Wellington, FL - February 24, 2012 - Egypt's Nayel Nassar proved to be the best in Friday night's $15,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix, presented by Dutta Corporation in association with Guido Klatte. Nassar and Lordan, owned by Nayel and Sharaff Nassar, won in a jump-off of three over a challenging course for victory. Katie Dinan (USA) and Grant Road Partners' Sandro were second, while Caitlin Ziegler (USA) and Dollar Van't Eigenlo CH, owned by Artisan Farms LLC, finished third.
The 2012 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of competition that conclude on April 1, 2012, and will be awarding more than $6 million in prize money through the circuit.
Nassar was only the second rider to complete Olaf Petersen Jr.'s challenging course without fault, and he rode out of the 44th position in the order. The first clear was Katie Dinan and Sandro, who have been cleaning up in the High Amateur-Owner Jumper division at the FTI WEF so far this season. In the jump-off, Dinan set the standard with a clear round in 39.699 seconds, which would finish in second place.
"The first round was tough," Nassar said of the course. "I think this class is a really good class. Even the last week it was pretty tough. Last week they lengthened the time a little too much, and they really adjusted it this week. The time was tight enough, the course was technical, there was a really big triple."
Of his horse's performance, he noted, "I was impressed, I thought that (the triple) would be the hardest part for my horse because he's not the most experienced. He hasn't jumped a triple that big, (and) I don't know how scopey he is yet, so I was a little worried he wouldn't come out. But he actually jumped it really well so I was really happy, and he jumped the double as well during the jump-off. It was tough course; you really had to be on top of your game."
Nassar said he made time in the jump-off in the rollback to the double combination. He explained, "I looked on the ground and saw her [Katie's] tracks and tried to cut inside the tracks. (I) also (did that to) the next two oxers, the option and out of the corner."
Going last in the jump-off, Caitlin Ziegler and Dollar Van't Eigenlo DH were picking up a speed, but slowed down after a rail to finish with four faults in 43.048 seconds and third place.
Fourth place went to Wilton Porter (USA) and Patriot, owned by Sleepy P Ranch LLC. They finished the first course with two time faults in 79.800 seconds. Meagan Nusz (USA) and Why Not, owned by Amalaya Investments, were fifth with three time faults in 80.67 seconds.
Nassar, who is 21 years old, is a junior at Stanford University. Growing up in Kuwait, Nassar started riding young and received his first horse at 10 years old. "In the summers I used to go to Germany and train, and I'm just coming off of a quarter off in school," he said.
Nassar competed in the Pan Arab Games for Egypt, and he has moved up to the grand prix ranks with his other horse, Raging Bull Vangelis S. Since Nassar wanted to compete in the United States at the FTI WEF, he started training with Laura Kraut, having known her through his trainer in Germany. This is his first time competing at the FTI WEF, and he is traveling back and forth from school each week to compete. Nassar even flew in on last night's red eye flight from California to compete today.
Nassar was very pleased with Lordan, who he has been riding for two years. "He's been going great. He's gotten a ribbon in every class since he came to the States," Nassar expressed. "He just started jumping these classes - this is his third or fourth 1.45m class - so I'm really happy with him. He's a great horse, really fun to ride. He's small and quick so he can run around in the jump-off. It's pretty fun."
Nassar plans to keep competing in the Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Series with Lordan. "It's a great class for him. It's usually before the Saturday and Sunday big classes, so hopefully I'll move him up and still be able to ride him in this." He said of the series, "You have to have a good horse and you have to be a good rider, so I think this Series does a good job of testing us as Young Riders and trying to prepare us for the next level."
While he has a goal to compete in the Olympic Games, he will have to wait until 2016. "I tried to qualify for this year but I didn't," he said with a smile. "I also ride for Egypt, so that's a plus, not as much competition as if I was riding for the States or Germany, so hopefully I'll have a good chance with this horse."
Rodrigo Pessoa and HH Palouchin Win Wire to Wire in $32,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Classic
Brazil's Rodrigo Pessoa and Double H Farm's HH Palouchin led the way from start to finish in Friday afternoon's $32,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Classic in Wellington. A Rolex FEI world ranking class, Pessoa and Palouchin beat out a field of 65 starters over Olaf Petersen Jr.'s timed first round course. The pair set the standard, first to go with their lightning fast time of 64.46 seconds, and would prove unbeatable.
Rodrigo Pessoa and HH Palouchin Win Wire to Wire in $32,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Classic
Seventeen of the 65 starters in today's 1.45m class completed Petersen's speed course without fault, but Pessoa's time set the mark high. No one was able to surpass him, and only a few came close.
Finishing in second place, Mario Deslauriers (USA) and Jane F. Clark's Whistler were over a second behind in 65.93 seconds. Reed Kessler (USA) and Onisha stopped the clock in 66.02 seconds to place third. Beezie Madden (USA) and Abigail Wexner's Zhivago completed the course in 68.34 seconds to earn the fourth place prize. Laura Kraut (USA) and Woodstock O, owned by Joan Kalman/The Freedom Group, finished fifth in 69.46 seconds.
HH Palouchin (formerly Palouchin De Ligny) is a homebred Belgian Warmblood gelding by Pessoa's famous mount Baloubet Du Rouet out of a Chin Chin mare. Showing under Pessoa his entire career, the gelding has been very successful. During the FTI WEF circuit this year the pair has had several victories, including a win in the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m during week two and a win in the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Speed Challenge during week four.
A late add in today's class, Pessoa was forced to take the starting position in the large class, but going first did not seem to matter. "I knew that I had a good shot in the class because the course suited him actually quite well," Pessoa stated after his win. "He felt good; I didn't expect to go like that wire to wire with the number of horses, but when you meet everything good with him, he is right there."
"He is difficult to beat. A couple got close, but he was really good. I kind of gave away the same class the other day with a silly mistake. I really tried extra hard to get this one to not give two away the same week," Pessoa said. "Over this height, if everything goes well, almost every time you go home with a ribbon."
HH Palouchin will possibly show in Sunday's 1.50m class depending on the course, and will definitely return next week for G&C Farm's CSIO week eight for more speed classes. Twelve years old, Palouchin has been a consistent partner for Pessoa and continues to win.
"He is the same; he doesn't calm down," Pessoa smiled. "You think that they are going to calm down, but he doesn't. He has a lot of blood and he is really determined to go. For him that is clearly the thing, but he is a great horse. Double H Farms and I, we are really lucky to have him in our string. It is always good for the morale to win classes and that is what he does best."
USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Heats Up
Heavy competition in this week's USEF Show Jumping Talent Search required the class to be run in two sections of 24 horses. Lillie Keenan and her mount Arico claimed victory in Section A, while Charlotte Jacobs and her mount Stallone VDL topped the list of competitors in section B.
USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Heats Up
The section A winner, Arico, is a ten-year-old Oldenburg imported by Heritage Farm Inc. After spending just three weeks on U.S. soil, the bay gelding debuted in the younger Large Junior Hunters during week five at FTI WEF where he claimed the reserve tricolor with eighteen points. "In Europe, he was doing meter thirty and meter forty-five," Keenan explained, "but he often had rails and wasn't the most careful at that height. He's perfect for this job, though, just careful enough."
Today, Arico's performance in the Equitation ring showcased the gelding's versatility. Following their win, Keenan commented, "I think it went pretty smooth today. The course was asking for a lot of adjustments. The first line was very quiet and you had to jump a water out of the turn at one point, so it was a lot about having full control of your horse."
According to Keenan, Arico's transition into the equitation ring has been seamless. "This horse has been great ever since he came over here," Keenan said. "He has always been adjustable and very respectful of your hand and leg. He's good about going where you direct him and being able to lengthen and collect, and I think that's what this course tested today, so he was great. It's nice because I have another equitation horse that is more experienced, so it's good for me to be able to practice on one that's not that made up."
This season marks Keenan's sixth year competing at the FTI WEF. The fifteen-year-old junior rider juggles competition and school carefully. "I will not take a semester off," Keenan stressed. "It has definitely been hard, but my school has been awesome about it. I have to take every Friday off, so I do as much as I can on my own. But, it's not bad to go back and get away from this a little bit and get a taste of the real world."
In the coming weeks, Keenan plans to continue taking Arico around the Equitation and Junior Hunter rings. "He's a very educated horse," Keenan concluded. "He just needs a few more miles."
In the B section of the USEF Show Jumping Talent Search, Charlotte Jacobs and her mount Stallone VDL emerged victorious. Stallone VDL is a thirteen-year-old Royal Dutch Warmblood owned by North Star. Affectionately known as Robbie in the barn, the dark bay gelding has been a part of Jacobs' show career since 2008.
Following today's win, Jacobs commented on Robbie's temperament back at the barn. "He's kind of goofy and funny," Jacobs explained. "He's got the best personality and he's always happy and has his ears forward. When you go to the stall he comes right to you and just loves to cuddle. He's a really sweet horse and I love riding him."
Describing the competition in this week's equitation class, Jacobs said, "There are definitely more people showing this week and they had to split the class into two sections, but that's how WEF always is; it's competitive. It's still nice to be here and compete against some of the best riders." According to Jacobs, Robbie has a way of making her feel comfortable in the show ring. "Today, he was great," Jacobs explained. "He had a little energy and was perfect over fences. He had last week off so he came back refreshed and ready."
In the coming weeks, Stallone VDL will continue to show in the equitation division and round out the season with the George Morris Excellence in Equitation Championship in the International Arena during week eleven of the FTI WEF. Jacobs herself will continue pursuing victory in the Equitation, Junior Hunter and Junior Jumper rings.
Tomorrow's competition will feature the $100,000 Fidelity Investments® CSI 3* Grand Prix on Saturday, February 25, at 7 p.m., along with Masters Jumpers in the morning. For full results, please visit www.showgroundslive.com.
Final Results: $15,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix
1 LORDAN NAYEL NASSAR NAYEL & SHARAFF NASSAR: 0/0/38.216
2 SANDRO KATHERINE DINAN GRANT ROAD PARTNERS: 0/0/39.699
3 DOLLAR VAN T EIGENLO DH CAITLIN ZIEGLER ARTISAN FARMS LLC: 0/4/43.048
4 PATRIOT WILTON PORTER SLEEPY P RANCH LLC: 2/79.800
5 WHY NOT MEAGAN NUSZ AMALAYA INVESTMENTS: 3/80.677
6 VALENCIA CAITLIN ZIEGLER ARTISAN FARMS LLC: 4/73.095
7 MURIESCO DU COTENTIN BRITTNI RAFLOWITZ MCLAIN WARD: 4/73.443
8 SANTOS UTOPIA LYDIA ULRICH UP THE CREEK FARM: 4/74.466
9 VANHATTAN LILLIE KEENAN CHANSONETTE FARM LLC: 4/75.983
10 NO FEAR NAVONA GALLEGOS BAR X RANCH LLC: 4/77.830
11 HOME JAMES KELSEY CALABRO KELSEY CALABRO: 4/77.953
12 DOMINO JOS VERLOOY AXEL VERLOOY: 5/78.069
Final Results: $32,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Classic
1. HH PALOUCHIN: 1999 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Baloubet Du Rouet x Chin Chin RODRIGO PESSOA (BRA), Double H Farm: 0/64.46
2. WHISTLER: 2002 KWPN gelding by Pacific x Andiamo MARIO DESLAURIERS (USA), Jane F. Clark: 0/65.93
3. ONISHA: 1999 Holsteiner mare by Caretino x Athlet Z REED KESSLER (USA), Reed Kessler: 0/66.02
4. ZHIVAGO: 2003 KWPN gelding by No Limit x Kigali BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Abigail Wexner: 0/68.34
5. WOODSTOCK O: 2003 KWPN gelding by Hors La Loi x Ferro LAURA KRAUT (USA), Joan Kalman/The Freedom Group: 0/69.46
6. QUIET EASY 4: 2004 Oldenburg gelding by Quidams Rubin x Zapateado BEN MAHER (GBR), Mrs. Phillips: 0/71.13
7. WANG CHUNG M2S: 2003 KWPN stallion by Royal Bravour x Ahorn ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Morningside Stud & Torrey Pine Stables: 0/72.49
8. CONNERY: 2001 Hanoverian gelding by Cordobes II x Polydor LUCA MONETA (ITA), Butelli Lucia: 0/74.16
9. BLUE CURACAO: 2001 BWP mare by Mr. Blue x Dark D'Amour ALEXANDRA THORNTON (USA), Dunwalke LLC: 0/74.40
10. S&L SLINGBACK: 2002 KWPN gelding by Hors La Loi x Ekstein DARRAGH KERINS (IRL), S&L Farms: 0/74.41
11. COULETTO K JAMES: 1996 Hanoverian gelding by Continue x Zeus KATHERINE DINAN (USA), Grant Road Partners: 0/78.58
12. HELLO SAILOR: 1999 KWPN gelding by Kigali x Indoctro TINA FLETCHER (GBR), Lady P. Harris & Lady P. Kirkham: 0/83.27
Photo Credit: Nayel Nassar and Lordan won the $15,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix, Rodrigo Pessoa and HH Palouchin won the $32,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Classic, Lillie Keenan and Charlotte Jacobs won at the 2012 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival. Photo © Sportfot, Official Sport Photographer of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, www.us.sportfot.com.