Daniel Bluman and Ladriano Z at the 2021 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Lexington. Photo ©FEI/Andrea Evans
But he also has a proven championship horse in Ladriano Z, his partner from the 2018 and 2022 World Championships.
That’s quite a 1-2 punch.
This week at the National Horse Show in Lexington, KY, Bluman will bring 14-year-old Ladriano (Lawito—Gambelle, by Baloubet du Rouet) out for the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Lexington—which should say something about the occasion. Ladriano has made just 24 starts this year, accounting for just nine competitions, all at the five-star or championship level.
Ladriano Z has won his fair share of classes since he burst onto the scene in 2017, including the CSIO5* Rolex Grand Prix at Rome Piazza di Siena; two CSI5* Grand Prix events at the Winter Equestrian Festival; and the CSI4* Hampton Classic Grand Prix.
But despite not having a win (yet) in 2022, the gelding might just carry more clout. Ladriano missed more than a year of competition due to injury, from Sept. 2020 to Sept. 2021.
And very quickly in November 2021, Ladriano let his connections know that he’s still at the top of his game. He finished third in Lexington’s World Cup qualifier last year. This year, he has taken second in both the CSI5* Rolex Grand Prix at WEF and the CSI5* Rolex Grand Prix at Royal Windsor. You could say, he’s due for a victory.
“When you have a horse like this, where we’ve had a partnership already for many years and he’s been a very successful horse, you learn to appreciate those types of partnerships,” Bluman said. “When I realized there was actually a chance of a comeback, I made it clear to my team that the idea was to get the horse back in good shape and aim him for the grand prixs that we enjoy jumping and that we wish to win.”
The year 2019 was Ladriano’s best season. After all, he helped Israel qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games that year and was a part of two winning Nations Cup teams in addition to two five-star grand prix victories. The numbers back it up, too: In 2019, Ladriano averaged just 3.03 faults and a finish position in the top 12 from 35 starts. Wow.
But if you look at Ladriano’s 2022 starts, you’ll quickly notice that he’s not far off from those totals. Ladriano is averaging just 3.65 faults this year and a finish position in the top 16. Only 2019’s numbers are better from his six seasons of international partnership with Bluman.
Is Ladriano sitting on a top result in Lexington? The numbers suggest yes. Not only did Ladriano make the podium in this event last year, but the gelding is also averaging just 2.67 faults and a finish position in the top 7 at World Cup events. It’s worth noting that all of those World Cup starts came indoors (Lexington and Toronto).
It’s hard to find fault with Ladriano. He’s balanced by lead (58.82% left lead vs. 41.18% right lead) and point of contact (52.94% up front vs. 41.18% behind) with his rails. And with this comeback, you can’t help but appreciate him (and root for him, too).
Put Bluman and Ladriano Z in your selections this week at the National Horse Show at Prixview.com/fantasy.