Alex Granato Scores the Weekend Double Winning $208,200 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Wellington at the CP Palm Beach Masters Winter Classic CSI4*-W

©Kathy Russell Photography

Alex Granato scored the weekend double, beating two former FEI World Cup champions to win the $208,200 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Wellington at the CP Palm Beach Masters Winter Classic CSI4*-W presented by Suncast. Riding Carlchen W, Granato also won the FEI $71,200 Suncast Palm Beach Masters World Cup Qualifier. “It’s all just very surreal. It’s been an amazing week,” said Granato. “It’s a privilege to get to ride at a venue like this and against riders like these whom I have looked up to for a long time. To have a week like this is amazing.”

The jump-off read like a who’s-who of international show jumping with Olympic veterans and FEI World Cup champions among the nine who jumped in the second round on the Alan Wade-designed course. Granato and Carlchen W shaved off seconds with a time of 42.70 to take the lead with a slew of stars yet to jump. “I have a naturally fast horse, so for both classes I got to play that to my advantage and try to let him run at this pace and stay focused on my track and my turns,” said Granato. “I think I got lucky here and there with a rub in each jump-off, but the horse is very fresh. I’ve been gearing him towards this week and I think he came out really fresh and strong and ready for it.”

Olympic veteran Mario Deslauriers, the 1984 FEI World Cup winner, and Bardolina came close with a jump-off clear round time of 43.48 for second place. “My horse is at a point where she’s got to learn to go a little faster. She’s got a big stride so sometimes it’s a little more complicated to maneuver, but she’s learning to turn better. Today and even on Friday we tried to go a little faster to give her that experience and half a second faster today would have done it, but I was happy with the way she handled herself.”

Conor Swail was the pathfinder in both rounds and rode the first clear in the jump-off in a time of 44.68 seconds on GK Coco Chanel, which resulted in fourth place. The crowd held its breath as last to go was 2007 FEI World Cup Champion and Olympic veteran Beat Mändli raced around the course on Dsarie and was on track to take the win, but missed with 44.16 seconds for third place.

There were several special presentations awarded on Sunday as well. As Sunday’s winner, the Hunter Harrison Award was presented to Page Tredennick, owner of Carlchen W. Tredennick also won the Sue Grange Award on Friday, as the owner of the winning horse of the FEI $71,200 Suncast Palm Beach Masters World Cup Qualifier. Other awards presented were the “Doc Spirit” award, named for Doctor John R. Steele, which was presented by Charlie Jacobs to Dsarie, owned by Grant Road Partners and ridden by Beat Mändli. The award is presented annually to the horse that best exemplifies the heart and athleticism necessary to be competitive at the highest level of show jumping. The Michael Meller Style award went to Darragh Kenny of Ireland.

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