Friday, Jan. 31, 2020 — Wellington, FL — As the sun dipped behind the horizon during Friday’s $72,900 CSI4*-W Candy Tribble Qualifier, Sergio Alvarez Moya, the only Spanish rider in the international field of 60, rode away with the day’s highest honor aboard his longtime partner Charmeur. It was the first big victory of the year for Alvarez Moya, who said the day’s result took even him by surprise.
“Honestly, I didn’t expect [Charmeur] to be so good, because he was off for a few months last year,” Alvarez Moya said. “I started showing him again in November, and it took him a little longer than I expected to get fit. But it seems like he really likes it here!”
Alvarez Moya topped a star-studded eight-horse jump-off that included two Olympic gold medalists in Laura Kraut (USA) and Beezie Madden (USA), along with defending champion Alex Granato (USA). The top pair posted a winning time of 37.23 seconds. Adrienne Sternlicht (USA) and Bennys Legacy finished second with a time of 37.82 seconds, while Ashlee Bond (ISR) and Donatello finished third on a 38.08-second time.
Eighth to go over Course Designer Alan Wade’s (IRL) 1.55m jump-off track, with two riders still to come, Alvarez Moya said he had no time to worry about losing his hold on the top spot.
“I came out, and [Charmeur] is always a bit nervous, as you can see, so I had no time to think about it,” he laughed. “He keeps me busy all the time—he’s a bit of a special horse! [But] once you’re on and in the ring, he always tries hard, and he’s always with you.”
According to the Spanish rider, the 13-year-old KWPN stallion is as opinionated as he is talented, a fact that doesn’t always work to the pair’s benefit. "He can be very [quiet] in the first round, and then you come out for the jump-off, and he doesn’t let you get [back] on!
“When he’s fit, he’s a fun horse to have, and he’s very competitive,” said Alvarez Moya, who also received the Sue Grange Award as the owner of the day’s winning horse.
Despite two standout rounds from Sternlicht and Bond, Alvarez Moya knew he had a shot at the podium. “In the jump-off, [Charmeur] is naturally very quick, and he enjoys it, so I can [either] have a rail [in the first round] or normally, he’s in the top three,” he said. “I think I had a very good turn to the double back to the combination. He has a lot of experience, so he knows exactly where I’m going. He has a lot of intuition for that.”
Alvarez Moya also credited the venue at Deeridge Farms for his horse’s performance. “I have to say, the grass is not only beautiful, but it’s comfortable for them to jump [on],” he said. “Even with my horse, if you’d asked me last week if he was ready to win such a class, I would say no, [but] probably the ground has a lot to do with that. He just feels comfortable, and then the scope grows a little bit, and they want to do it right.”
The $72,900 CSI4*-W qualifying class was named in honor of Candy Tribble, a longtime supporter and dear friend of the Palm Beach Masters Series®. Tribble was the proud owner of a number of top show jumping horses and often sat at Deeridge from sunup to sunset, watching every class. The top 40 riders in the $72,900 CSI4*-W Candy Tribble Qualifier will return to contest the $213,300 CSI4*-W Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Wellington on Sunday, February 2, at 1:30pm ET.
About the North American League
The Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League, now in its fifth year, consists of 14 venues in three countries - the United States, Mexico and Canada. Each venue hosts qualifiers to determine the North American riders who will compete at the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final (April 15-19) in Las Vegas, Nevada. The NAL, which offers $2.4 million in prize money, is one of 16 leagues that form the global FEI Jumping World Cup™ series, which has been in existence since 1978.