Wellington, FL - February 15, 2012 - The sixth week of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival began with hunters taking the main stage in the International Arena. The first championships will be decided tomorrow. In the DeNemethy Ring, Laura Chapot of Neshanic Station, NJ, rode Umberto for Mary Chapot to victory in the $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumpers.
Week six of the FTI WEF, sponsored by Equine Couture/Tuff Rider will run February 15-19. The week is full of exciting events, including Friday night's FTI Consulting Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity Investments, Saturday night's USHJA WCHR Hunter Spectacular of Palm Beach, and Sunday's $50,000 G&C Farm Jumper Derby held at The Stadium. 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.
Steve Stephens of Palmetto, FL, is the course designer in the DeNemethy Ring this week, and there were 11 clear rounds over his course out of 21 entries.
Chapot and Umberto, an 2001 KWPN gelding by Celano x Roderik, were the final entry in the ring. They were chasing a time of 62.215 seconds set by Ben Maher (GBR) and Quite Easy 4. They darted through the course and easily lowered the winning time to 60.795 seconds. Third place went to David McPherson (GBR) and Leonitas, who finished in 62.386 seconds.
Chapot said of her round, "I watched the one that was leading and I thought he was practically unbeatable. I just wanted to go out and do my plan with that horse. Oftentimes he's much faster than he appears, so I just hoped that I was going to be fast enough because I knew Ben was going to be really hard to catch."
With Umberto's efficiency in the air, they were able to do just that. She described, "He's a lot of fun to ride and he's very careful. He really enjoys his job and likes to go fast. He's not very big, but that suits me because I'm not very big either. He's very efficient. For a little horse, he covers the ground pretty well too."
Chapot got the ride on Umberto a year ago, and the horse came from Irish rider Cian O'Connor. "He was actually pretty green at the time, so he'd been doing the 1.40m. We're just trying to start moving up to this division now," she explained. "He definitely has the ability to do it, he just lacks a little bit of experience. Hopefully he'll stay at this level now and we'll keep moving forward."
G&C Farm is the sponsor of the 1.45m division throughout the 12-week circuit. "I think it's a wonderful opportunity to have the 1.45m here and I think it's a very popular division," Chapot said. "It really serves as a useful tool for getting a horse up to grand prix level. We really appreciate G&C sponsoring the classes and having them available to us."
The FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival will continue tomorrow with a full schedule of hunter and jumper competition. The highlight classes in the International Arena are the Sanctuary First Year Green Working Hunters and the CWD Performance Hunter 3'6". Seven hunter divisions will award championship ribbons.
Final Results: $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumpers Time First Round
1 UMBERTO LAURA CHAPOT MARY CHAPOT: 0/60.795
2 QUITE EASY 4 BEN MAHER MRS. PHILLIPS: 0/62.215
3 LEONITAS DAVID MCPHERSON DAVID MCPHERSON & GERHARD AND MARION MUTER: 0/62.386
4 LENNOX LEWIS 2 LESLIE HOWARD PETER HOWARD: 0/62.789
5 WISTFUL ASHLEE BOND LITTLE VALLEY FARM: 0/64.587
6 SPIRIT MAGIC MANUEL ALVAREZ MANUEL ALVAREZ: 0/65.847
7 SHOOTING STAR LAURA CHAPOT MARY CHAPOT: 0/66.164
8 UNIQUE IX TINA FLETCHER TINA FLETCHER: 0/66.657
9 SIL GEOFFREY CASE GROUP C LLC: 0/68.393
10 NOLDE HARDIN TOWELL HARDIN TOWELL: 0/68.746
11 CROSSING JORDAN NICOLAS PIZARRO NICOLAS PIZARRO: 0/69.808
12 KEEP IT SIMPLE HANNAH ISOP TRACY FREELS: 4/66.567
Photo Credit: Laura Chapot and Umberto won the $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumpers at the 2012 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival; Laura Chapot and Umberto with presenter Marion Maybank. Photo © Sportfot, Official Sport Photographer of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, www.sportfot.com.