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Thursday, February 09, 2023

Aaron Vale won the $100,000 Grand Prix at the World Equestrian Center in Ocala

OCALA, Fla.--Aaron Vale on I Adermie R 4 won the $100,000 Grand Prix on Saturday, Jan. 14 during week II of the 2023 Winter Spectacular Show Series at World Equestrian Center in Ocala.

Aaron Vale on I Adermie R 4 Andrew RybeckAaron Vale on I Adermie R 4 (Photo by Andrew Rybeck)Chilly temperatures couldn’t freeze out the crowd or competition as the stands were packed to watch the competition under the lights in the WEC Grand Arena.

 An international field of 32 representing nine different nations competed over a course set by Ben Townley of Great Britain, with clean to qualify for the jump-off.

“The first round was nice," said Vale. "There were a few tricky fences spread throughout the track, that caught quite a good number of riders. The combination away from the ingate and the Antares vertical coming home had the most down. Overall, I think it ended with the perfect number for the jump-off.”

Olympian Santiago Lambre of Brazil on J’Adore Van Het Klinkhof was the first in the jump-off, posting a time to beat of 39.433 seconds.

Daniel Geitner and Bryn Sadler both incurred faults, then Vale on his first jump-off mount, Cristo Beech was clean in 38.584 seconds to move into first.


“’CRISTO is getting better and better," said Vale. "He has been jumping a lot of clear rounds lately and he has been getting faster during each jump-off,.

“He’s a very careful horse, so I have to be a bit cautious to not make a mistake to set him back, but I can feel that he is trusting me more and more," said Vale. I was pretty quick on him, but I could have been more efficient to the Lugano oxer. He jumped up and took too much time in the air which set us back, but other than that I was happy with our round.”

Jacqueline Ruyle on San Chano was the next to go and moved into first, finishing in 38.370 seconds.

Next in was Richard Spooner on Quirado RC who had a rail at the final fence to eventually place eighth place, then Thursday’s Welcome Prix winners Will Simpson on Whoop De Doo also had four faults.

Rowan Willis of Australia on Wellington Grey Goose was the second-to-last to ge and was clean in 39.433 seconds for fourth.

Vale was last to go on I Adermie R 4, and was clean in 37.412 to take the win.

“After Jaci beat me by more than a second, I knew I had to really take my chances,” said Vale. “I Adermie R 4 is a bit smaller of a horse with a smaller step, so I had to gallop from one to two to get the nine done. She was balanced enough to fence two where I could grab the right rein and begin turning before we landed to get to the double combination. I think I did one less to the double than everyone else, then we were really fast back to the Lugano oxer. I did take a bit of a liberty to the navy fence, but she knew it was game on and cleared it. That gave me a little bit more room to the next jump, so I could move up to the final vertical.”

“I Adermie R 4 has been very consistent," said Vale. "She was second here last week, won a grand prix over the summer and won a class last winter. She never lets me down and always comes out to play.”

An additional $5,000 was awarded to the fastest four-faulter in the first round in the Grand Prix, which went to Lambre on Casey  who finished in 72.857 seconds.


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