2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival Opens Competition



Nick Skelton Returns to the Winners Circle in $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumpers

Wellington, FL - The 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) began its competition today with opening jumper classes in the International Arena. To start the year off right, Nick Skelton (GBR) was back in the saddle and in the winner's circle with Unique, owned by Beverly Widdowson, in the $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumpers.

The first week of the FTI WEF runs through Sunday, January 16. The 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of competition that conclude on April 3, 2011, and they will be awarding almost $6 million in prize money through the circuit. The highlight jumper class in week one is the $30,000 Speed Derby on Sunday at 2 p.m.

This week's course designer in the International Arena is Anthony D'Ambrosio of Red Hook, NY. He set a welcoming course for the 12 entries in the Time First Round class. The early leader was Pablo Barrios (VEN) who was clear on G&C Sinatra. They set a time of 69.682 seconds that would hold up for fourth place. Barrios placed third on his second mount, G&C Flash, who went in 67.614 seconds. Enrique Gonzales (MEX) improved on that time in 66.744 seconds with his horse Katina, and they finished second.

Going ninth in the order, Skelton and Unique, a 10-year-old KWPN by Indoctro x Voltaire, were quick through the turns and kept a steady pace to cross the timers in 66.046 seconds and moved into the lead.

Skelton, a six-time Olympian, has returned to the show ring after a six month break. In August, he had a hip replacement, and then he underwent surgery for his rotator cuff in September. Skelton started riding again on the day before Christmas Eve, when he rode two horses, and then didn't get back on a horse until last Thursday. This was his first class back in the show ring.

"The horses have been resting and were in the field for two or three months," Skelton said. "I feel good. My shoulder is a bit sore, but that's to be expected I suppose. I had to take the time off. With my hip in the end, I couldn't walk. My shoulder I couldn't get above 90 degrees. It feels okay and it will get better."


Unique, who showed with American Olympic gold medalist Laura Kraut at WEF in the 7/8 Year Old Young Jumpers, competed last year with Skelton in grand prix classes in Europe. Along with Unique, Skelton has two eight-year-old jumpers and his top grand prix horse Carlo 273, who was a grand prix winner at last year's FTI WEF.  "It feels good to be back in Florida, and I hope to have another good circuit," Skelton expressed.

The 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival will continue tomorrow with the $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round One, which will run in the International Arena at 1 p.m.

For full results please visit www.shownet.biz or www.equestriansport.com.

Final Results: $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumpers Time First Round

  • 1 UNIQUE NICK SKELTON BEVERLY WIDDOWSON: 0/66.046
  • 2 KATINA ENRIQUE GONZALES ENRIQUE GONZALES: 0/66.744
  • 3 G&C FLASH PABLO BARRIOS G&C FARM: 0/67.614
  • 4 G&C SINATRA PABLO BARRIOS G&C FARM: 0/69.682
  • 5 S&L SLINGBACK DARRAGH KERINS S&L FARM: 0/78.679
  • 6 AMARETTO D'ARCO SHANE SWEETNAM SPY COAST FARM LLC:
  • 4/71.172
  • 7 HH CALVANO QUENTIN JUDGE DOUBLE H FARM: 4/72.578
  • 8 RE LOUIS AMY MOMROW JACKIE PIRAQUIVE: 4/72.753
  • 9 VAILLANT S LAUREN TISBO TEQUESTRIAN FARMS LLC: 8/70.599
  • 10 AD FUNDUM DONALD CHESKA ERICKA BARAN: 8/71.764
  • 11 VIPER P DONALD CHESKA GREER HINDLE: 12/68.132
  • 12 HH LINTON QUENTIN JUDGE DOUBLE H FARM: 15/86.594

The 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 12 through April 3. WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are "AA" rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $6 million in prize money will be awarded.

WEF is proud to be supported by their title sponsor, FTI Consulting, Inc. FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex legal, regulatory and economic environment. With more than 3,600 employees located in most major business centers in the world, they work closely with clients every day to anticipate, illuminate, and overcome complex business challenges in areas such as investigations, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues, reputation management and restructuring. For more information, please visit www.fticonsulting.com.

Please visit www.equestriansport.com or call 561-793-5867 for more information.

Photo Credit: Nick Skelton and Unique won the $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumpers on the opening day of the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Nick Skelton and Unique with ringmaster Cliff Haines and sponsor Gustavo Mirabal of G&C Farm  Photo © Sportfot, Official Sport Photographer of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, www.sportfot.com.




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