The Del Mar International World Cup™ Week heated up fast on Thursday afternoon with the $36,500 Grand Prix Qualifier, the first of its rated classes. USA’s Mandy Porter and Coral Reef Follow Me II produced a leading jump off round to come out victorious, securing the lion’s share of the winner’s purse and a place in Saturday’s $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup Del Mar.
On October 20, 2017, a field of 54 horse and rider combinations tackled the 1.50m course designed by Ireland’s Alan Wade. Only 11 pairs turned in clear rounds to advance to the eight-effort short course, kicked off by Porter and the 12-year old bay Westphalian stallion Coral Reef Follow Me II. Their speedy time of 39.41s rewarded them with an eventual 1st place finish.
It was only a few weeks ago that Porter won the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping qualifier at Sacramento CSI3*-W. After Thursday’s winning performance, she’ll look to pick up her second back to back World Cup qualifier on Saturday.
Second place went to Canada’s Ben Asselin and Wahrhaftige, who trailed Porter with a time of 39.94s. USA’s Adrienne Sternlicht and Toulago had the ground speed to win, though a few exuberant bucks on course cost them precious seconds and ensured the win for Porter.
“I was pleased overall with how I went, but I thought I left the door open a little bit. I got lucky and it all worked out,” said Porter.
Gwendolyn Sontheim, owner of Coral Reef Ranch, was on hand to see the win. “It was lovely to see how Mandy and the horse are coming together The horse loves her and trusts her, and she’s such a spectacular rider. I couldn’t be more proud of them and honored to be part of that team.”
Porter wishes to thank her sponsors, including Purina, Voltaire, EquiFit, FarmVet, and Samshield, as well as owners Gwendolyn Sontheim and Abbey Archer, and her barn team. “It’s a group effort. I’m just the fortunate one in the spotlight a little more than every one else, but if I didn’t have the great team and sponsors then it just wouldn’t work.”