havensafe Farm, said, "It's a real thrill to be participating in this, particularly tonight because I've watched these riders for a long time and I think that the privilege of being in Wellington in the winter is that you get to see horses and riders grow and improve over a long period of time. It's a privilege and honor to watch the elevation of the sport year after year, and this facility and atmosphere really promotes that."
Competition at AGDF will continue today with a full schedule of classes, including the FEI Intermediaire 1 Freestyle CDI 1*, presented by CaptiveOne, the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3*, presented by The Dutta Corp, and the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 4*, presented by Havensafe Farm. For more information and to see a full list of results, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.
Final Results: FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 4*, presented by Havensafe Farm
Place, Rider, Nationality, Horse, Horse Information: Judge E%, Judge H%, Judge C%, Judge M%, Judge B%, Total %
1. Katherine Bateson- Chandler (USA), Alcazar, 2005 KWPN gelding by Cantango x Polina, owned by Jane Forbes Clark: 75.000%, 74.000%, 71.875%, 73.000%, 72.750%, 73.325%
2. Shelly Francis (USA), Doktor, 2003 Oldenburg gelding by Diamond Hit x Gurena x Renoir I, owned by Patricia Stempel: 72.625%, 71.375%, 72.625%, 73.750%, 74.375%, 72.950%
3. Juan Matute Guimon (ESP), Quantico Ymas, 2006 Hanoverian gelding by Fighting Fit x Hauptstutbuch, owned by Juan F Matute: 71.875%, 71.125%, 74.000%, 72.875%, 69.000%, 71.775%
4. Jill Irving (CAN), Degas 12, 2002 Warmblood gelding by De Niro x Rosana M x Regazonni, owned by Jill Irving: 71.250%, 72.750%, 70.625%, 71.625%, 71.375%, 71.525%
5. Jacqueline Brooks (CAN), D Niro, 1998 Swedish Warmblood gelding by D day x Alitalia x Napoleon 625, owned by Brookhaven Dressage Inc.: 71.000%, 70.875%, 69.875%, 68.375%, 70.000%, 70.025%
6. Maria Florencia Manfredi (ARG), Bandurria Kacero, 2005 SA gelding by Wonderboy Sdtal Ghyuan x Bandurria Farola, owned by Enrique Sztyrle: 66.000%, 68.125%, 71.125%, 69.125%, 67.875%, 68.450%
7. Ellesse Tzinberg (PHI), Pavarotti 85, 1997 KWPN gelding by Ferro x Geante x Saros, owned by Ellesse Tzinberg: 66.250%, 59.875%, 62.875%, 64.250%, 59.500%, 62.550%