Wellington, FL - March 23, 2011 - The 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival is drawing to a close in it's eleventh of 12 weeks of competition. The first class in the International Arena on Wednesday morning was the $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumpers, and it was Kevin Babington (IRL) on Udiana, owned by Chloe Wormser, who came away with victory as the only double clear.
Week 11 of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival is sponsored by FTI Consulting Inc., will begin on Wednesday, March 23. The week's feature events will include the $31,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 11 on Thursday afternoon, the final Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic on Sunday at 2:30 p.m., and the feature event of the circuit, the $500,000 FTI Consulting Finale Grand Prix on Saturday. Gates open at 6 p.m. The event will also be webcast live on the USEF Network, seen here: http://www.usefnetwork.com/FTIGrandPrix2011/.
Guilherme Jorge of Brazil is the course designer in the International Arena this week. There were 11 clear rounds out of 31 starters, but Babington and Udiana were the only ones able to stay clear in the jump-off. They finished in a time of 38.305 seconds. Laura Kraut (USA) and Dona Evita, owned by the Evita Group, had four faults in 36.381 seconds for second place. Third place went to Nick Skelton (GBR) and Caetano, owned by Monarch International. They had four faults in 36.428 seconds.
Babington felt that there were two parts to the course today that helped him win. "Today was very rideable and she's extremely brave. She listened very well. (The course) wasn't overly big, but a little bit of a tricky course. I had another horse and we had 4 a-b, a vertical to oxer, down and a lot had the in down or the front rail of the out. She jumped that double great both rounds. That was key to jumping a clean round. The last jump in the first round caught a lot of horses, and it was also the last jump in the jump-off, a square oxer with a long approach. She jumped those two difficult parts very, very well. She was clear, but she was also very fast."
Babington has only been riding Udiana, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare by Hamlet x Maykel, since the beginning of circuit. This was their first 1.45m class together. Udiana's owner, Chloe Wormser, trains with Donald Cheska and has kept horses with Babington at his farm in Pennsylvania while she attends the University of Pennsylvania. Udiana is now for sale, and Babington believes she would be a "great High Amateur or first grand prix horse for someone."
He described, "She's a very, very talented horse. She has super technique. She's a blood horse and is keen to the jumps. She jumps as much as she needs to jump; you never feel like you're working or stretching to make the back rail. She's very clever and a winner."
This is not Babington's first time in the winner's circle this season in the 1.45m Jumpers. He has also won with Mark Q, a nine-year-old, plus he has two young horses moving up to that level.
The eleventh week of competition will continue tomorrow with the $31,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 11 as the highlight class of the day in the International Arena at 1:00 p.m.
Final Results: $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m
1 UDIANA KEVIN BABINGTON IRL CHLOE WORMSER: 0/0/38.305
2 DONA EVITA LAURA KRAUT USA EVITA GROUP: 0/4/36.381
3 CAETANO NICK SKELTON GBR MONARCH INTERNATIONAL: 0/4/36.428
4 SCARFACE NICHOLAS DELLO JOIO USA TONY WEIGHT: 0/4/38.267
5 STARLIGHT KATE LEVY USA KATE LEVY: 0/4/39.614
6 IN STYLE IAN MILLAR CAN SUSAN GRANGE & LOTHLORIEN FARM: 0//4/44.676
7 CANDLELIGHT VAN DE WARANDE NICOLE SHAHINIAN-SIMPSON USA BG REITANAGE REWIDE R. KUNCH: 0/8/39.503
8 MANNEKEN DU COTY CHARLIE JAYNE USA PONY LANE FARM: 0/8/39.946
9 WILSON JAVIER SALVADOR ESP JAVIER SALVADOR: 0/8/42.566
10 CONCETTO BOY PATRICIA KOLLER SUI PATRICIA KOLLER: 0/8/47.044
11 QUELQU'UN DE LA MUSARDIERE BETH UNDERHILL CAN CHRISTOPHER CULLEN: 0/29/64.778
12 IMOTHEP HS CANDICE KING USA HYPERION STUD LLC: 1/74.325
Photo Credit: Kevin Babington and Udiana won the $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m during week 11 at the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Kevin Babington and Udiana with ringmaster Cliff Haines and Luis Miguel Martinez of G&C Farm. Photo © Sportfot, Official Sport Photographer of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, www.sportfot.com.