Ansgar Holtgers, Jr. (USA) rode Queretaro to victory in the $5,000 Northstar Tour CSI2* Sponsored by EnviroEquine, the first class ever held under the lights at Deeridge Farms.
The event was part of the brand new Sunset Challenge, which features competition under the lights in the evening hour. There will be a CSI2* Sunset Challenge division at either the 1.30m or 1.40m/1.45m heights at every 2020 Palm Beach Masters Series® event, an opportunity for horses and riders to get experience competing under the lights or to simply enjoy high performance sport in the most picturesque of settings.
Ansgar Holtgers, Jr. and Queretaro won the $5,000 Northstar Tour CSI2* Sponsored by EnviroEquine, the first ever class held under the lights at Deeridge Farms. Photo by Kathy Russell Photography
Holtgers, Jr., at just 14 years old, bested an accomplished field of 56 in the 1.30m event, held in a two phases special format. He and the 14-year-old Zangersheide stallion owned by Gut Einhaus, LLC, finished with a winning second-phase time of 27.23 seconds. Katie Dinan (USA) and Ulpi N de Brekka finished second with a 27.46-second time, while Blythe Masters (GBR) and Eriana were third. That duo’s time was 28.46 seconds.
“[This is] a really good experience for me,” Holtgers, Jr. said. “It helps to get to know a horse and how they’re going to be under the lights and prepare for future [competitions in this setting].”
Holtgers, Jr. has been partnered with his mount for more than three years, but Wednesday’s competition marked the pair’s first under the lights together.
“We call him Q. He’s a weirdo!” Holtgers, Jr. exclaimed. “You never know what he’s going to do! When he’s really good, he’s really good! You can’t deny it. I’ve had him for about three and a half years. He’s just super.”
A star-studded cast took on course designer Alan Wade’s (IRL) course. Also competing were World No. 1 Martin Fuchs (SUI), Olympic gold medalist Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA), and Olympic bronze medalist Cian O’Connor (IRL).
“Cian O’Connor came up to me and said, ‘That was a cracking round!’ That meant a lot to me,” Holtgers, Jr. said. “That was really cool. He gave me some tips, and I really appreciated that.”
The Sunset Challenge continues Thursday, Jan. 30 at 5:00pm ET with the $5,000 Northstar Tour Qualifier CSI2*.
“It’s a fantastic show,” Holtgers, Jr. said. “I feel like they really put effort and time into this show. I love coming here.”
Results: $5,000 Northstar Tour CSI2* Sponsored by EnviroEqiune
1- Ansgar, Holtgers, Jr. (USA), Queretaro 0/27.23
2- Katie Dinan (USA), Ulpi N de Brekka 0/27.46
3- Blythe Masters (GBR), Eriana 0/28.46
4- Flo Fulton Miller (USA), Bacardi Dv Z 0/28.84
5- Charlotte Jacobs (USA), Darthus 0/28.90
6- Blythe Masters (GBR), Damn Smooth 0/29.45
7- Olivia Chowdry (USA), Balkana du Tillard 0/29.60
8- Sophia Botved Studd (SUI), Holsteins Estwood 0/29.67
9- Daniel Michan Halbinger (MEX), Karina R 0/29.73
10- Julian Cournane (IRL), Sunny van de Hunters 0/30.00