Santiago Lambre and Chacco Blue II. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography
Nearly two years after its grand opening, the World Equestrian Center – Ocala welcomes international competition to its astounding venue for the first time at its brand-new USEF Summer Series.
WEC – Ocala has exclusively hosted competition sanctioned by the National Snaffle Bit Association (NSBA) after a conflict with dates (due to the mileage rule) had ownership forgoing the limited number of USEF-sanctioned dates awarded last summer. A resolution was finally reached in February, and the venue hosted its first USEF competition last week—a real win for the sport, as FEI competition cannot run in a country without also having the sanctioning of the sport’s national governing body.
As FEI horses jogged for the first time before a ground jury at this championship-caliber venue, we broke down the numbers for the riders that know this venue best, and they conveyed a clear message: No riders had more success than Aaron Vale (USA) and Santiago Lambre (BRA), and both return for CSI3* competition this week.
Aaron Vale wowed the Ocala crowds with his go-for-broke style and showmanship, and after winning two Grand Prix events during the venue’s Winter Spectacular series, he returned last week to top the national standard $100,000 Florida Coast Equipment Grand Prix with Elusive, his mount from the 2022 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Finals.
This week, he brings forward Condarco, Cristo Beech and Prescott. Both Cristo Beech—the least experienced of the group—and Prescott boast previous wins at the venue, but Condarco (Conthargos x Darko) is a newer mount for Vale. Previously ridden by Fanny Flanck (SWE), the 14-year-old Oldenburg jumped with Vale at Devon, finished third in the CSI4* Two-Phase Main Line Challenge. In just six international starts as a partnership, they average just 2.1 faults. In fact, they only time they’ve had a rail of any kind was at Devon in the 1.55m CSI4* Idle Dice Open Stake, which was the biggest track they had jumped together.
Santiago Lambre’s results have been quieter but eye-opening. Lambre won four of the twelve Grand Prix events (That’s a 33% win rate—unheard of) held during the Winter Spectacular, two of those with the impressive Chacco Blue II. The 15-year-old Oldenburg stallion (Chacco Blue x Cincaba Rouge) has been remarkable consistent, particularly as the jumps get bigger. At 1.60m, Lambre and Chacco Blue II average 3 faults and a finish position in the top 10. In CSI3* Grand Prix events, they average just a single fault and average a podium finish.
It would be unwise to count them out. Make your selections in this week’s games at Prixview.com/fantasy.