Wellington, FL – Filip de Wandel of Mechanicsburg, PA, and his own Gentley, earned their first win of 2016, topping a competitive class in the $30,000 Nutrena Grand Prix at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) on Sunday, January 3. De Wandel and Gentley impressed in the first grand prix competition of the New Year at PBIEC, crossing through the jump-off timers in 42.866 seconds to take top honors. Emanuel Andrade of Wellington, FL, showcased immense talent around the jump-off track, finishing in second and third place aboard ZZ-Top VH Schaarbroek Z and Boy IV, respectively. Competition at PBIEC continues tomorrow, Wednesday, January 6, with the ESP Holiday Finale, which will highlight the final grand prix of the 2015 ESP Holiday Series, the $50,000 UHealth Ear Institute Grand Prix on Sunday, January 10, and will begin at 12:00pm.
Gentley, a 2006 Belgian Warmbood gelding (Bentley x Ulatrice) was bred by de Wandel’s father, Antoine de Wandel in Belgium, and began his career with Filip de Wandel at the young age of three. The seasoned duo mastered the track, completing a solid first round before dominating the jump-off. The pair also rode to a top three finish in the $10,000 UHealth Ear Institute Open Stake on Thursday, December 31, taking second place honors.
“When I walked the course I thought it was big enough for a pre-circuit grand prix and was set at a very good height. I was doing this class with him as a warm-up class for the WEF circuit and it worked out really well for us,” explained de Wandel. “He jumped well on Thursday and I felt very confident coming into this class today that we would do the same. You can always have one down or something, but he felt careful today.”
Andrade made a valiant effort to catch de Wandel’s time, finishing in 43.318 seconds aboard ZZ-Top VH Schaarbroek and 45.616 seconds on Boy IV, but settled with a second and third place in the class of 32 entries. De Wandel explained that Gentley has a strong talent for maintaining speed in jump-off rounds, especially when there are significant galloping stretches throughout the course.
He stated, “His strengths are in the jump-off rounds. This jump-off suited him very well because there were a lot of places where you could gallop. On him, you can just continue to gallop and he will keep jumping well. It’s really nice because I know that I can focus on being quick and he will stay careful.” The partnership formed between the pair in their seven-year tenure together has been proven with several successful results this season at the grand prix level. Earning their first ever career grand prix win together at PBIEC, de Wandel was elated with the Gentley’s performance on Sunday afternoon.
“He’s ten now and I’ve had him since he was just three-years-old. It’s been a very special partnership for us. He’s been doing the grand prix classes very well this year. He placed at the Hampton Classic over the summer and he’s brought home a lot of ribbons, but we never were able to get a win. It feels great to start this circuit off with a win under our belts,” he noted. With their first win in hand, de Wandel plans to use Gentley throughout the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) circuit and is hopeful the pair will be able to contest some of the larger classes offered throughout the season. De Wandel explained, “I think I will try to start this circuit off doing the CSI 2* and 3* classes and see how he handles them before we decide if he’s ready for something bigger. If he does well, we will try to go as far as we can with him because he is very talented.”
“He’s my only grand prix horse so I always need to be aware of what we’re doing with him. Our plan has been to only do five or six weeks throughout circuit. He’s started so well this year though that I think we’re in a place where we can hold off on the first week of WEF and do a CSI 2*. We’ll see how he does and go from there,” he continued.
For more information on PBIEC and to view a full weekly schedule, please visit www.pbiec.com.
Final Results $30,000 Nutrena Grand Prix
1. GENTLEY, 2006 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Bentley x Ulatrice FILIP DE WANDEL, Filip de Wandel: 0/0/42.866
2. ZZ-TOP VH SCHAARBROEK Z, 2001 Zangersheide mare by Zandor Z x Laconia EMANUEL ANDRADE, Emanuel Andrade: 0/0/43.318
3. BOY IV, 2007 Oldenburg gelding by Sandro Boy x Samira III EMANUEL ANDRADE, Emanuel Andrade: 0/0/45.616
4. WELCOME COR, 2006 Holsteiner mare by Caretino x Lepata WILHELM GENN, Ann Anastasio: 0/4/43.889
5. ACAPULCO Z, 2005 Zangersheide stallion by Action Breaker x Ultima DANIEL ZETTERMAN, Gyllebo Farm LLC: 0/4/44.487
6. VDL TORLANDO, 2000 Royal Dutch Warmblood stallion by Corland x Nirona CALLAN SOLEM, Torlando Group: 1/80.056
7. TOSCANE DE L’ISLE, 2007 Selle Francais mare by Mylord Carthago x Farandole Violaine SYDNEY SHULMAN, Jill Shulman: 1/80.183
8. CHAKITO, 2006 Oldenburg gelding by Chacco Blue x Depardienne RAMIRO QUINTANA, Auer Sport Horses LLC: 2/81.998