Luis Larrazabal Leads the $10,000 FEI 1.40m Welcome Victory Gallop
TerraNova Hunter/Jumper Week 1 international competition kicked off with the FEI jog with all 36 horses presented to the ground jury passing inspection. The day’s feature class, the $10,000 FEI 1.40m Welcome Speed, was designed by Bernardo Costa Cabral, an FEI Level 4 Course Designer from Lisbon, Portugal. Cabral has designed courses for the $350,000 HITS Thermal CSI5* Grand Prix, Royal Windsor Horse Show CSI 5*, National Championships of Chile, Split Rock Jumping Tour and many other CSI5*, 4* and 3* courses in over nine countries. In April, he will design the courses for the FEI World Cup™ Finals Omaha 2023.
“It’s a very welcoming course,” Cabral said. “I’ll see the riders today and take a look at how they perform and then I can tighten a notch for tomorrow or keep the same kind of difficulty. I was (a rider) many years ago. You don’t need to be a rider to be a good designer, but for me, it’s important because I try to design tracks I would like to ride. It’s important to be special and (have) some different turns and it’s all about the flow.”
The FEI Welcome Speed course consisted of 12 obstacles with two one-stride combinations for a total of 14 fences and a time allowed of 84 seconds. As the ninth rider to go, Olympian Daniel Bluman (ISR) and Cachemire de Braize (Quality Touch x Pashmina de Braize- Jaguar Mail), owned by Over the Top Stables LLC, blazed across the track in 63.16 seconds, taking the lead. Seventeen riders later, Adolpho Franco (BRA) and Hanea (Cardento x Dolcunea O.A.), owned by Capital Equine LLC, took a stride out of the opening bending line and took the lead when they crossed the timers at 62.22 seconds.
As the last to go, Luis Larrazabal (VEN) and Baroness (Balous Bellini x Powergirl), owned by LeeAnn Ablin, entered the ring. Franco had the time to beat. Larrazabal and Baroness took all four inside turns that Cabral had noted as time savers, shaving precious time off the clock. They left all the rails in the cups and finished on 61.55 seconds to win the $10,000 FEI 1.40m Welcome Speed.
“It was a nice class to start for the 2*, very friendly,” Larrazabal said. “At the end, it’s a speed class. I know I have a very fast mare, so I gave it a shot. She’s very quick off the ground, she knows her job and so I just try to stay out of her way and let her go the way she likes. It was my lucky day, I guess!”
When asked if he knew he was fast enough to win the class, he shared, “I didn’t know until I jumped (the last) and saw the screen!”
Larrazabal competed at TerraNova Equestrian Center in 2022 for the first time when they hosted Split Rock Jumping Tour. “The facility is growing. I am very excited (as) I am from Wellington, so I am very close to the show. I am excited to come more in the future,” he said.