Wellington, FL - February 9, 2012 - It was a great afternoon for grand prix riders Kent Farrington (USA) and Richie Moloney (IRL) at the 2012 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) as each took home the top share of prize money in a split class for round five of the WEF Challenge Cup Series. Held in a 'California Split', the class awarded two sets of placings, each with $32,000 distributed due to the large number of entries.
Week five of the FTI WEF, sponsored by Spy Coast Farm, will run February 8-12. The highlight class of the week is Saturday night's $125,000 FEI World Cup Qualifier Grand Prix, presented by Spy Coast Farm. The 2012 FTI Consulting 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.
Guilherme Jorge of Brazil set the course in the International Arena for today's $32,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 5 with a total of 107 starters. The day's class was split into two with equal prize money given to each section. The jump-off scored the clear rounds from both sections together to determine the overall standings. The standings will also help determine the qualifiers for Saturday night's World Cup grand prix.
Fifty-four riders started today in Section A of the Challenge Cup class, with nine entries jumping clear. Another fifty-three followed, with eight entries clearing the course. A combined jump-off with those 17 horses and riders resulted. Twelve others jumped the course clear only to finish with a single time fault in Jorge's tight time allowed.
In the jump-off, seven entries completed the course without fault. The fastest time belonged to Kent Farrington and RCG Farm's Uceko, who stopped the clock in 40.77 seconds for the win in Section A. Richie Moloney and Equinimity LLC's Slieveanorra finished in 41.23 seconds for the win in Section B.
The top three finishers in section A included Farrington and Uceko, Quentin Judge (USA) and Double H Farm's HH Carotino with a time of 42.12 seconds in second place, and Darragh Kenny (IRL) and The Wannahave Group's Wannahave with a time of 44.54 seconds in third. Section B saw Moloney and Slieveanorra on top, with Kate Levy (USA) and Vent Du Nord in second in 43.12 seconds, and Beezie Madden (USA) riding Abigail Wexner's Simon in third with a time of 45.04 seconds.
Farrington's mount Uceko is an eleven-year-old KWPN gelding by Celano x Koriander. Describing Uceko and the inside turns he made in the jump-off, Farrington stated, "He's not naturally a super fast horse across the ground, but he's a big jumper and he's very brave, so he can do really short turns to big fences. It was good for me to practice that and still be competitive in the class without having to run him off his feet today."
Farrington is already qualified for Saturday night's World Cup grand prix through his FEI ranking, so he was not concerned with topping the class standings for that reason. "I did my normal round and did what the horse needed to do at this stage of the circuit. It was good for him to get into the ring a few times and get into more of a rhythm. With him, it's just getting him to pay attention and getting him back up to speed, but he felt good today; we'll see on Saturday," he said.
Richie Moloney's mount Slieveanorra is a ten-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding by Voltaire x Flagmount Diamond. Commenting on his round in the jump-off, Moloney explained, "He spooked at that second jump in the first round, so I looked at the inside turn and decided not to do it before I started. He's a very quick horse anyway, so I knew I'd be quick enough going around. Back to the in and out, I went around also. He's nearly always the quickest, even if you have one down, even in the first round. He's just naturally a very quick horse."
Moloney has had Slieveanorra since June. He explained that his brother Eddie used to ride and own the horse in Ireland. "When he was an eight-year-old, he won the national championships in Ireland with my brother. My sponsor Equanimity bought him from my brother, and I'm very happy to have him," Moloney smiled. "I was home a few times and saw him and wished I had him, so I'm very happy now! He's always very consistent. He's thereabouts every day in the prizes."
Farrington and Moloney each commented on today's course, praising Guilherme Jorge on narrowing down the entries for the jump-off. Farrington noted, "I think it's always hard to build with that many, whether they split the class or not. You're trying to use it as a Grand Prix qualifier to sort out the better half of the field without making the course diabolical. I thought it was well-built. Both last week and this week they've done an excellent job. If you looked at a combined field of 107 horses to have 17 clear is a pretty incredible job. Just like last week, there were 80 in the class with 10 clear. Both of those are signs of really good course building, especially here with so many good riders and good horses. It's a high level of riding. The time allowed was well done where you had to go a little bit. Maybe it made some people make some mistakes. There were a bunch of rounds that were just a tick over. I'd say that was very good use of time allowed today."
Moloney agreed, "It was a very good job last week and this week so far. Without it being stupid big, there have been little things here and there to catch people."
Likely V and Nina Zollo Top Smartpak's Low Hunter 2'6 Division
Likely V and Nina Zollo of Palm Beach, FL, were awarded the championship tricolor in week five of the Smartpak Low Hunter 2'6 division at FTI WEF. The division victory was the result of a joint effort by Zollo, the gelding's owner, and trainers Geoff Teall and Charles Moorcroft. Likely V completed the division with a first and second over fences and a third in the under saddle for a total of 20 points. The reserve championship went to Rachel Kennedy and her mount, Amazing Journey, with a total of 10.5 points.
Likely V and Nina Zollo Top Smartpak's Low Hunter 2'6 Division
The victorious Likely V is a ten-year-old Danish Warmblood imported by Geoff Teall. "He originally came over as a dressage horse," explained Moorcroft. "He did two or three shows as a jumper and then we purchased him as a hunter. Geoff Teall is the one who helped us buy him and he's been helping us ever since. The horse has an incredibly willing attitude and a perfect canter rhythm; he always does what he's told, right or wrong, and this is only his sixth hunter show maybe."
Despite limited mileage over fences, Likely projects confidence in the show ring. Describing the bay gelding's nature, Zollo commented, "Likely has an amazing mind and he is very sweet. He has no opinion but my opinion, even if it's a bad opinion!"
Zollo and Likely live in the Palm Beach area and compete at the WEF show grounds year-round. "I really enjoy showing," Zollo explained. "Even though it's quieter when the circuit isn't running, I still treat competition the same. It's always a test for me whether I'm up against one person or fifty. I treat my rounds as my horse and I against the course."
"Charlie is a fantastic trainer," Zollo commented, "we work and train so hard at home and it's really nice to be able to get out and see it transform in the show ring." In the coming weeks, Zollo plans to continue competing in the Low Adult Amateur Hunters on Likely V along with her second mount, Indian Summer.
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 $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Speed Challenge during the day and the WEF Collegiate Equitation Championship at 7 p.m. in the evening. The Camping World Adult Amateur Hunter 51 & Over Section A will present championship honors in the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring.
Final Results: $32,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 5 Section A
1. UCEKO: 2001 KWPN gelding by Celano x Koriander KENT FARRINGTON (USA), R.C.G. Farm: 0/0/40.77
2. HH CAROTINO: 2002 Holsteiner gelding by Caretino x Corrado I QUENTIN JUDGE (USA), Double H Farm: 0/0/42.12
3. WANNAHAVE: 2003 KWPN gelding by Manhattan x G. Ramiro Z DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), The Wannahave Group: 0/0/44.54
4. STAR POWER: 2001 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Quick Star IAN MILLAR (CAN), Team Works: 0/0/47.09
5. TACKERAY: 2000 KWPN stallion by Quick Star x Sandro BEN MAHER (GBR), Emma Phillips: 0/4/40.52
6. CHILL R Z: 2003 Zangersheide stallion by Chellano Z x A Lucky One CHARLIE JAYNE (USA), Pony Lane Farm: 0/4/45.74
7. NOTRE STAR DE LA NUTRIA: 2001 Selle Francais stallion by Quick Star x Jalisco B NICHOLAS DELLO JOIO (USA), Thelma Romero-Cloud: 0/8/42.24
8. MERLIN: 2002 Royal Dutch Warmblood gelding by Hors La Loi II x Emilion JEFFERY WELLES (USA), Noel Love Gross: 0/9/52.70
9. OSIRIS: 1996 KWPN gelding by Polydox x Lucky Boy GEMMA PATERNOSTER (GBR), Gemma Paternoster: 0/14/53.95
10. LANSDOWNE: 2003 KWPN stallion by Guidam x Wolfgang YANN CANDELE (CAN), Ariel & Susan Grange: 1/77.05
11. RAGING BULL VANGELLIS S: 1998 BWP stallion by Nonstop x Feinschnitt I Van De Richter NAYEL NASSER (EGY), Nayel & Sharaff Nasser: 1/77.15
12. WATCH ME VD MANGELAAR: 2003 KWPN gelding by Heartbreaker x Wolfgang MATT WILLIAMS (AUS), Paul Williams & Karen Tuerk: 1/77.42
Final Results: $32,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 5 Section B
1. SLIEVEANORRA: 2002 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Voltaire x Flagmount Diamond RICHIE MOLONEY (IRL), Equinimity LLC/Richie Moloney: 0/0/41.23
2. VENT DU NORD: 1998 BWP gelding by Canadian River x Quidam De Revel KATE LEVY (USA), Kate Levy LLC: 0/0/43.12
3. SIMON: 1999 KWPN gelding by Mr. Blue x Polydox BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Abigail Wexner: 0/0/45.04
4. BIG STAR: 2003 KWPN stallion by Quick Star x Nimmerdor NICK SKELTON (GBR), Beverly and Gary Widdowson: 0/3/50.64
5. TEIRRA: 2000 KWPN mare by Tolano Van Het Riethof x Aldatus LAURA KRAUT (USA), Stars & Stripes: 0/4/42.41
6. QUINTENDER 2: 2001 Holsteiner stallion by Quinar x Contender HENRIK GUNDERSEN (DEN), Emilie Martinsen: 0/4/46.49
7. VIGARO: 2002 KWPN gelding by No Limit x Polydox SARAH TREDENNICK (USA), Wood Run Farm: 0/8/42.40
8. CHECKMATE 4: 1995 Hanoverian gelding by Contender x Pik Bube II MEREDITH MICHAELS-BEERBAUM (GER), Octavia Farms LLC: 0/10/53.65
9. HH LET'S FLY: 1999 Hanoverian gelding by Lordanos x Forrest RODRIGO PESSOA (BRA), Double H Farm: 1/77.02
10. AMARETTO D'ARCO: 2000 BWP stallion by Darco x Tenor Manciais SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Spy Coast Farm LLC: 1/77.10
11. BULL RUN'S LA BAMBA: 2001 Holsteiner mare by Lancer II x Carthago KRISTEN VANDERVEEN (USA), Bull Run Jumpers: 1/77.32
12. FIFTH ESTATE 3E: 2001 Canadian Sport Horse gelding by Class Action x Emilion HUGH GRAHAM (CAN), Kingridge Stables: 1/77.43
Photo Credit: Kent Farrington and Uceko; Richie Moloney and Slieveanorra, Nina Zollo and Likely V at the 2012 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival. Photo © Sportfot, Official Sport Photographer of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, www.sportfot.com.