The fourth week of the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival hosts jumpers on the grass derby field at the Equestrian Village at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), show grounds of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival. Amanda Derbyshire (GBR) and Gochman Sport Horses LLC’s Luibanta BH were victorious in the $70,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 4. WEF continues through April 1 at PBIEC in Wellington, FL, and offers more than $9 million in prize money.
The fourth week of WEF, sponsored by NetJets, runs January 31-February 4 and features the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby “Hunt and Go” on Friday, February 2, at 12 p.m. in the International Arena, the $205,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI 4* on Saturday, February 3, at 11 a.m. on the grass derby field at Equestrian Village (home to the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival), and the Great Charity Challenge, presented by Fidelity Investments®, on Saturday evening at 6:30 p.m. in the International Arena.
Sixty-four entries contested today’s WEF Challenge Cup, and 10 found the key to a clear round over Anderson Lima’s (BRA) course on the grass. It was Derbyshire and Luibanta BH, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare by Luidam x Abantos, who blazed around the jump-off to win in 47.50 seconds.
Coming to final fence in the jump-off, Derbyshire had to add verbal encouragement for Luibanta BH.
“I planned seven strides to the last and I turned really tight into the double, which made her land a little shallow coming out,” she said. “I decided to still try to do seven, so I was just telling her we could do it!”
Kevin Babington (IRL) and Debra Wycoff’s Irish Sport Horse gelding Super Chilled finished second in 50.85 seconds, while Amber Harte (USA) and Cafino placed third with a time of 51.50 seconds.
Derbyshire kept the progression for Luibanta BH at a slower pace in the year and a half they have been together since she was found from Ellen Whitaker. She explained, “At the end of last summer she really stepped up to doing whatever grands prix we’ve asked of her. We’re going to save her, and hopefully she’ll last a long time.”
Derbyshire (30), last competed and won with Luibanta BH at Liverpool CSI 4*, riding in a smaller indoor arena. Coming out to the giant grass field did not seem to have any adverse effects.
“She’s a mare and she tries hard,” said Derbyshire. “She’s really fast because she’s so easy to turn and so athletic and adjustable; even if you really let her go, she’ll always come back to you, which is a huge advantage so I can open her up and then ask her to turn tightly.”
For their victory, Derbyshire and Luibanta BH were presented with the Barry Louise Lane Perpetual Memorial Trophy, established in 2003 in the loving memory of Barry by her family and friends.
Derbyshire and Luibanta BH plan to compete at WEF 5 and hope to represent Great Britain in the Nations Cup during WEF 8 on Saturday, March 3.
Over at the WEF International Arena, Jose Roberto Reynoxo (BRA) had a banner day. He won the Douglas Elliman 1.45m Jumpers with Azrael W. In the Bainbridge 1.40m Speed Challenge, he piloted HSL Arisma, owned by Fabio Martin, to the win.