Richard Vogel and United Touch S Are Untouchable in Lugano Diamonds CSI5* Grand Prix

Richard Vogel & United Touch S winners CSI5 Grand Prix Photo © Sportfot

Winning was a matter of fractions for Germany’s Richard Vogel and United Touch S in the $385,000 Lugano Diamonds CSI5* Grand Prix during ‘Saturday Night Lights’ at Wellington International’s Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) on February 24. WEF hosts 12 weeks of FEI competition at Wellington International and runs through March 31.

Under the glittering lights of Wellington International in front of a packed International Arena, four athletes advanced to the jump-off from a starting field of 39 in the season’s second five-star grand prix. Three of the top-15 riders in the world advanced to the tie-breaking jump-off, including Vogel, currently ranked no. 11, Mclain Ward (USA) in eighth and Shane Sweetnam (IRL) 12th were joined by Darragh Kenny (IRL). All four produced clear rounds over Anthony D’Ambrosio’s (USA) track, making the deciding factor the numbers on the clock.

Kenny set the standard at 46.14 seconds aboard VDL Cartello, a 17-year-old Holsteiner stallion (Cartani 4 x Lord) owned by Heathman Farm, LLC. The lead changed hands quickly as two-time U.S. Olympic team gold medalist Ward, piloted his 16-year-old Casall mare, Callas, to a time of 42.39 seconds for owner Beechwood Stables. Sweetnam and James Kann Cruz, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Kannan x Cruising) he owns together with Gizmo Partners, LLC, gave their best effort in 43.53 seconds to sit second before the final draw.

Vogel and 12-year-old Westphalian stallion United Touch S (Untouched x Lux S) saved the best for last and broke the times in 42.04 thanks to the horse’s massive stride. Their time earned the win for owner Julius-Peter Sinnack, bumping Ward to second and Sweetnam to third to round out the podium placings.

“It’s a very, very special feeling,” noted Vogel of his time spent on the back of United Touch S. “I have been lucky enough to ride a lot of good horses in my life, but he’s outstanding. When he leaves the ground, that power and scope is something very unique and I’m very happy to be in his saddle.”

Vogel admitted that he had added confidence returning from the last draw in the jump-off. “I was very lucky that I went behind all three of these guys, and I knew I had to risk it all,” said the 26-year-old. “If I had a rail, I was fourth and if I was a slow clear, I was fourth so there was not so much to lose.

“It means a lot to win here on a Saturday night; it’s a very special atmosphere,” continued Vogel, who is coming off victories with Untied Touch S at CHI Geneva and the FEI Nations Cup™ Final in Barcelona. “Whether it’s a three, four or five-star, these nights have a special character.”

Richard Vogel & United Touch S, winners of the $385,000 Lugano Diamonds CSI5* Grand Prix. Photo © Sportfot

Top Five Results: $385,000 Lugano Diamonds CSI5* Grand Prix

1. Richard Vogel (GER) & United Touch S: 2012 Westphalian stallion (Untouched x LuxS)

Owner: Julius-Peter Sinnack

2. Mclain Ward (USA) & Callas: 2008 Holsteiner mare (Casall x Coriano)

Owner: Beechwood Stables, LLC

3. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) & James Kann Cruz: 2013 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Kannan x Cruising)

Owners: Shane Sweetnam & Gizmo Partners, LLC

4. Darragh Kenny (IRL) & VDL Cartello: 2007 Holsteiner stallion (Cartani 4 x Lord)

Owners: Darragh Kenny & Heathman Farm, LLC

5. Jordan Coyle (IRL) & Chaccolino: 2011 Warmblood gelding (Chacco-Blue x Heartbreaker)

Owners: Jordan Coyle & Elan Farm


Laura Chapot and Chandon Blue Race to the Front in $62,500 Ethel M Chocolates CSI2* Grand Prix

Competition during the Lugano Diamonds-sponsored Week 7 of the 2024 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) culminated in the $62,500 Ethel M Chocolates CSI2* Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon with a win from Laura Chapot (USA). WEF plays host to 13-weeks of international and nationally ranked top sport across the hunter, jumper, and equitation disciplines in the equestrian capital of Wellington, FL, ending on March 31.

Laura Chapot Chandon Blue winners of the 62500 Ethel M Chocolates CSI2 Grand Prix. Photo © Sportfot 1
Laura Chapot & Chandon Blue, winners of the $62,500 Ethel M Chocolates CSI2* Grand Prix. Photo © Sportfot

Chapot and her longtime partner, the Laura and Mary Chapot-owned 19-year-old Oldenburg gelding, Chandon Blue (Chacco-Blue x Landcapitol) were one of 11 that managed to produce a first round worthy of advancing to the jump-off out of the original 44 combinations.

As the class crept closer and closer to its finish, Anthony D’Ambrosio’s (USA) short course proved difficult to master. As the penultimate combination to return, Chapot and Chandon gave it their best effort, but as so many others had done, took down one obstacle towards the end of the course. The results were decided among four-fault rounds with no double-clears on the day.

“I was a little bit surprised that there weren’t any clears when I went in,” Chapot explained. “But I knew I shouldn’t really change the plan because I could start to get too careful, and then I did get a little too careful at the end and he did have the rail down.”

With no clears ahead of her and knowing her partner’s fancy footwork, she knew her best bet was to set the pace and let luck do the rest.


Wellington International – WEF Press release | Photo 1: Podium finishers Richard Vogel, Mclain Ward and Shane Sweetnam are presented by Melissa Brandes, Director of EQ for Lugano Diamonds. Photo © Sportfot

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