Richard Vogel and Cydello Run Away With $140,000 Keyflow Feeds USA CSI3* Grand Prix
Week two of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) came to a peak on the Equestrian Village derby field on Sunday with the $140,000 Keyflow Feeds USA CSI3* Grand Prix. Germany’s Richard Vogel returned to familiar territory after a banner year at Wellington International in 2023, and stormed to victory once again aboard Cydello.
Sunday’s feature included forty-five riders contesting a course designed by Germany’s Olaf Petersen Jr. From the list of starters, nine returned for the short course, Vogel and Cydello (Cascadello x Forsyth FRH), owned by Coleridge Equestrian LLC, took the win by more than a second.
Vogel and the ten-year-old gelding left it all on the field, crossing the finish line at 36.32 seconds, taking over three seconds off the original time to beat, 39.17 seconds.
Cydello is a new addition to Vogel’s string and the Coleridge Equestrian team, “I had my eye on him [Cydello] for a few years before we got him,” said Vogel. “He was born half an hour from our base in Germany. I know his breeders pretty well, but he was never really for sale. Eventually, I was able to sit on him and it worked pretty well between the two of us.”
At the end of 2023, Vogel launched into the world’s top 10 after starting the year by winning last season’s Rolex Grand Prix in Wellington. Vogel has brought his top horses back in 2024, but is eager to bring up greener horses such as Cydello. “Since he became part of our team he has just been getting better. We jumped him in Mexico towards the end of last year where he really made great progress and now we’re excited for the season here,” said Vogel.
“I could go on and on about his great qualities. He truly wants to jump. He’s super careful with a lot of quality, but he’s also extremely brave,” said Vogel. “You could see it in the jump-off today coming to the final oxers. The distances were quite far but he never had a doubt. Cydello is quite new for us, and he’s ten but not so experienced for his age so classes like these are very important to fill in the gaps between National or 2* Grand Prixs and give him a chance to step up.”
A step down from Vogel on the podium was Belgium’s Nicola Philippaerts and his own Derby de Riverland (Kannan x Utopie De Riverland). The pair jumped clear and trailed the winning time, stopping the clock at 37.69 seconds. Closing out the podium was USA’s Cathleen Driscoll and Idalgo (Catoki x Quidam De Revel), owned by Don Stewart, who completed the short course in 38.79 seconds.
Lillie Keenan’s (USA) fourth-place finish earned her the Martha Jolicoeur Leading International Rider Award, presented together with Dale and Wendy Smith, for her performance across the WEF Challenge Cup – where she finished sixth on Friday – and Sunday’s grand prix.
To close the day, winning groom and Cydello’s caretaker Felicia Wallen was honored with the $500 Grooms Award, presented by Double H Farm’s Hayley Mercer.
Dean and Dotcom Dominate in BrainJuice U25 Grand Prix
Competition on the derby field first began with the $31,020 BrainJuice U25 Grand Prix as 60 entries vied for top call in the first under 25 event of the season. Ultimately, the blazing fast combination of Natalie Dean (USA) and Dotcom D’Authuit bested the field of 14 jump-off contenders.
Valentina Arenas Savaria (GUA) produced the first clear round across Olaf Petersen Jr’s (GER) round-one track and by the midway drag seven more combinations rose to the challenge. An additional six athletes found their way to a clear round on the back half of the first round and the stage was quickly set for the short course.
As the returning field of developing talent closed in on its final few, Grace Debney (GBR) appeared to have the class in the bag as she produced another blazing fast effort with career partner Zarina de Vidau, but Dean quickly answered. Shaving close to two seconds off Debney’s time of 51.81 seconds, Dean’s need for speed and the Marigold Sport Horses, LLC’s 11-year-old Selle Français mare’s (Diamant de Semilly x Quidam de Revel) determination to win shone through as the pair shot to the top with a time of 49.89 seconds.
“My horse is really reliable,” explained Dean. “She’s quite fast and competitive in these classes, so I knew I had a good shot. I’ve had her since she was seven years old so we know each other really well, and she is very comfortable in [the U25]. I know I always have a good chance of winning if I give her a good ride, and that gives me a lot of confidence.”
One particular spot on course that got its fair share of riders was an oxer to a combination line, where Dean said the number of strides was a make or break moment in her win.
“For the jump-off, I knew doing eight strides from the single oxer to the combination would get a little far away, but I also knew that was going to be one line where if I did nine strides I would be second,” she added. “So that’s probably where I’d say I took the biggest risk, but it paid off.”
Ireland’s Francis Derwin raced the clock to beat Dean’s time but landed in the reserve position after a fault-free effort that clocked him and the Santa Rosa Group’s 15-year-old KWPN mare Elien (Carambole x Mermus R) in at 51.16 seconds. Debney’s ride with the Temple Equestrian LLC’s 13-year-old Spanish Sport Horse (Diamant de Semilly x Coeur de Nuit) put the pair comfortably into third place as the class came to its completion.
Lily Sonneborn and Juan Carlos Make the Perfect Champions in Snaks 5th Avenchew 3’3” Junior Hunter 15 & Under
Junior hunter action for WEF 2 concluded on Sunday with the 3’3” Junior Hunter 15 & Under division, sponsored by Snaks 5th Avenchew. Over the weekend, junior hunters competed across four over-fences classes and one under saddle, but one junior truly took the cake. Lily Sonneborn, of Washington DC, and Juan Carlos, owned by Andesite Equestrian, swept the standings, winning every class in the division, ultimately claiming champion. The pair’s highest score of the weekend was a 90 in the over fences.
This is Sonneborn’s first WEF season after joining the Hesslink Williams team in 2023. Like many juniors, Sonneborn is a student outside of her riding time, traveling back and forth from DC to compete in Wellington on the weekends. “My schedule is definitely busy, but it’s always worth it to come here,” said Sonneborn.
“This is my first show with him [Juan Carlos],” mentioned Sonneborn of the eleven-year-old gelding. “We got him from California back in December and he’s been nothing but great so far. He’s the same in the schooling arena as he is in the show ring and always calm.”
Following Sonneborn and taking reserve was Addison Slye, of Andover, MA, and her own Conrido. The pair secured top three placings in three of their four over-fences, their highest score standing at an 86.
WEF 3, presented by NetJets, returns to Wellington International on January 24. For the full WEF 3 schedule, please click HERE.
Press release WEF 2 | Photo © Sportfot – Richard Vogel & Cydello, winners of the $140,000 Keyflow Feeds USA CSI3* Grand Prix.