20 February '24

GP victory for H5 Porthos Maestro WH Z in Ocala.

H5 Porthos Maestro WH Z - Carlos Hank Guerreiro - Andrew Ryback Photography

Andrew Ryback Photography

At the World Equestrian Centre in Ocala, last Saturday, the rain didn't deter the crowd from gathering for the first international Grand Prix of 2024, the Coco-Cola Beverages CSI3* GP. A total of 32 combinations from 9 different countries participated in the challenging course, designed by Irish course designer Colm Quinn. Five of them managed to keep it faultless in the initial round, securing a spot for the jump-off. One of them was Mexican rider Carlos Hank Guerreiro with the 10-year-old gelding H5 Porthos Maestro WH Z, a son of Picasso Z and Ogano Sitte, bred in Belgium by Frank Fory and Christophe Wouters. As the third combination to start, Carlos Hank Guerreiro and H5 Porthos Maestro WH Z also flawlessly navigated the jump-off, and with a finishing time of 40.66 seconds, they crowned themselves the winners of this CSI3* GP.

H5 Porthos Maestro WH Z - Carlos Hank Guerreiro - Andrew Ryback Photography (1)

Carlos Hank Guerreiro: "My trainer Eduardo Menezes told me there were only five in the jump-off, so I might as well go for it. We also wanted to test Porthos a bit. He's still green enough, and this was only his first real big jump-off. Daniel (Coyle) had a pretty fast time, so we just wanted to give it a try. I knew it was possible to do one less canter stride from obstacle 1 to obstacle 2, and I managed that easily enough. My horse is naturally very fast; you just let him go, and he wants to gallop forward.

"Porthos is just a fantastic horse. I got him when he was seven, and he was quite green then. He was ridden by a very young rider from Belgium (Seppe Wouters), who took him to the European Youth Championships and then to the Belgian National Championships at 1.45m height. We saw him there and bought him shortly after. From that moment on, he just did everything we asked of him. Since last year, we've grown to this level, and he's already achieved a few top placements, but never stood on the podium or won. So, I couldn't be happier with him. He did everything and much more tonight."

H5 Porthos Maestro WH Z - Carlos Hank Guerreiro - Andrew Ryback Photography (2)

However, during this CSI3* GP, there was also a second Zangersheide horse on the podium thanks to Irish rider Tom Wachman and the 13-year-old gray gelding Berlux Z, a son of Berlin and Major de la Cour bred by Laveco NV. Wachman and Berlux Z also ensured a faultless jump-off, but they crossed the finish line in 43.67 seconds.

The day before, Belgian rider Emilie Conter achieved success with her 10-year-old stallion Cilanto XC Z, a breeding product of Xavier Coninckx combining the bloodlines of Chellsini Z and Quintus. Conter and Cilanto XC Z, already securing a 2nd place in Wednesday's 1.40m class, emerged victorious in the 1.45m class with a faultless second phase in 40.64 seconds, leading the competition by a narrow margin of half a second.

Cilanto XC Z - Emilie Conter - Andrew Ryback Photography

Furthermore, it was also a successful weekend for American rider Alessandra Volpi with the 9-year-old mare Candy Luck Z, a daughter of Comme Il Faut and Canturo bred by Dirk Geerinckx. In both the 1.40m class and the 1.50m class on Wednesday, this duo secured a 5th place in the rankings.

Finally, we also saw 2 Zangersheide horses in the top of the rankings during Wednesday's 1.45m high-speed class. There was a 2nd place for American rider Heather Caristo Williams with the 13-year-old gelding Marciano MVF (formerly Swing de Landetta Z – Stakkato x Libero H – B: Stoeterij Landetta) and a 5th place for Emilie Conter with the 10-year-old mare Trixie Z (Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z x Regilio – B: Hugo De Witte). Both managed to neatly keep all poles in the cups.