Gregory Wathelet Reigns Supreme in $145,100 Gillibrand Sand CSI3* Grand Prix
Gregory Wathelet (BEL) got the last word of Desert Circuit III. To conclude FEI jumping in the Grand Prix Arena Sunday afternoon, the Belgian Olympian jumped double-clear and took the win with Clarity in the $145,100 Gillibrand Sand CSI3* Grand Prix.
Wathelet was the final of four pairs to jump clear over Manuel Esparza’s (MEX) first-round track. The course was fair, but presented challenges to many competitors, with even Conor Swail (IRL) just falling short of qualifying for the jump-off. As last to go, Wathelet knew he was up against only one double-clear round, put in by Ali Ramsay (CAN) and Bonita VH Keizershof Z. The time to beat, 42.59 seconds, was efficient but certainly achievable for a rider of his caliber.
“I was the last one, a lucky place, so I could see [others go] and knew what I had to do,” Wathelet said of his strategy in the jump-off. “I haven’t done that many jump-offs with that horse; it’s quite new for me. It’s not the fastest one to take some risks. Maybe I took too many risks.”
The risks paid off, however, for the duo, who had taken multiple top four results but had yet to see a victory here in the desert. Their time of 39.47 seconds awarded them the win by over three seconds.
“We’ve had him for a while, maybe two or three years,” Wathelet said of Clarity, a 2009 Holsteiner gelding (Clarimo x Ephebe For Ever). “He was with a student of mine, [Marie Valdar Longem (NOR)]. I decided to take the reins in September. I knew him for a long time, but he’s only been with me for a few months.”
Gregory Wathelet Reins Supreme in $145,100 Gillibrand Sand CSI3* Grand Prix – Desert International Horse Park (deserthorsepark.com)