OCALA, FLA.--Santiago Lambre of Brazil on The Diamant Rose Z won the $100,000 Grand Prix on Jan. 7, the first grand prix of the 12-week 2023 Winter Spectacular Show Series at the World Equestrian Center in Ocala.
Spectators saw 14 entries of the starting 31 from seven countries qualify to return to the jump-off, where Lambre rode four of the 14 clean finishes and seven of the 14 were clean..
Aaron Vale on Elusive set the pace at 37.055 seconds, but Kristen Vanderveen on Bull Run’s Risen upped the ante right after Vale, posting a time of 36.707 seconds.
Tracy Fenney on MTM Apple followed with a blistering 36.187 second finish, leading until Lambre entered the arena on The Diamant Rose Z.
“I had quite a few horses in the jump-off, so I tried to go as fast as I could on my first one, to see where I could be better on my next,” said Lambre. “On my first horse I tried to do the eight to the last line like Kristen on ‘Risen’ but, my horse wasn’t able to get there so I had a rail.”
“WHEN I returned on Casey, I was quick, but I wasn’t as fast as Tracy, so I knew I had to give it my all on The Diamant Rose Z,” said Lambre. “’Diamant’ is a very fast horse with a lot of blood, so I knew I just had to keep going and not pull.”
“I tried to be as direct as I could from one to two, so we could land right and gallop to the red oxer," said Lambre. "Then, we did eight back to the double combination and found the pink oxer on a forward gallop. Then we galloped down to the final oxer in nine strides.”.
Lambre and The Diamant Rose Z stopped the clock at an uncatchable 35.430 seconds.
“I was shocked that so many riders went clear," he said. "It was big enough and it was challenging enough, but the horses just thrive here. They always jump so well under this atmosphere. The jumps are gorgeous, the footing is perfect, and the crowd is electric. If you can jump here, you can jump at the Olympics. The jump-offs are always so fast, and the competition is so strong. This is the best venue to prepare for any competition.”
Aaron Vale on Adermie R 4 , last to go, stopped the clock at 35.978 seconds, just five tenths of a second behind Lambre and The Diamant Rose Z, to place second, with Fenney third, Lambre on Casey fourth and Vanderveen on Risen fifth.
An additional $5,000 was awarded to the fastest four-faulter of the $100,000 Grand Prix, Rowan Willis of Australia on Wellington Grey Goose, who finished in 71.724 seconds with one down.