Monday, Apr. 15, 2024

Watch Why They Won: Vogel And United Touch S Shine In Lugano Diamonds CSI5*

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Winning was a matter of fractions for Germany’s Richard Vogel and United Touch S in the $385,000 Lugano Diamonds CSI5* Grand Prix, held during “Saturday Night Lights” at Wellington International’s Winter Equestrian Festival.

In front of a packed International Arena in Wellington, Florida, four athletes advanced to the jump-off from a starting field of 39 in the season’s second five-star grand prix, including three who are among the top 15 in the world: Vogel, currently ranked No. 11; Mclain Ward (USA), No. 8; and Shane Sweetnam (Ireland), No. 12, were joined by Darragh Kenny of Ireland. All four produced clear rounds over Anthony D’Ambrosio’s jump-off track, making the deciding factor the numbers on the clock.

Richard Vogel and United Touch S, members of Germany’s winning team at the 2023 Longines FEI Nations Cup Final (Spain), topped the $385,000 Lugano Diamonds CSI5* Feb. 24 in Wellington, Fla. Sportfot Photo

Kenny set the standard at 46.14 seconds aboard VDL Cartello, a 17-year-old Holsteiner stallion owned by Heathman Farm, LLC. The lead changed hands quickly as two-time U.S. Olympic team gold medalist Ward, piloted his 16-year-old mare, Callas, to a time of 42.39 seconds for owner Beechwood Stables. Sweetnam and James Kann Cruz, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding he owns together with Gizmo Partners, LLC, gave their best effort in 43.53 seconds to sit second before the final draw. 

Going last, Vogel and 12-year-old Westphalian stallion United Touch S (Untouched—Touch Of Class, Lux Z) stopped the clock in 42.04 seconds, thanks to the horse’s massive stride. Their time earned the win for owner Julius-Peter Sinnack, bumping Ward to second and Sweetnam to third to round out the podium placings.

Watch their winning jump-off round, courtesy of ShowGroundsLive.com:

“It’s a very, very special feeling,” Vogel said of riding “United”. “I have been lucky enough to ride a lot of good horses in my life, but he’s outstanding. When he leaves the ground, that power and scope is something very unique, and I’m very happy to be in his saddle.”

Vogel admitted that he had added confidence returning from the last draw in the jump-off. 

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“I was very lucky that I went behind all three of these guys, and I knew I had to risk it all,” the 26-year-old said. “If I had a rail, I was fourth, and if I was a slow clear, I was fourth, so there was not so much to lose. 

“It means a lot to win here on a Saturday night; it’s a very special atmosphere,” added Vogel, who is coming off victories with the stallion at CHI Geneva and the Longines FEI Nations Cup Final in Barcelona. “Whether it’s a three-, four- or five-star, these nights have a special character.”

Watch what he had to say about his round, courtesy of Wellington International:

Vogel’s groom, Felicia Wallin, was presented with the $500 Grooms Award by Double H Farm after the victory in recognition of her care of United Touch S. 

Vogel’s Saturday Night Lights win combined with his top-10 finish aboard Cepano Baloubet on Thursday in the Adequan WEF Challenge Cup qualifier secured him the Martha Jolicoeur Leading International Rider Award for the week.

See complete results here.

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