Wellington, FL - March 11, 2011 - Kent Farrington (USA) and Valhalla were the fastest today in the $31,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Classic. The class was the feature event on Friday at the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, which is in its ninth week of competition.
The G&C Farm 1.45m Classic is part of an initiative to increase FEI ROLEX ranking classes at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Thanks to the support of G&C Farm, owned by Gustavo and Carolina Mirabal, the FTI WEF was able to add eight new FEI ROLEX ranking classes to the schedule. There are now 27 ranking classes during the FTI WEF. G&C Farm has kindly sponsored the 1.45m Jumper division, which adds five of the additional FEI ROLEX ranking classes.
The FTI Winter Equestrian Festival's ninth week of competition continues through Sunday, March 13. Sponsored by Bainbridge Companies, the week will feature the $231,000 FEI World Cup Grand Prix presented by Bainbridge Companies on Saturday at 7 p.m. and the Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Classic on Sunday at 1 p.m. The 2011 WEF will continue through April 3 and award more than $6 million in prize money.
In today's 1.45m FEI class, there were 60 entries. Thirteen were clear over the speed track designed by Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela. Farrington and Valhalla, a nine-year-old Dutch mare by Voltaire x Calvados-Sable Rose, took up a speedy gallop and finished the course in 62.92 seconds.
Second place went to McLain Ward and Vocas, owned by Louisburg Farm, who were just off the pace in 62.98 seconds. Third place went to early leaders Pablo Barrios and G&C Sinatra, who finished in 65.00 seconds.
Farrington has been riding Valhalla for two years and feels that she is steadily improving. He explained, "She's a very talented horse but I've had to go a little slow with her because she was a little tricky and spooky. She's a really sensitive horse. I think she has tons of ability so we're just starting now to put it together. I have high hopes for the horse. I think she has a chance to be a really good horse, so we'll see where it goes."
Since yesterday's WEF Challenge Cup was cancelled due to weather conditions, Farrington decided to ride in this class and go for the win. "I thought it would be good practice for her to do this class at a height she's comfortable at, to practice going fast," he acknowledged. "It felt fantastic. She's an awesome horse with huge scope and a big stride. It was more her learning how to do a jump-off and looking for the next fence, going inside, and doing it with speed. She's game; she's just stepping into her shoes."
Farrington took a long distance to the final liverpool oxer, which secured the win for them. "It was one of those times where you're either going with the hammer down or you're going to give up. I thought we'd been on it the whole time so we could take a shot. She's a trier," he said with a smile.
With this added class of another $31,000 in prize money for the week, it was a popular class for the top show jumpers. "It's great to compete in classes that have more prize money," Farrington agreed. "It's always good with a circuit that's this competitive and with this many horses to feel like we're jumping for some money. I think it's great they have another class like this, another chance to jump for over $30,000."
The ninth week of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival will continue tomorrow with the highlight class of the week, the $231,000 FEI World Cup Grand Prix presented by Bainbridge Companies at 7 p.m. in the International Arena.
Final Results: $31,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumpers
1 VALHALLA: 2002 KWPN mare by Voltaire x Calvados - Sable Rose KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Haity McNerny: 0/62.92
2 VOCAS: 2002 KWPN gelding by Hors La Loi II x Voltaire MCLAIN WARD (USA), Louisburg Farm: 0/62.98
3 G&C SINATRA: 1999 KWPN gelding by Epilot x Libero H PABLO BARRIOS (VEN), Pablo Barrios, Gustavo and Carolina Mirabal: 0/65.00
4 UNO: 2001 KWPN gelding by Fuego du Prelet x Power SERGIO ALVAREZ MOYA (ESP), Mileworld Limited: 0/65.33
5 QUAINTON QUIRIFINO Z: 2000 Zangersheide stallion by Quidam De Revel x Grosso Z BEN MAHER (GBR), Quainton Stud: 0/65.83
6 PJOTTER VAN DE ZONNEHOEVE: 2001 NRPS Gelding by Unknown x EmilionMCLAIN WARD (USA), Louisburg Farm: 0/65.89
7 BON AMI: 2001 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Pavarotti v'd Helle x unknown SCOTT BRASH (GBR), Liz McTaggart: 0/66.59
8 LIPTON DE L''OTHAIN: 1999 SFB gelding by Kashmir Van Schuttershof x Prince Du Logis PETER WYLDE (USA), Windward Farm And Jessica Siuda: 0/66.77
9 LITTLE EMIR: 1998 German gelding by unknownSHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Spy Coast Farm, LLC: 0/69.36
10 LA BOMBA: 2000 Bavarian Warmblood mare by Lauritz J x E-MorienSERGIO ALVAREZ MOYA (ESP), Mileworld Limited: 0/71.12
11 TRAFFIC BOY: 2001 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Cardento 933 x Feliciano 823SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Spy Coast Farm LLC: 0/72.38
12 VERNON G: 2002 KWPN gelding by Corland x Goodtimes KIRSTEN COE (USA), Ilan Ferder: 0/73.11
Photo Credit: Kent Farrington and Valhalla won the $31,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumpers during week nine at the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Kent Farrington and Valhalla with ringmaster Cliff Haines and Gustavo Mirabal of G&C Farm Photo © Sportfot, Official Sport Photographer of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, www.sportfot.com.