by Catie Staszak
In 2018, Alex Granato (USA) and Carlchen W made their Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ debut in Wellington. A year later, they earned their first World Cup victory at the same venue.
Granato and ‘Carl’ topped a competitive nine-horse jump-off to claim the 2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Wellington under picturesque conditions at the Jacobs family’s Deeridge Farms. Using footspeed to their advantage, they tore around Alan Wade’s (IRL) shortened track in 42.70 seconds, nearly a second ahead of Mario Deslauriers (CAN) and Bardolina (43.48 seconds). Beat Mändli (SUI) and Dsarie were third, finishing with a time of 44.16 seconds.
“It’s all very surreal,” said Granato, who also won the Suncast Palm Beach Masters Qualifier two days prior to earn his place in Sunday’s class. “It’s been an amazing week. It’s a privilege to ride at venue like this, against riders like this that I’ve looked up to for a long time.”
Granato has had Carl, an 11-year-old Mecklenberg gelding, for five years. Originally meant to be a sales prospect, he put together a partnership with owner Paige Tredennick to develop the horse for top sport.
“He’s a naturally fast horse, so I got to play that to my advantage and let him run at his pace and stay focused on my track and turns,” Granato said. “We got a bit lucky with a rub in the jump-off, but my horse is very fresh, and we were gearing him toward this week. He came out fresh and strong and ready for it.”
World Cup Race Tightens
Reigning Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final Champion Beezie Madden took over the lead in the east coast sub league standings of the North American League with her fifth-place finish but is already pre-qualified based on her 2018 Finals victory in Paris (FRA). She currently has 58 points, three ahead of Molly Ashe Cawley (USA) with 55.
Just five points separate the following three placings—Germany’s Wilhelm Genn (47), the USA’s McLain Ward (45) and American teammate Laura Kraut (42)—with one east coast event remaining at Live Oak (USA).
Richard Spooner (USA) leads the west coast sub league standings with 49 points. Granato sits ninth with 24 points.
“Coming into the season, World Cup Finals was a big goal, but after jumping at Nations Cup Finals in Barcelona, I missed many of the early qualifiers,” Granato said. “I’ll take a look at my points, and if I’m in contention, I’ll go to Live Oak.”
The North American League continues next on the west coast. The Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Leon (MEX) gets underway 09 February 2019.
1. Carlchen W, Alex Granato (USA) 0/0 42.70
2. Bardolina, Mario Deslauriers (CAN) 0/0 43.48
3. Dsarie, Beat Mändli (USA) 0/0 44.16
Full results can be viewed here.
Standings for the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League — West Coast can be found here.
Standings for the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League — East Coast can be found here.
Alex Granato (USA) – 1st
“[Big Red] is just super smart. He wants to go clear. He’s been ridden by many of the best [riders], but it’s funny; this was the first time he’s ever won a grand prix!”
Mario Deslauriers — 2nd
“My mare did a lot last year by going to the World Equestrian Games and Barcelona [for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ USA]. She got a lot of experience, and she’s at the point now where she has to learn to go faster. She has a big stride, so sometimes it’s more complicated to maneuver, and she’s learning to turn better. Today, I tried to go faster to give her that experience. I’m happy with how she handled herself and how she jumped.”
Beat Mändli — 3rd
“I’m really happy with my horse. [Dsarie] had some time off. She had an injury with her hoof, so it wasn’t anything soft tissue related. The question was just whether we were waiting long enough [before bringing her back]. I’m really happy with today and the way she performed.”
“It was her first time out again. I saw Alex, and I said, ‘I probably have no chance,’ but I tried to give her a good round, and I’m really happy with my day and with my horse.”