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Lucas Back for More in Pre-Green 3 & 4 Year Old Hunters, This Time with Christopher Payne

RELEASE: February 15, 2013
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Lauren Fisher and Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Lucas and Christopher Payne (Anne Gittins Photography)
Lucas and Christopher Payne (Anne Gittins Photography)
Wellington, FL
- Week six of the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) continued on Thursday with a championship win for Christopher Payne and Susan Moriconi's Lucas in the Pre-Green 3&4 Year Old Hunter division at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL. The $50,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 6 was cancelled due to inclement weather.

Week six, sponsored by Spy Coast Farm, runs February 13-17. The week will feature the highlight $125,000 FEI World Cup™ Qualifier CSI 3*-W Grand Prix, presented by Spy Coast Farm, on Saturday, February 16, and the $33,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic on Sunday, February 17.

After a two-week hiatus from the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival, Susan Moriconi's Lucas once again dominated the Pre-Green 3&4 Year Old Hunter division, this time with Christopher Payne in the irons. Payne, of Cincinnati, OH, piloted Lucas to a nearly faultless performance over two days of competition before bringing home the tricolor honors.

Payne and Lucas, a four-year-old Oldenburg gelding, jumped to blue ribbon placings in three out of four over fences round before wrapping up the division with another first place finish under saddle. Reserve champion was San Paolo, ridden by Molly MacAdow and owned by Tammy McConnell. MacAdow and San Paolo were first and fifth over fences day one, followed by sixth place over fences and eighth under saddle on day two.

Moriconi only purchased Lucas just over two weeks ago. "He's beautiful, he jumps amazing. He moves great and he is just the sweetest horse," Moriconi commented.

Payne's partnership has been equally brief with Lucas, who was previously ridden by Holly Orlando, but the clearly seamless transition has done nothing to slow down Lucas' wildly successful debut at WEF. Lucas has been champion of the Pre-Green 3&4 Year Old division twice before, during weeks two and three, and is currently first place in the circuit champion standings.

"This is the first time I've shown him," Payne admitted. "He's a very sweet, very straight-forward, great-minded young horse."

During day two of competition for the division, the young horse continued to perform strongly despite the lack of typical Florida sunshine. While several horses struggled with the sudden downpour as the over fences class wrapped up and the under saddle began, Lucas remained calm and collected.

"Whenever you're on a young horse, you never really know what each day is going to hold. So far, he seems to be the same horse every day and tries his hardest every time. His consistency is one of his best strengths. I think he's a young horse with an old mind," Payne described.

Spectators and exhibitors alike can keep an eye out for Lucas to continue his hot streak in the Pre-Green 3&4 Year Old Hunter division throughout the remainder of the FTI WEF. "It's a great division for his age," Payne stated. "We'll move up to Pre-Greens later this year and we'll shoot for the First Years next year."

In addition to Thursday's hunter competition, the $50,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 6 was on the roster for FTI WEF competition in the International Arena at PBIEC. A total of 82 entries were scheduled to compete and 72 of those had the opportunity to jump with 17 clear rounds completed before a severe thunderstorm caused the remainder of the class to be cancelled.

Thursday's Challenge Cup competition was a qualifier for Saturday night's $125,000 FEI World Cup™ Qualifier CSI 3*-W Grand Prix, presented by Spy Coast Farm. Under the circumstances, show management has made the decision that all riders will have the opportunity to show one horse in the night class.

Prior to the worst of the weather, two classes were held in the morning in the International Arena on Thursday. Beezie Madden and Trelawny Farm's Valdato won the $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m jump-off class. Alise Oken and Hi Hopes Farm, LLC's Marcus Quintus won in the $2,500 RCG High Amateur-Owner Jumper speed class.