Richard Vogel Storms to Rolex CSI5* Grand Prix Victory to Cap 2023 WEF Season
The exclamation point on a spectacular season for Richard Vogel was victory in the $500,000 Rolex CSI5* Grand Prix during the final ‘Saturday Night Lights’ of the 2023 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at Wellington International. Vogel (GER) expertly guided the nine-year-old Deutsches Sportpferd gelding Cepano Baloubet to the horse’s debut victory at the CSI5* level.
“I’m overwhelmed,” exclaimed 26-year-old Vogel. “Two weeks ago, I wasn’t sure I even wanted to do this horse in this big a grand prix. But, he felt really good and then we thought, ‘we’re here and he’s in very good shape so let’s give it a try,’ and he was amazing.”
Olympic course designer Guilherme Jorge (BRA) set a challenging track for 40 contenders during the Rolex-sponsored finale week of WEF. Vogel set an early pace as the second to attack the course, and a total of seven jumped clean, representing five unique nations.
Vogel set the time to chase from the pole position in the tie-breaking jump-off. His time of 40.53 seconds was nine seconds faster than the runner-up, Roberto Teran Tafur (COL) riding Dez’ Ooktoff, a 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion (Colandro x Lys Rouge). Third place went to Irish Olympian Bertram Allen in the irons of Pacino Amiro, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Pacino x NC Amiro).
“My plan was not to risk too much in the jump-off, but also to put the pressure on the ones coming after me so they had to risk a bit more to be faster and I was lucky it all worked out,” said Vogel, who has earned four international wins during the 2023 season at WEF. “This horse did a great job and deserves a break, so he’s got a couple of weeks off.”
Cepano Baloubet just found a new home in Vogel’s stable after Veronica and Molly Tracy purchased the gelding for him to compete. “I first rode this horse when he was six, and not too long after the horse came to our stable with the same owner and we were able to produce him. In January, they purchased the horse for me to keep it in the stable, so I’m lucky to have such good owners and so much trust in those people.
“Wellington has been very good to us; we’ve had a great season,” concluded Vogel. “Our horses jumped very well and gained a lot of experience also so yeah it was a super season.”
Richard Vogel Storms to Rolex CSI5* Grand Prix Victory to Cap 2023 WEF Season (wellingtoninternational.com)