Belgian rider Abdel Saïd topped a 12-rider jump-off aboard Arpege Du Ru to win the $406,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate Grand Prix CSI5* on March 12 at Winter Equestrian Festival (Florida), repeating his victory in the same class last year.
Forty entries representing 13 nations started the class, and 12 made it fault-free over course designer Alan Wade’s first-round track to earn spots in the jump-off.
First to go in the final round were Tokyo Olympic silver medalists Mclain Ward and Contagious, but a rail dropped them out of contention to ultimately finish sixth. Saïd was second in the ring, and with 10 riders still behind him, he needed a clear and fast round to repeat his victory in the 2021 class, which he won with Bandit Savoie.
He and his own Arpege Du Ru (Apache D’Adriers—Hera De Longvaut, Quat’sous) stopped the timers in 38.58 seconds—a time that proved too quick for the rest of the field to catch. Only three other riders went clear in the jump-off, but none of them came close to his time.
“I’m really delighted with my mare because all season she has been developing,” Saïd said of the 12-year-old Selle Français. “Every year we come to WEF, I find my horses develop further, and I’m thrilled it came together tonight. I really enjoy being here. I don’t think there are many better venues in the world, especially at the beginning of the year, to set your horses up so well.”
The pair have been building toward a win, Saïd said, and he decided to go for it in this class with the possible two-for-two victory on the line.
“I had a time fault in the first five-star grand prix we did [at WEF],” he said after winning Saturday. “Tonight, I said, ‘I will not be too slow.’ I thought I might be too fast and have a rail, but the plan from the beginning was to go for it. I really wanted and needed that win for our whole team.”
Watch their winning jump-off round:
Kent Farrington took second aboard Kent Farrington LLC’s Orafina with a time of 40.42 seconds, and Belgium’s Nicola Philippaerts was third with Katanga V/H Dingeshof on a time of 41.65 seconds.