It ended up being a two-horse race for first place in Sunday’s $25,000 JTWG Grand Prix, the pinnacle event of the ESP Fall Finale, which was the first show of the ESP Fall Series back at the main grounds of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. Just two pairs proved they were up to the task over designer Guilherme Jorge’s (BRA) patterns for the class, led by Luiz Francisco de Avezedo (BRA) and Santa Cecilia Stables’ Collin as the only double-clear partnership and the winning duo. Coincidentally, the second-place team, beating 18 other entries, was Jorge’s wife, Angela Covert (CAN) on her own Hollywood De Rase Z.

There are only two more weeks of the ESP Fall Series before the ESP Holiday Series. Equestrian action will resume with ESP November I from November 11-14, followed by the ESP Pre-Charity CSI3* that takes place November 17-21, marking the return of FEI classes to Wellington. International competition will be featured once again at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center during the ESP Holiday & Horses CSI4* from December 1-5.

“It feels great to win today. This venue is a really special place for us, so I’m happy to be back,” commented Francisco de Avezedo. “I’m also very happy for this horse because he has competed in four of the national grand prix classes hosted over the last few months in Wellington, and he won two and got second in two. He has been so consistent and competitive; he is a real fighter.”

Following the first round of riding, which featured a track of 13 fences set in the International Arena, only Francisco de Avezedo and Covert had mastered the course on their respective mounts to qualify for the jump-off. Seven other entries came close, but downed a single rail to keep them out of contention for the top spot. Down to only two pairs, Covert and Hollywood De Rase Z tackled the shortened track first, lowering one fence to incur four faults against them and open the door for Francisco de Avezedo and Collin to claim the title with a conservative but careful round. Relying on that strategy, the Brazilian team did just that, slowing the pace slightly but leaving all the rails in their cups to finish the $25,000 JTWG Grand Prix as the leaders of the victory gallop. The win was the second grand prix victory for Francisco de Avezedo and Collin during the 2021 ESP Annual Series, having already won the $25,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix during the ESP September show at Equestrian Village.

“The course today was really delicate and technical. Guilherme Jorge is one of the best designers in the world, so he really built something nice for us,” reflected Francisco de Avezedo. “It was difficult, but if you look at the results you will see there were a lot of pairs with just one rail down, which is great. There weren’t people having really bad results.”

The final standings showed Francisco de Avezedo and Collin as the blue-ribbon pair with no faults and a time of 43.14 seconds. Runner-up honors went to Covert and Hollywood De Rase Z with four faults in the jump-off in 41.61 seconds. As the fastest of the four-fault duos, Ashlee Bond (ISR) piloted Contefina LVF, owned by Ashlee Bond Show Jumping, to third place in a speedy first-round time of 74.45 seconds, the fastest ride of that phase by four seconds.

For the full results of the $25,000 JTWG Grand Prix, click HERE.