FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival: Week Ten Wrap-up
RELEASE: March 19, 2012
Nick Skelton and Big Star Repeat Victory in $80,000 Pennfield Feeds CSI 3* Grand Prix
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
The tenth week of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) concluded with a day full of jumper competition at The Stadium on the beautiful grass field. Nick Skelton (GBR) and Beverly Widdowson's Big Star earned yet another victory at the FTI WEF in the $80,000 Pennfield Feeds CSI 3* Grand Prix. Skelton and Big Star beat out Cian O'Connor (IRL) and KEC Alligator Alley and David McPherson (GBR) and Chamberlain Z in a three horse jump-off. The Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Series presented by the Dutta Corporation in association with Guido Klatte concluded, and Egypt's Nayel Nassar took the top spot in the overall standings, followed by Charlotte Jacobs (USA), Lydia Ulrich (USA) and Liza Finsness (USA), who was the only clear round in the class.
Sunday's grand prix course was set by Michel Vaillancourt of Aiken, SC. The class saw 45 competitors and just three were able to clear the first round course to advance to the jump-off. Returning to defend their title as the winners of the same class in 2011, Skelton and Big Star were the only pair to go double clear for the victory and also completed the fastest round in 39.95 seconds.
Cian O'Connor and KEC Alligator Alley, owned by Sinead and Oonagh Kennedy, had one rail at the last jump and a time of 41.93 seconds to finish second. David McPherson and Chamberlain Z, owned by McPherson and Mr. & Mrs. Holtgers, also had a rail in the jump-off and their time of 42.49 seconds placed third.
Big Star is a nine-year-old KWPN stallion by Quick Star x Nimmerdor. Skelton and Big Star were the first pair to show in the day's class and held the only clear round for most of the afternoon. O'Connor and McPherson did not show until 40th and 41st in the order of go, and cleared the course back to back.
Commenting on the jump-off, Skelton detailed, "He's a quick horse, but I didn't go crazy fast. He jumped really good. When you've got two like this after you, you never know what's going to happen. Don't believe any of them when they tell you they're just going for a steady clear. Even if there are only two in the jump-off, you've still got to go. You can't be nonchalant about it. You've got to get stuck in and go."
Skelton acknowledged the great success that he has had with all of his horses during this year's FTI WEF. "The horses have gone really well here," he said. "I'm lucky because I've got two very, very good horses. Probably as good as anybody's got. That makes life a lot easier. They make me look good."
Second place finisher Cian O'Connor has also had a great circuit and was pleased with his mount. "I'm very happy with Alligator. I just got him at the start of this circuit. Before that he was doing 1.40m in Ireland," O'Connor noted. "He has never really even traveled outside of the country, so he has come a long way. When you look at the start list, you would think Nick Skelton and Big Star are the class act in the field. To be second to them is a big honor and a big deal. I'm certainly very, very pleased with my horse today."
Commenting on his round, O'Connor stated, "I knew Big Star would be very quick. Even naturally he's very quick without going fast, and Nick is a fast rider. I reckoned even if I had a couple down, I was going to be third. I went for a medium round. As it happened, if I had left the fence up, I was still going to be second, so it didn't really make any difference. When the horse is learning to jump this level, there's no harm to turn back inside and across fences. He was off the pace, but if they don't get closer to the pace, you can't just go from schooling to going fast. It's all part of this horse's career, which will hopefully take off at the bigger shows in Europe this summer."
Third place finisher David McPherson was also happy with his horse Chamberlain Z and the day's outcome. "He has finally got it together today and he jumped great," McPherson said. "Under no circumstances would he ever catch Nick. Also I have not been in many jump-offs with him. He has jumped fabulous round after fabulous round, but I didn't want to go and do anything lunatic. I'm pleased with him."
McPherson praised Skelton, a fellow British rider, on his success. "He's brilliant on two fabulous horses at the moment. He's riding with absolute confidence. It just looks like he's in the groove," he acknowledged. "It is very rare that you have those 'purple patches' that are so sustained. It looks like he's going to have a phenomenal year."
On his placing in the class, McPherson noted that it will help in qualifying for the $500,000 FTI Consulting Finale Grand Prix in week 12. "This was actually quite important for me to get a place here because I have only done three or four grand prix. I needed to get some points, so good job for me. I'm really pleased," he said.
Outside of the jump-off, Alexandra Thornton (GBR) and Blue Curacao, owned by Dunwalke LLC, finished the first round course with one time fault in 85.57 seconds to earn the fourth place honors. Thornton was also presented a special award as the Leading Lady Jumper Rider for the tenth week of competition, an award sponsored by Martha Jolicoeur of Illustrated Properties in memory of Dale Lawler.
Richie Moloney (IRL) and Equinimity LLC's Ahorn Van De Zuuthoeve also had one time fault in round one with a time of 87.91 seconds to place fifth. Jonathan Asselin (CAN) and Attache Stables' Showgirl had two time faults in 91.70 seconds and earned the sixth place prize.
Nassar, Jacobs, Ulrich, Finsness Finish at the Top of Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Series
There were 35 entries in the final round of the Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Series. Only one rider was able to find a clear path around Vaillancourt's track, and it was Liza Finsness and Ormsby Hill, a 15-year-old Warmblood gelding, who went 28th in the order. The fastest four-faulter for second place was Charlotte Jacobs of East Aurora, NY, on Promised Land. Jordan MacPherson and Piccobello du val de Geer (the winners of round one) were third, while Catherine Pasmore and Z Canta finished fourth. Nayel Nassar and Lordan (the winners of round two) rounded out the top five.
Nassar commented on the course, "It was tough. It was technical, with the big water, the triple (combination) coming at the end of the course, and a few really technical lines where you had to make sure you had control of your horse and they're focused. At the same time, they're coming into this ring for the first time, at least most of us, so you have to make sure everything is in line. It was definitely a challenge."
Nassar's top five finish in the class gave him the clear win by seven points in the overall standings for the series. There were four events in the series, and Nassar was consistent throughout on his mount Lordan, an eight-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Lordanos x Landor. For his win on Sunday, Nassar was presented with a Bruno DelGrange saddle.
In the overall standings, Charlotte Jacobs and Lydia Ulrich (USA) on Santos Utopia tied with 49 points, but Jacobs' higher finish in the final round gave her the edge to be the top Under 21 rider, who will get a spot on the USEF European Young Rider Tour this summer, with transportation provided by the Dutta Corporation in association with Guido Klatte.
Fourth place overall went to Liza Finsness, and MacPherson was fifth overall. Sixth place overall went to Alise Oken, who rode Kaid Du Ry.
The day's challenging course was something that Finsness looked forward to, thanks to her strong relationship with Ormsby Hill. "I'm so used to Ormsby and I've been riding him for so long and know everything about him. Going into this course, I was pretty positive," she said. "This is the kind of course that we excel at, big and hard, because we're not fast. If there was a jump-off, we probably would not have won. This type of course, I knew this was our course. Alan (Korotkin), my trainer, said the same thing. We were going into this very positive."
Finsness felt that the extra pressure in a series like this helps. "It means a lot (to have this series). It adds a little bit of pressure, which is always nice. When there's a lot of people and you know it's important, I feel like Ormsby jumps so much better. He knows that it's an important class. He's like, 'Liza, I got your back. We can do this.' It's pretty cool."
Jacobs, who also finished second in this series last year, enjoys the competition. "I think having a format like this where you just have to keep jumping consecutive clear rounds is a good thing," she agreed. "I was more confident going into the Series this year. After last year, I really wanted to win this year; I wanted to do well again. I jumped double clear the first day and was third, and then the second one I had three down so I didn't want that to happen. I came back in the team and had one down and then jumped clear. Then I just tried my hardest to jump clear today and just had the one down, but he was great and there was only one clear, so I felt good about it."
Jacobs said of her horse, "Peanut felt great. He was really, really wild, which is when he's at his best. He was bucking in the schooling area and being all crazy, and I love it when he's like that because you just gallop and everything shows up right."
For Nassar, the young rider series was a big help for his young horse. "It feels great, especially to do it on such a young horse. He's only eight, but he's been really consistent throughout. We were questioning whether to bring him here to the grass ring, but it turned out for the best. I came and rode in it the first week and it went well. It's a great class. It's still tough and it's good competition. At the same time, we get to do a lot. We got to jump a team competition and we got to come out here. I think it was good experience for the riders and the horses. It was fantastic."
Jumper Results: Wednesday through Sunday
There were three competitive classes in the International Arena on the opening day of week 10 of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival. Starting out the day was another win for Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) and HH Palouchin, owned by Double H Farm, in the $32,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Classic. Following that, another familiar face in the winner's circle, Laura Chapot entered again and won the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m speed class with Bradberry. In the last class, the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Jump-off class, Chapot rode Quointreau Un Prince, owned by Laura Chapot and McLain Ward, to the win.
In the opening class, the $32,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Classic, there were 37 entries and 14 clear rounds over the speed course set by Michel Vaillancourt of Aiken, SC. The fastest of those was HH Palouchin, guided by Rodrigo Pessoa in 55.57 seconds. Close behind in second was Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Cyklon 1083, owned by Spy Coast Farms LLC in 56.03 seconds. Third place went to David Will (GER) on Dietmar Gugler Reitsport's Don Cesar in 57.54 seconds.
Laura Chapot and Bradberry have won their fair share of classes in the Spy Coast Farm 1.40m division, and Wednesday's class showed why. They sped around the course in 58.370 seconds as the last ones in the ring out of 78 entries to win by almost two seconds. Setting the earlier winning pace of 60.048 seconds just a few trips before, Shane Sweetnam (IRL) had to settle for second place again, this time with Spy Coast Farm's Rolette. With a time of 60.882 seconds, Katie Dinan (USA) and Grant Road Partners' Sandro were third.
Chapot stepped up to the win again in the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m jump-off class. Going ninth in the class of 89 entries, Chapot and Quointreau Un Prince set the jump-off time to beat at 29.148 seconds with a clear round, which no one was able to match. Chapot also finished third in the class on Umberto, owned by Mary Chapot, who had a time of 29.581 seconds. Laura Kraut and Woodstock O posted a time of 29.504 seconds for second place.
The FTI WEF continued on Thursday with round ten of the $32,000 WEF Challenge Cup Series and a victory for Irish rider Shane Sweetnam and Spy Coast Farm's Amaretto D'Arco. In a twelve horse jump-off, the pair was fastest of just two clear rounds, topping Canada's Tiffany Foster and Victor, owned by Torrey Pines Stables and Artisan Farms LLC.
The WEF Challenge Cup saw 46 entries showing over a course set by Michel Vaillancourt of Aiken, SC. Twelve posted clear rounds to return for the jump-off, but just two were able to clear the second round.
Six entries faulted over the short course before Tiffany Foster and Victor returned with the first double clear in 46.58 seconds. Last to go, Shane Sweetnam and Amaretto D'Arco were the second pair to go clear and their time of 45.73 seconds took over the lead.
Charlie Jacobs, Sr. (USA) and CMJ Sporthorse LLC's Flaming Star finished third with four faults in the fastest jump-off time of 39.53 seconds. Tim Gredley (GBR) and Mrs. R. Gredley's Omelli placed fourth with four faults in 42.04 seconds. Sarah Tredennick (USA) and Wood Run Farm's Vigaro earned the fifth place prize with their four fault jump-off round in 42.13 seconds. Reed Kessler (USA) and Ligist finished sixth, Kevin Babington (IRL) and Mark Q seventh, and Alexandra Thornton (GBR) and Dunwalke LLC's Caballero 84 eighth to round out the four-fault scores.
Showing earlier in the morning, Kelsey Thatcher and Pony Lane Farm's Everything won in the $2,500 High Amateur Owner Jumpers. Sydney Shulman and Little Lady D'Elle, owned by John Madden Sales Inc., topped the $1,500 Griffis Group High Junior Jumpers.
Hillary Dobbs, of Sussex, NJ, rode her speedy mount Marengo to victory in Friday morning's $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Speed Challenge at the FTI WEF. Other top finishers for the day included Ireland's Conor Swail and Donatello, owned by Hara de la Rogue and Normandie Connection, in the $32,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Classic. Laura Chapot (USA) and Umberto won the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m jump-off class.
Ten entries out of 74 jumped clear in the morning's $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Speed Challenge showing over a course set by Michel Vaillancourt, of Aiken S.C. Hillary Dobbs and Marengo, owned by The Dobbs Group, had the fastest time by almost four seconds in 59.736 seconds to earn the top prize.
Laura Chapot and Elizabeth R, owned by Chapot and Barbara Rockford, were the first pair to clear the speed track and set the time in 63.947 seconds, which would eventually finish third. Second place went to Michael Murphy and Audi's Allouette Van Het Lambroeck, owned by Murphy & Team Rakowsky, with their time of 63.840 seconds.
In the second Spy Coast Farm 1.40m class, held in jump-off format, Laura Chapot won another class in the division this week, this time on Umberto, owned by Mary Chapot. Their clear jump-off round in 34.627 seconds took the lead away from Ronan McGuigan (IRL) on Capall Zidane, who finished in 35.123 seconds. Third place went to Katherine Monahan-Prudent and V, who had a time of 35.346 seconds.
The $32,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic was held under the lights on Saturday night at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center with a win for Germany's Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Cantano. Twenty-six entries showed over a challenging course set by Michel Vaillancourt of Aiken, SC, and the pair completed the only clear round for the win.
With just one faultless round, no jump-off was necessary. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Cantano were the winners, and nine four-fault entries ranked in order of their times to follow.
Fellow German rider David Will and Giovanni 151, owned by Paul Schockemohle, had the fastest four fault round in 69.84 seconds to place second. Great Britain's Ben Maher took third place honors riding Mrs. Emma Phillips' Quiet Easy 4 to four faults in 69.91 seconds and also placed fourth with Miss Louise Flower's Rowan with four faults in 71.71 seconds. David McPherson put Great Britain in fifth place as well, earning four faults in 72.27 seconds with his own and Mr. & Mrs. Holtger's Chamberlain Z.
Also showing in the International Arena on Saturday, it was a one-two finish for Kira Kerkorian in the $1,500 Reist Industries Medium Junior Jumper speed class to begin the day. Kerkorian rode Ballypatrick Mystique to the win and finished second aboard Malcolm, both horses owned by Lisa Kerkorian.
Charlotte Jacobs and Deeridge Farm's Kachina then topped the $10,000 Griffis Group High Junior Jumper Classic. Jacobs and Kachina were the fastest of four double clears in a jump-off of eight competitors in the class, and they also came away with a $3,000 bonus for wearing SSG 'Digital' gloves with the SSG horse head logo clearly visible. Jacobs also took the fourth place honors with North Star's Karonda V. Schl'Hof CH. Lillie Keenan and Abigail Wexner's Zycarla Z were second; Lydia Ulrich and Up the Creek Farm's Santos Utopia finished third.
The final class of the day session was the $15,000 SJHOF High Amateur-Owner Classic, which saw a win for Kelsey Thatcher and Pony Lane Farm's Klotaire Du Moulin. The pair had the fastest of four clear rounds in a six horse jump-off. Vanessa Mannix and Nirvana De Terlong finished second; Katie Dinan and Grant Road Partners' Sandro were third.
Week 10 Classic winners:
$10,000 Equine Tack and Nutrionals Adult 18-35 Jumpers - Avery Sharp and Sky's The Limit
$10,000 Martha Jolicoeur Adult 36-49 Jumpers - Melanie Brown and Windward's Tilia
$10,000 Charles Owen Low Amateur-Owner Jumpers - Emily Kinch and Landora II
$10,000 South Florida SportChassis Low Junior Jumpers - Madeline Thatcher and Manneken Du Coty
$10,000 Masters Jumpers - Donald Graves and Rainmaker
$10,000 Surpass Medium Amateur-Owner Jumpers - Megan Nusz and Banana D'Ive Z
$10,000 Reist Industries Medium Junior Jumpers - Lucas Porter and Psychee D'Amour
Week 10 Champions:
Children's Jumper 13 & Under - Delaney Hamill and Nabuco Du Theil
Farmvet Adult Modified Jumpers - Casey Lorusso and Pinacoco; Blythe Masters and Sr Doctro; Blythe Masters and Delano Peak
Children's Jumper 14-17 - Hannah Patten and Mephisto
Children's Modified Jumpers - Aleesha Melwani and Thunder-Ball
Low Adult Jumper 18-35 - Anna-Rose Klingenstein and Just Like Me
Paddock Cakes Low Adult Jumper 36 & Over - Hope Smith and Unique
Paddock Cakes Low Children's Jumper - Nicole Hirsch and Juniper
Hunter and Equitation Results: Thursday through Sunday
Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, FL, earned the championship tricolor in this week's Sanctuary Second Year Green Working Hunter division atop her mount, Inclusive. The pair received top honors in all four over fences classes with impressive scores of 87, 88, 89 and 90. Combined with second place honors in the under saddle, Colvin and Inclusive secured 46 total points for the championship win. Reserve honors went to Havens Schatt and her mount, Macallan, who finished second, third, fourth and fourth over fences with scores of 84, 85, 80 and 81. The pair also received top honors in the under saddle class, collecting 24 points for the reserve tricolor win.
Vanessa Stevenson of Southampton, NY, rode to the top of this week's Ariat National Adult Medal atop her mount, Lennox. After taking several years off to attend law school in Rhode Island, Stevenson settled into the irons and entered the show ring for the first time in years to win today's Ariat National Adult Medal with a high score of 83. Stevenson, one of the top four riders called back to test, reserved her first round lead after riding against Amy Davies, Kira Iscol and Sarah Ingram. Following Stevenson, Ingram and Fairway placed second, Iscol and Julius placed third and Davies and Well To Do finished fourth.
In the hunter arenas this week, Louise Serio and Kelley Farmer swept their respective divisions to earn both champion and reserve tricolors. Serio claimed the CWD 3'6" Performance Working Hunter division, earning 46 total points on Castle Rock, a thirteen-year-old KWPN owned by Bryan Baldwin, and 18.5 points on Rock Star, a fourteen-year-old Warmblood owned by Bright Star 158, LLC. In the Sanctuary Regular Confirmation Hunter arena, Kelley Farmer impressed judges, sweeping the division atop her mounts, Vox and Clearly. Farmer earned the championship tricolor with 43 total points atop Vox, an eight-year-old Bavarian Warmblood owned by Jessica Stitt, and 33 points on Clearly, a twelve-year-old Oldenburg owned by Jane Gaston.
Shawn Casady of Harriman, TN, continued his success in the Antares Large Junior 16-17 Hunter arena atop Blue Steel and Avalon, sweeping the division for second time this season. Casady and Blue Steel scored two firsts, a second and a third over fences to top the division with 30 points. Reserve honors went to Casady's second mount, Avalon, who finished second, second, third and fourth over fences and sixth under saddle, collecting 18.5 points total.
The winning mount, Blue Steel, is an eleven-year-old Warmblood owned by Abigail McArdle of Barrington, IL. The dapple gray gelding has had a successful season at FTI WEF, earning two championship tricolors and three reserve tricolors to date. Casady's second mount, Avalon, is a twelve-year-old Belgian Warmblood owned by Visse Wedell of North Salem, NY, and has been equally successful, collecting three championships and two reserves thus far.
In this week's Equine Couture Large Pony Hunter Division, Kristen Lutz of Stratford, CT, earned the championship tricolor on an eight-year-old Dutch Riding Pony named Chatsworth. The pair scored two firsts, a third and a sixth over fences to top the division with 24.5 points. Lutz and her second ride, Happily Ever Laughter, owned by Madison Goetzmann, received the reserve tricolor along with Meredith Darst and For The Laughter, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker; both mounts earned 20 points for the tie.
Additional pony championships this week went to Piece of Rain and Bit of Laughter. Piece of Rain is a seven-year-old Welsh Thoroughbred owned and ridden by Jordyn Rose Freedman of Longmeadow, MA. The bay gelding topped the Large Green Pony Hunter division with 34 points. Bit of Laughter, a seven-year-old Dutch Warmblood owned by David Gochman, emerged victorious in the Gotham Enterprizes Small Pony Hunter division, earning 42 points with Emma Kurtz in the irons.
For full results, please visit www.showgroundslive.com