Winner of the $300,000 CSI5* CP Palm Beach Masters Final
In the final event of the 2020 Palm Beach Masters Series, Israel’s Dani G. Waldman and new mount Queensland E took the win in the $300,000 CSI5* CP Palm Beach Masters Final Sunday at Deeridge Farms, conquering an especially challenging 1.60m track designed by Ireland’s Alan Wade.
“[Queensland] jumped unbelievable,” Waldman said of the 11-year-old Zangersheide stallion, her partner of just over one month. “I actually thought he started a little plain in the warm-up, and then he jumped incredible in the first round. I’d been struggling to sort of put it all together, and I felt like [today], I finally did.”
Wade’s 14-obstacle, first-round track made use of every corner of the Deeridge Farms Grass Arena and asked no shortage of questions from the 40-horse start list. Rails fell from start to finish, but the course built in difficulty, beginning with the open water at Jump 7, followed by a large, square oxer at Jump 10b of the triple combination, and finally with a very short four strides from the Jump 12 triple bar to a tall, upright vertical at Jump 13.
“I thought it walked very big today, and normally, I never say that!” said Waldman. “But for me, the distances were in my favor, as my horse doesn’t have the longest stride, so I had [a range of] options.”
Six riders would ultimately solve Wade’s riddle to gain admittance to the jump-off, where Waldman planned to be quick yet conservative, making the most of her stallion’s speed across the ground.
“I don’t know [Queensland] all that well, so my strategy was to go as fast as I could where I still felt I could leave the jumps up. It wasn’t lightening-fast, but it was [fast] enough. Luckily, the horse is so quick naturally,” she reflected.
First to go on the jump-off course, Eve Jobs (USA) pulled a rail with Venue d’Fees des Hazalles, finishing fourth overall. Next in the order, Waldman’s clear time of 38.01 seconds was enough to hold-off second and third place finishers, American riders Brian Moggre (MTM Vivre le Reve) and Jessica Springsteen (RMF Zecilie), both of whom completed Round Two on four faults. Last to go, Billy Twomey of Ireland jumped clear and ahead of Waldman’s time but was not compliant with the FEI blood rule, resulting in subsequent elimination from jump-off competition and a sixth-place finish.
This is the first major victory for Waldman and Queensland E, who officially joined her string in Wellington this winter, following his tenure with Dutch rider Frank Schuttert. In fact, Waldman says she has her husband, Alan Waldman, to thank for their budding partnership.
“[We] had been looking for another horse to jump the big classes, and [Alan] had his eye on this horse for a while. We didn’t know if it was the best horse we’d ever seen, but Alan was sure it was my horse,” she said.
“He trusted that I could ride him, and I trusted Alan!”
See an EQ visit to Dani at home here.