Wellington, FL - January 18, 2012 - Week two of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival has begun, and the main class in the International Arena today was the $8,000G&C Farm 1.45m Jumpers. Matt Williams (AUS) and Bolero van't Heike, owned by Matt Williams, took the win in the class.
The second week of the FTI WEF runs through Sunday, January 22, and is sponsored by Wellington Equestrian Realty. The 2012 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of competition that conclude on April 1, 2012, and they will be awarding more than $6 million in prize money through the circuit. The highlight jumper class in week two is the $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix, CSI 2* on Saturday, January 21, at 7 p.m.
This week's course designer in the International Arena is Luc Musette of Belgium. The G&C Farm 1.45m class was a time first round format and welcomed 26 entries. There were seven clear rounds, and the fastest of those was Williams and Bolero van't Heike, who finished in 67.081 seconds. Daniel Bluman (COL) and Fatalis Fatum were second in 67.381 seconds, while Cian O'Connor (IRL) rode Sinead and Oonagh Kennedy's Alligator Alley to third in 67.843 seconds.
Williams, who is originally from Melbourne, Australia and currently lives in the United States at Samantha Tuerk's farm in Wellington, FL, has gotten back the ride on Bolero van't Heike. The pair competed in Europe in various top shows and two Nations Cup events when Williams was based in Switzerland. Williams hadn't ridden Bolero van't Heike in a year until he arrived in the United States two weeks ago.
"He had been with another rider for the last year. With London (Olympic Games) coming up, we got offered the horse for the season to see how he goes. I've got two horses that I'm preparing, and hopefully one of them will be good enough."
Bolero van't Heike, an 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding by Polidiktus VD Helle x Major de la Cour, is adjusting well to his arrival in the States. Williams described, "He's quite a strong horse, but he's very careful and very brave. I rode him last week in the grand prix, and he was a little different than he was in Europe. He's changed a little bit. I wanted to give him a little faster round today to get him back into the routine of how I ride him. It paid off."
Williams plans to compete for Australia in the $75,000 FEI Nations Cup presented by G&C Farm on March 2. Williams said of the Australian team, "We have one rider that arrived last week from Australia, another is coming from California, myself, and another rider that they'll pick during the circuit."
Today was Williams' first win in the International Arena at the FTI WEF. "It feels perfect and it's a good way to start the season. I'd like to thank my sponsors Parlanti, Voltaire Saddles, and Samshield Helmets."
The FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival will continue tomorrow with a full schedule of hunter and jumper competition. The highlight class in the International Arena is the $32,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 2 at 1 p.m.
Final Results: $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumpers Time First Round
1 BOLERO VAN 'T HEIKE MATT WILLIAMS (AUS) MATT WILLIAMS: 0/67.081
2 FATALIS FATUM DANIEL BLUMAN (COL) DANIEL BLUMAN: 0/67.381
3 ALLIGATOR ALLEY CIAN O'CONNOR (IRL) SINEAD & OONAGH KENNEDY: 0/67.843
4 DERLY CHIN DE MUZE ERIC LAMAZE (CAN) TORREY PINES STABLES/ASHLAND STABLES: 0/67.964
5 BIG BROTHER MARK BLUMAN (COL) BLUMAN EQUESTRIAN: 0/70.606
6 G&C CON AIR PABLO BARRIOS (VEN) GUSTAVO MIRABAL: 0/72.095
7 UCEKO KENT FARRINGTON (USA) RCG FARM: 0/72.256
8 OSPLENDIDO SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL) SPY COAST FARM: 4/65.429
9 UMBERTO LAURA CHAPOT (USA) MARY CHAPOT: 4/66.370
10 BATUCADA PAIGE SORCE (USA) WESTERN MEADOW FARM: 4/66.637
11 UNITED 111 SAMUEL PAROT (CHI) ALONSO VALDEZ PRADO: 4/67.710
12 WODCA MICHAEL WALTON (USA) MIA MARANO: 4/69.665
Photo Credit: Matt Williams (AUS) and Bolero van't Heike won the $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumpers at the 2012 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival. Photo © Sportfot, Official Sport Photographer of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, www.sportfot.com. Watch Matt and Bolero van't Heike's winning round! Videos by Shownet - View 2012 FTI WEF Videos at www.shownet.biz