Andrew Bourns and Sea Topblue Cruise to $216,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI4* Victory at 2022 WEF

Jan 29, 2022 - 11:15 PM

For Immediate Release
Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Wellington, FL – January 29, 2022 – The highlight of the week, the $216,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI4* at the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL, provided excitement in chilly temperatures for the fourth installment of the “Saturday Night Lights” series. Andrew Bourns (IRL) and Sea Topblue, owned by Andrew Bourns Sport Horses, were victorious in the grand prix. WEF 3, sponsored by NetJets, concludes on Sunday, January 30, and WEF continues through April 3 with top jumper, hunter, and equitation competition.

There were 44 entries in the grand prix, and they competed over a course set by Peter Grant of Canada. Of those entries, 14 found the path to a clear round and continued to the jump-off.

Andrew Bourns and Sea Topblue 741_1237 Sportfot
Andrew Bourns and Sea Topblue © Sportfot


“To be honest when I initially walked the course, I didn’t think there would be as many clear rounds,” said Bourns. “I thought the course was big enough and reasonably technical and, in the end, it just shows the strength of the field and the amount of good horses and riders at WEF this time of year. I think we were all a bit surprised to have so many clear rounds.”

The early pacesetter was Olympian Nicola Philippaerts (BEL) and his own Moya VD Bisschop, who were the second to go in the jump-off and set the time to beat at 39.25 seconds.

Philippaerts said of his jump-off effort, “There were quite a few in the jump-off, so I went in and tried to give it a go. She did a fantastic job. She’s very new at this level so I’m very happy she jumped very good for the first time under the lights as well. I knew there were many quick ones behind me, so I tried to give it everything. The Irish were just too strong today.”

Nicola Philippaerts and Moya vd Bisschop 741_0852 Sportfot
Nicola Philippaerts and Moya vd Bisschop © Sportfot


Moya vd Bisschop, a 10-year-old Belgian Sport Horse mare by Darco x Utrillo Van De Heffinck, jumped in her first five-star grand prix just one month ago in La Coruña, Spain. Philippaerts added, “This is only the third grand prix she’s jumped at this level so she’s quite new, but she’s very careful and has a lot of scope so I think she will be a nice horse for the future. Hopefully she can have a good season here.”

Philippaerts will stay at WEF through the final week and will bring out his top horse, Katanga v/h Dingeshof, for the five-star events.

“I think we are very fortunate at the moment to be able to ride every week here because everything in Europe is getting canceled,” he said. “As a rider it’s fantastic here. There’s so much crowd and atmosphere that it motivates you extra. I’m very happy to be here for the season.”

Nine horses after Philippaerts, WEF newcomer Mark McAuley (IRL) and Jasco VD Bisschop, a 13-year-old Belgian Sport Horse gelding by Dulf van den Bisschop x Krunch de Breve, lowered the winning time to 38.94 seconds.

Mark McAuley and Jasco vd Bisschop 737_2617 Sportfot
Mark McAuley and Jasco vd Bisschop © Sportfot


McAuley noted that jumping at night outdoors under the lights is not common in Europe.

“I didn’t really know what to expect,” he noted. “My horse was a bit tense and spooky when he went into the ring, a little bit overwhelmed, but he manned up quite well. I was quite proud of him actually.”

McAuley has ridden Jasco vd Bisschop since the horse was seven years old, and it has become his top horse. The pair represented Ireland in the 2021 European Championships, and McAuley has this year’s World Championships “in the back of his mind.”

“He’s been my best horse for the last few years, and obviously I’ll be aiming him now for the five star here in a fortnight’s time,” said McAuley.

As the final entry in the jump-off, Bourns was able to squeak by his countryman and cross the timers in 38.76 seconds for the win.


Click above to watch their winning jump-off ride, presented by Premier Equestrian.

“I had a plan made for the jump-off and went in a little bit the mindset that I have a lot I still want to do with this horse this year so if it was fast enough, great, but I had a plan and was going to stick to it,” said Bourns of his jump-off ride.

Slotting into fourth place was Hector Florentino (DOM) riding Wyndmont’s ABC Quantum Cruise in 39.32 seconds. Just behind in 39.39 seconds was Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) riding F One USA for Poden Farms in fifth place. Alessandra Volpi (USA) and her own Berlinda were sixth in 39.74 seconds. Volpi also took home the Martha W. Jolicoeur Leading Lady Rider Award.

Alessandra Volpi Leading Lady 741_1245 Sportfot
Alessandra Volpi in her winning presentation as the Martha W. Jolicoeur Leading Lady Rider Award with Dr. Stephen Norton and Martha Jolicoeur. © Sportfot


It was a special win for Bourns on this horse that means so much to his family. The 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding by Chacco-blue has been with the Bourns since Andrew’s mother, Deirdre, bought him as a foal at an auction in Cavan, Ireland.

It has been a steady progression for the talented horse. Bourns explained, “The height of the jumps were never an issue for him, or scope, or ability, or even speed has never been a problem. It was really the rideability, and if the track got technical, that was almost the first thing to catch him out. I’ve worked very hard on him, and we’ve worked with a lot of different bits, but I have the rideability better now. I don’t have to ride him so defensively anymore. I can move forward a little bit and actually ride the course the way it should be ridden instead of trying to protect him or trying to avoid a fight with him. Now he’s much easier to ride and much more agreeable, and it makes him a much more effective horse.”

Andrew Bourns Sea Topblue pres 741_1257 Sportfot
Andrew Bourns and Sea Topblue in their winning presentation with Jennifer Vance, Laura Southard, and Melissa Dombro of NetJets. © Sportfot


He added with a smile, “This is probably his biggest win to date and one of mine too, so I’m pretty happy about that.”

Final Results: $216,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI4*

1.SEA TOPBLUE: 2011 ISH gelding by Chacco-blue
ANDREW BOURNS (IRL), Andrew Bourns: 0/0/38.76

2.JASCO VD BISSCHOP: 2009 BWP gelding by Dulf Van Den Bisschop x Krunch De Breve
MARK MCAULEY (IRL), SNC McAuley Equestrian: 0/0/38.94

3.MOYA VD BISSCHOP: 2012 BWP mare by Darco x Utrillo Van De Heffinck
NICOLA PHILIPPAERTS (BEL), Nicola Philippaerts: 0/0/39.25

4.ABC QUANTUM CRUISE: 2009 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Obos Quality x Cruising
HECTOR FLORENTINO (DOM), Ronnie Beard & Wyndmont: 0/0/39.32

5.F ONE USA: 2010 KWPN stallion by Toulon x Beat Me
LORENZO DE LUCA (ITA), Poden Farms: 0/0/39.39

6.BERLINDA: 2008 ZfDP mare by Berlin x Gento
ALESSANDRA VOLPI (USA), Alessandra Volpi: 0/0/39.74

7.LORD LUCIO: 2011 Holsteiner stallion by Legolas x Cero
RODRIGO PESSOA (BRA), Artemis Equestrian Farm LLC: 0/0/39.76

8.VIVA COLUMBIA: 2005 Oldenburg mare by Couleur-Rubin x Landor S
BRIANNE GOUTAL-MARTEAU (USA), Rose Hill Farm: 0/0/39.83

9.ARPEGE DU RU: 2010 Selle Français mare by Apache D’Adriers x Quat’sous
ABDEL SAÏD (BEL), Abdel Saïd: 0/0/39.86

10.KINO: 2008 Holsteiner gelding by Lord Z x Chambertin 3
NINA MALLEVAEY (FRA), Rein Family LLC and Torrey Pines: 0/0/40.97

11.IGOR VAN DE WITTEMOERE: 2008 BWP gelding by Cooper Vd Heffinck x Dahlia Vd Heffinck
NAYEL NASSAR (EGY), Evergate Stables, LLC: 0/4/39.13

12.COMIC: 2007 KWPN stallion by Verdi x Heartbreaker
LUIZ FRANCISCO DE AZEVEDO (BRA), Luiz Francisco de Azevedo: 0/4/40.58

Hannah Hoch Pilots Prospect to Win in Bruno Delgrange Palm Beach Adult Medal

A chilly, breezy morning at the FarmVet Ring 7 wouldn’t deter Wisconsin native Hannah Hoch and Jentle from a strong performance in the Palm Beach Adult Medal sponsored by Bruno Delgrange.

Hoch rode Jentle, a KWPN gelding by Chaqui Z owned by Heritage Farm, Inc., to the win with a score of 88 over fences and a flat work-off that ensured they remained in the top spot.

“He’s a young horse so I just wanted to give him a good, confident, accurate ride,” said Hoch of the eight-year-old chestnut. “This is my first show on him. I showed him for the first time on Thursday, and he’s been a great partner so far.”

Hannah Hoch and Jentle 740_0865 Sportfot
Hannah Hoch and Jentle © Sportfot


The newly-formed partnership is off to a stellar start with a second-place finish in the NHS/THIS Adult Medal and a win in the Ariat National Adult Medal – with a score of 89 – preceding their Palm Beach Adult Medal win.

“He’s owned by my trainer. We’re hoping that he’s going to be a big equitation horse,” Hoch noted, “so the more confident he gets in these divisions, hopefully he can move on and start the big equitation.”

While Hoch and trainer Andre Dignelli have big equitation goals in mind for Jentle, Hoch herself remains excited to continue in the adult equitation and the jumpers.

“I love showing him, and any horses I can get the opportunity to show I enjoy,” Hoch said. “I also show my own mare in the medium and high amateur jumpers.”

Second place in the class went to Tatyana Soldera of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, aboard Better in Blue, owned by First Blue LLC, and third to Cameron Kohls of New York, NY, with her own Fubioh.

WEF 3 concludes on Sunday, January 30, with the $75,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic and the $50,000 Helgstrand Jewellery Grand Prix CSI2*.

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