Wellington, FL - March 2, 2011 - The eighth week of the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival has begun, and this week is the CSIO "international" week of competition. The opening international class was the $5,000 CSIO Welcome Stake. Paul O'Shea of Ireland had the fastest speed round for victory with Daydream St. Ghyvan Z, owned by Harry Gill.
The FTI Winter Equestrian Festival's eighth week of competition continues through Sunday, March 6. Week eight, sponsored by G&C Farm, will feature the $31,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 8 on Thursday at 2 p.m., the $31,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumpers and the $25,000 ESP Jumper Stake on Saturday afternoon, and the Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Classic on Sunday afternoon.
Week 8 has a variety of highlight classes in the schedule that any equestrian fan will want to see. Friday, March 4, at 7 p.m. is the $75,000 FEI Nations Cup presented by G&C Farm. On Saturday, March 5, the PRO Derby Cross will run at 5:30 p.m. (see below for more details!) and will be followed by the $35,000 Hermès Puissance. Sunday's highlight class is the $150,000 CSIO 4* Grand Prix at 1 p.m. The 2011 WEF will continue through April 3 and award more than $6 million in prize money.
The $75,000 FEI Nations Cup presented by G&C Farm, $35,000 Hermès Puissance, and $150,000 CSIO 4* Grand Prix will be available for viewing on a live webcast via the USEF Network. To view these incredible events, please go to: http://www.usefnetwork.com/USHJAWEF2011/
Today's $5,000 CSIO Welcome Stake class had 64 entries, and they competed over a course designed by Steve Stephens of Palmetto, FL. There were 16 clear rounds, and the speed ratcheted up as the class continued. Going 44th in the order, O'Shea and Daydream St. Ghyvan Z cleared the course in a blazing time of 52.51 seconds for the win. Their winning pace was almost four seconds faster than the second place finishers, Ian Millar (CAN) and Dryden, owned by Ariel and Susan Grange. Richard Spooner (USA) and C&S Partnership LLC's Lady Like were third in 56.54 seconds.
O'Shea knew that he would have to put in a very fast trip to beat the strong field. "I saw somebody go at the start, and then I heard Richard Spooner's time and compared them. I realized he had gone quite quick. I decided to go quite fast after that," he said.
Daydream St. Ghyvan Z, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare by Darco x Ramiro Z, is competitive in the speed classes, and it's her handiness that helps bring home blue ribbons. "Mainly in the turns is where she is brilliant," O'Shea noted. "She's the most clever horse I've ever ridden. To turn back, she's got a mind of her own. All you have to do is point her and she figures it out. She's quick in a straight line as well, but definitely in her turns back she gets ahead there. This course suited her."
O'Shea and his grey mare won the speed derby in week 1 of the FTI WEF, and then took time off until last week, where they placed second in a 1.40m class. O'Shea mentioned, "Harry Gill is her new owner. It was very nice that he could be here and she could win her first class with Harry as the owner. Hopefully it's the first of many."
A win in the CSIO week "means a little bit more," O'Shea said. He continued, "It's great to hear the national anthem played when you win."
O'Shea will be part of the Irish team in Friday night's $75,000 FEI Nations Cup presented by G&C Farm. He will compete with Realman. This is his 10th Nations Cup appearance, and he feels that it is an important part of his riding career. "Nations Cups are very special to Irish people. It's a big deal for us, and it's what we all aim for. We like to ride for our country and it's a big honor," he expressed.
Earlier in the day, fellow Irishman Kevin Babington rode his own horse Mark Q to the win in the $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumpers. Babington and Mark Q set a winning time of 60.440 seconds. Second place went to Nick Skelton and Big Star, owned by Beverly and Gary Widdowson. Kate Levy and Starlight were third.
PRO Derby Cross Debuts at the FTI WEF
This weekend at the FTI WEF, one of the Saturday night features will be the PRO DerbyCross. Olympic Gold Medalist David O'Connor will host a course walk at 5 p.m. followed by the PRO DerbyCross Team Competition at 5:30 p.m.
PRO Derby Cross Debuts at the FTI WEF
Olympian Leslie Law (Team GBR) and World Equestrian Games Competitor Boyd Martin (Team USA) host the two and a half hour team competition featuring five teams. Teams are composed of, three event riders, one show jumper and one polo player. Each team member will jump a course featuring cross-country fences and show jumps accompanied by music spun by DJ Gabriel Nino. The course asks horses and riders to be brave over the cross-country fences and accurate over show jumps all while competing against the clock.
Team HAYGAIN: Captain Phillip Dutton (E); Sinead Halpin (E), Jennie Brannigan (E), Katie Prudent (SJ) and Nic Roldan (P)
Team FarmVet/Cavalor: Captain Buck Davidson (E), Bruce Davidson (E), Will Faudree (E), Aaron Vale (SJ) and Kris Kampsen (P)
Team Guardian Horse Bedding: Captain Karen O'Connor (E), Clark Montgomery (E), Hannah Sue Burnett (E), Laura Kraut (SJ) and John Gobin (P)
Team Triple Crown: Captain Allison Springer (E), Marcia Kulak (E), Will Coleman (E), Georgina Bloomberg (SJ) and Luis Escobar (P)
Team Canada: Captain Kyle Carter (E), Rebecca Howard (E), Jessica Phoenix (E), Ian Millar (SJ) and Brandon Phillips (P)
PRO DerbyCross will be webcast live on iEquine.com, http://www.iequine.com/events/pro-derbycross, with film production provided by CatchRide.
Operation Homefront, http://www.operationhomefront.net, is the charitable partner of PRO DerbyCross. Autographed, handpainted birdhouses will be sold in the PRO DerbyCross patron's tent with all proceeds benefitting Operation Homefront, which provides morale boosting programs and financial assistance to US Military family members and wounded soldiers.
The eighth week of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival will continue tomorrow with the $31,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 8 at 2 p.m. in the International Arena.
Final Results: $5,000 CSIO Welcome Stake
- 1 DAYDREAM ST. GHYVAN Z: 1999 Belgian Warmblood mare by Darco x Ramiro Z PAUL O'SHEA (IRL), Harry Gill: 0/52.51
- 2 DRYDEN: 2001 BWP stallion by Utrillo Van De Heffinck x Apache Du Forest IAN MILLAR (CAN), Ariel and Susan Grange: 0/56.47
- 3 LADY LIKE: 1999 Holsteiner mare by Limbus x Caretino RICHARD SPOONER (USA), C&S Partnership LLC: 0/56.54
- 4 SENORITA: 2001 BWP mare by Caesar Van De Helle x Sandro FEDERICO FERNANDEZ (MEX), Federico & Paola Fernandez: 0/56.82
- 5 SANCHA LA SILLA: 2003 SLS mare by Chin Chin x Polydor DANIEL BLUMAN (COL), Daniel Bluman: 0/57.75
- 6 SANTA CATARINA LS LA SILLA: 2001 mare by Santo Domingo La Silla x Cor de la Bryere ALBERTO MICHAN (MEX), Club Hipico La Silla: 0/58.78
- 7 LIGIST: 2000 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Levantos II x Robin 723 REED KESSLER (USA), Reed Kessler: 0/59.83
- 8 SKARA GLEN'S DAVOS: 2000 Zangersheide gelding by Carthago Z x Pericles XX CANDICE KING (USA), SKARA GLEN STABLES: 0/60.26
- 9 WINSOM: 2003 KWPN gelding by Celano x Animo JIMMY TORANO (USA), Sir Ruly, Stal Amsink, P. Van Leeuwen: 0/60.34
- 10 ROSALIA LA SILLA: 2001 Holsteiner mare by Cassini I x Contender ALBERTO MICHAN (MEX), Club Hipico La Silla: 0/63.26
- 11 CHESTERFIELD: 2001 Danish Warmblood gelding by Corlando x Sidney JONATHON MILLAR (CAN), DK-USA Sporthorse, LLC: 0/63.30
- 12 CAESAR 322: 2002 Zangersheide gelding by Canabis Z x Eros Platiere ANDRE THIEME (GER), Andre Thieme: 0/64.42
Photo Credit: Paul O'Shea (IRL) and Daydream St. Ghyvan Z won the $5,000 CSIO Welcome Stake while Kevin Babington and Mark Q won the $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumpers during week eight at the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Photo © Sportfot, Official Sport Photographer of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, www.sportfot.com.