Gregory Wathelet Drives Away with $145,100 Go Rentals CSI3* Grand Prix Win
Gregory Wathelet (BEL) has an ace up his sleeve.
With Ace Of Hearts, Wathelet took home arguably his biggest win of Desert Circuit so far on Sunday of Desert Circuit VIII in the $145,100 Go Rentals CSI3* 1.55m Grand Prix. As one of only two clear rounds, Wathelet sealed the deal in the second-to-last week of his Californian winter tour.
Up against Vanessa Mannix (CAN) and Kingston, Wathelet had the disadvantage of jumping first. He kicked the speed up a notch over the short course while not going all out, but the final rail came down for a quick time and a score of 4 faults.
“He jumped amazing in the first round,” Wathelet reflected on his horse’s performance. “With two [in the jump-off] it’s always a little bit delicate to know what you have to do. I stayed inside to the last one because I found a good line to cut in. He just focused on the [decoration] behind the jump rather than what he had to do, and that caused the 4 [faults] so I was a bit surprised.”
With Mannix pulling two rails along the way, the victory was Wathelet’s.
The Belgian Olympian could see the challenge presented immediately upon walking Marina Azevedo’s (BRA) course. “This week she has built very good but very difficult,” he said. “We saw it yesterday in the National Grand Prix and again today. The fences were big for a three-star. There were some spooky jumps like the wall, the delicate white vertical at [fence] four, and the last line also. It was a bit more technical.”