Tom Wachman steals the win in GP Qualifier at WEC

Tom Wachman steals the win in GP Qualifier at WEC

International competition resumed on Thursday night under the lights in the WEC Grand Arena as 41 of the world’s best athletes representing 11 different nations vied for the lion’s share of the prize money in the $35,000 Grand Prix Qualifier CSI3*.

The youngest athlete in the field, Tom Wachman of Ireland, saved the best for last, and clinched the victory aboard Coolmore Showjumping’s Cathalina S (Catoki x Sandro).

FEI Level III course designer, Colm Quinn (IRL) set the intricate track that proved to be quite the challenge. Several athletes encountered a single rail down, while others struggled to meet the tight time allowed of 79 seconds. Ultimately, six competitors made it to the jump-off, with only three achieving a double clear round, but it came down to a battle between Brazil and Ireland.

Wednesday’s 1.45m Speed CSI3* winner, Adam Sklansky (USA) found the first double clear ride. He piloted the speedy 12-year-old KWPN mare Hakini (Numero Uno x Montreal), to another solid performance in 41.20 seconds to set the time to beat.

Andre Thieme (GBR) followed closely, clocking 40.84 seconds aboard his mount Paule S (Perigueux x Sir Shutterfly), but an unfortunate rail at the second fence spoiled his hopes for the top spot.

Another World Equestrian Center – Ocala newcomer, Eduardo Menezes (BRA) was the second to last athlete to attempt to snag Sklansky’s time. Menezes guided BZB Barn LLC’s 11-year-old Brazilian Sport Horse mare Zilouet Mystic Rose (Balou De Rouet x Chin Chin) to a speedy track to stop the clock at 40.23 seconds to steal the lead.

However, victory was still up for grabs as the talented 19-year-old Irishman, Tom Wachman, entered the arena with his trusted partner Cathalina S, a 15-year-old German Sport Horse mare. Wachman had a straightforward strategy: “The plan was to be clear and quicker than Eduardo,” he chuckled. “My mare has a pretty big step; I believe I was the only one in the jump-off to do nine strides back to the double, and I think that’s where I gained the time.”

The pair dashed around the track clocking in a time nearly one second faster in 39.29 seconds to steal the victory.

Reflecting on his return to World Equestrian Center – Ocala, Wachman expressed his excitement, “We’ve been here two or three times now and it’s the most amazing show grounds. The facilities for the horses are fantastic, from the stables to the warmup, to the main arena to the jumps. Everything is top quality. It’s probably one of the best facilities I’ve ever been at, in Europe or in America. It’s unbelievable and a pleasure to jump at.”