Harrie Smolders (NED) and Monaco, owned by Evergate Stables, LLC, hit the ground running with a blistering jump-off effort to take the title in the $73,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Classic CSI5* on Sunday, February 28, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) to close out the seventh week of the 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).
A total of 46 combinations challenged the opening round with 11 pairs qualifying to return for the jump-off. Smolders, ranked 20th in the world, piloted Monaco, a 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Cassini II x Contender, to a double-clear effort over the 1.50m track set by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) and Andy Christiansen (ECU). The Flying Dutchman gave credit to his nickname as he edged the competition by just over a tenth of a second, in 38.40 seconds.
“I thought I didn’t have the best start to the jump-off but my roll back to the liverpool [fence seven] was very good,” said Smolders on where he gained the edge to win. “I thought it was a very serious track. There were a lot of faults in the first round. It was a very good course but your horse needed to be in top shape.”
It was Daniel Deusser (GER) and Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z, owned by Stephex and Scuderia 1918, who posted the time to beat ahead of Smolders, stopping the clock at 38.51 seconds. He and the 13-year-old Zangersheide stallion by Tangelo Vd Zuuthoeve x Mr Blue won Thursday’s WEF Challenge Cup Round 7 and continued their prosperous week with another fault-free outing to finish second. Deusser also picked up a win with Kiana van het Herdershof on Friday and finished fourth on Saturday night with Killer Queen VDM.
“This week was definitely not a usual week,” said Deusser, who is poised to move up from third in the world rankings after a month of great results. “Every day I was in the top three and then fourth in the big class with three different horses. I’m very happy about it but I have to keep both feet on the ground and realize that’s not normal. It’s a luxury problem to have. If you have only one horse, it’s probably not fair to the horse because you ride them too many times. For you as a rider, it’s not good because you don’t get enough practice. To ride three or four different horses at this level, it improves you.”
Rounding out the podium was Kent Farrington (USA) aboard Orafina, owned by Kent Farrington, LLC, who also finished double clear for a third-place finish. Farrington and the nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare by For Fashion x Canturo stopped the clock just off the mark in 39.35 seconds.
Photo: Harrie Smolders (NED) and Monaco with Monique Vergouwent of CaptiveOne Advisors in their winning presentation.