The exclamation point on a spectacular season for Richard Vogel was victory in the $500,000 Rolex CSI5* Grand Prix during the final ‘Saturday Night Lights’ of the 2023 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at Wellington International. Vogel (GER) expertly guided the nine-year-old Deutsches Sportpferd gelding Cepano Baloubet to the horse’s debut victory at the CSI5* level.
“I’m overwhelmed,” exclaimed 26-year-old Vogel. “Two weeks ago, I wasn’t sure I even wanted to do this horse in this big a grand prix. But he felt really good and then we thought, ‘We’re here and he’s in very good shape so let’s give it a try,’ and he was amazing.”
Olympic course designer Guilherme Jorge (BRA) set a challenging track for 40 contenders during the Rolex-sponsored finale week of WEF. Vogel set an early pace as the second to attack the course, and a total of seven jumped clean, representing five nations.
Vogel set the time to chase from the pole position in the tie-breaking jump-off. His time of 40.53 seconds was nine seconds faster than the runner-up, Roberto Teran Tafur (COL) riding Dez’ Ooktoff, a 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion (Oolandro x Lys Rouge). Third place went to Irish Olympian Bertram Allen in the irons of Pacino Amiro, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Pacino x NC Amiro).