Wellington, FL - Over a field of 12 in the jump-off, Nicole Shahinian-Simpson and Kilkenny Randall Z raced to a fast double clear result to win the $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Classic over Eliza Shuford on Little John and Reed Kessler with Mika.
This was the final day of the second week of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, and the week two title sponsor is Purina Mills. The 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of competition that conclude on April 4, 2010, and the circuit will be awarding almost $6 million in prize money through the circuit.
Steve Stephens of Palmetto, FL, designed today's course and it featured 12 numbered obstacles, including a vertical-oxer-vertical triple combination and the open water with a rail. Thirty-four entries attempted the first round, and 12 came away with a clear round.
The early leaders were Eliza Shuford and Little John, who put in a double clear performance in 49.973 seconds. They went second in the jump-off. The next double clear challenger was Reed Kessler and Mika, who stopped the clock in 52.044 seconds. A very fast contender was Pablo Barrios on G&C La Gran, who finished in 46.534 seconds but had four faults coming into the combination in the last line.
Going second to last in the jump-off, Nicole Shahinian-Simpson and Kilkenny Randall Z, a 16-year-old BWP gelding by Randel Z, zipped around the twisting jump-off course. They made a sharp turn back to the final line and Kilkenny Randall Z was able to fit in the two strides for the combination and soar over the final oxer to finish clear. They lowered the winning time to 48.868 seconds.
Shahinian-Simpson said of the course, "It was twisty, and there really wasn't any option to go inside anywhere. It was sort of the same track that we all had to do, just fast. The double, even in the first round, was very short. I took a real slice into there, and that's where age came in handy, and the experience on his part. He was very good there and put a bow in the two-stride, which just worked great. It was a lot of fun.
Shahinian-Simpson has been riding Kilkenny Randall Z since the end of last year. Kilkenny Randall Z is one of seven horses that owners Kilkenny Crest of Bend, OR, have with the Simpsons. Randall Z showed with Buddy Brown earlier, and he is coming back after time off. "At the end of the year, we did some small classes with him and focused on his fitness to gear him up for here," Shahinian-Simpson explained. "He showed a little bit last week and this week. He'll have a rest and then hit some of the bigger ones."
She described Kilkenny Randall Z as "a total gentleman," and went on to say, "He's really easy to ride, very classical to ride. Even though he's 15, mentally he just loves going in the ring. He's a real showman. It makes my job easier."
Week two of the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival has concluded. Week three, sponsored by Nespresso, will run from January 27-31, 2010, with a full schedule of hunter and jumper competition.
Final Results: $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Classic
- 1. KILKENNY RANDALL Z, NICOLE SHAHINIAN-SIMPSON, KILKENNY CREST: 0/0/48.868
- 2. LITTLE JOHN, ELIZA SHUFORD, ELIZA SHUFORD: 0/0/49.973
- 3. MIKA, REED KESSLER, REED KESSLER: 0/0/52.044
- 4. G&C LAGRAN, PABLO BARRIOS, PABLO BARRIOS / GUSTAVO & CAROLINA MIRABAL: 0/4/46.534
- 5. KELLINE FONROY, CLEMENTINE GOUTAL, CLOVERLEAF FARMS: 0/4/48.340
- 6. CANTERO Z, BETH UNDERHILL, IRON HORSE FARM: 0/4/50.782
- 7. LORD G, CARA RAETHER, TRELAWNY FARM LLC: 0/4/51.345
- 8. ORIFLAMME D'HOUTVELD, JEFFERY WELLES, DUNWALKE LLC: 0/4/52.957
- 9. ROBBY LEE, JOSE REGA, VICTORIA D'AGOSTINO: 0/5/55.203
- 10. MURKA'S NEVADA VI, PETER CHARLES, OLGA WHITE: 0/6/56.314
- 11. NEMO 119, NICK SKELTON, BEVERLY WIDDOWSON: 0/7/57.072
- 12. TORTOLA, LAURA KRAUT, BEVERLY WIDDOWSON: 0/8/52.856
The 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 13 through April 4. WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are "AA" rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $5.5 million in prize money will be awarded.
Please visit www.equestriansport.com or call 561-793-5867 for more information.
Photo Credit: Nicole Shahinian-Simpson and Kilkenny Randall Z Photo © 2010 Randi Muster/Mustphoto, Inc.