Wellington, FL - January 16, 2011 - The first week of competition at the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival concluded on Sunday afternoon with an exciting $30,000 Speed Derby held in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The class was won by an extremely fast round from Irish rider Paul O'Shea and Daydream St. Ghyvan Z, owned by Paul Clarke and Michael Walsh. Both competing for the first time in the United States this winter, horse and rider had a fantastic class and were awarded the top prize.
Twenty-six entries started the $30,000 Speed Derby class, showing over a course set by Anthony D'Ambrosio of Red Hook, NY. In a Table III, faults converted format, the challenging course saw many rails come down, but it was the horses and riders that jumped clear that finished in the top standings.
Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) and HH Palouchin, owned by Double H Farm, set a blazing fast time right from the start going second in the order and finishing in 77.783 seconds. Although that time held through most of the class, the last few rounds were even faster and Pessoa finished the class in fourth place.
Beezie Madden (USA) and Neapolitan Holding Co., LLC's Prima clocked in at 76.867 seconds to place third, and Hillary Dobbs (USA) and The Dobbs Group's Marengo finished in 76.215 seconds for second place. No one could beat Paul O'Shea's time however, as he and Daydream St. Ghyvan Z laid down a nearly flawless round going 22nd in the order and stopping the clock in 75.222 seconds for the win.
This is Paul O'Shea's first year competing at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival and also his horse's first time competing in the U.S. Both horse and rider have had great success showing in Ireland and have now had a fantastic start to their winter in Florida.
Daydream St. Ghyvan Z is a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Darco x Ramiro Z). O'Shea has been riding the mare for four years, and the pair has earned many accolades together. In 2010 the mare had six grand prix wins and three international wins in Ireland and was named the country's leading grand prix horse for the year. O'Shea had a great year as well, with nine grand prix wins and four international victories, along with winning the Premiere Series Grand Prix League and National Grand Prix League. After a visit to the U.S. last winter, O'Shea was invited to ride for legendary trainer and owner Harry Gill, and he jumped at the opportunity.
"I have been here for three or four months now and it is going great," he smiled. "I love working for Harry; he is a gentleman and he has a lot of nice young horses that we plan to bring along."
Speaking about today's class, O'Shea stated, "My horse jumped fantastic. I got off to a bad start myself; I did not ride very well over the first three fences, but it does not matter because she jumps them anyway. That's the thing about her, she is just a fantastic mare. I saw Rodrigo go and he was very quick, so I knew that I just had to go as quick as I could. I suppose I am lucky that I know her so well. His is a really fast horse, but she is just a super mare and she is very competitive."
This is just the third week that Daydream St. Ghyvan Z has been jumping in the United States and she and O'Shea have already placed fifth in two grand prix classes and now added a win to that list. "She is just very clever and she always gives 100%. She is an amazing mare and she always wants to do her best," O'Shea said, adding, "I love the speed derbies. She won the speed derby at the Dublin Horse Show last year and she won a speed derby in Italy as well two years ago, so she is good at them."
After a presentation and victory gallop for O'Shea, the Leading Lady Jumper Rider award was presented for week one competition at the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Sponsored by Martha Jolicoeur of Illustrated Properties, the award went to Kate Levy (USA).
Also held on Sunday were the $10,000 Equifit High Junior Jumper Classic and the $10,000 Surpass Medium Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic. Showing first in the International Arena this morning, the High Junior Jumper win was awarded to Wilton Porter aboard Sleepy P Ranch LLC's Presidente. The Medium Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic was won by Jamie Walker riding her horse 7-Up.
The 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival will continue with its second week of competition sponsored by Equine Couture and Tuff Rider on Wednesday, January 19, running through Sunday, January 23, 2011. Feature events will include the $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 2 on Thursday afternoon, the $40,000 Equine Couture/Tuff Rider Grand Prix CSI 2* on Saturday evening at 7 p.m. (the first of the Saturday Night Lights events), and the $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Classic on Sunday afternoon. The 2011 WEF will hold 12 consecutive weeks of competition for its winter show circuit, running through April 3, 2011.
- 1 DAYDREAM ST. GHYVAN Z, PAUL O'SHEA (IRL), PAUL O'SHEA: 75.222
- 2 MARENGO, HILLARY DOBBS (USA), THE DOBBS GROUP: 76.215
- 3 PRIMA, BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), NEAPOLITAN HOLDING CO., INC.: 76.867
- 4 HH PALOUCHIN, RODRIGO PESSOA, (BRA) DOUBLE H FARM: 77.783
- 5 KATINA, ENRIQUE GONZALES (MEX), ENRIQUE GONZALES: 77.826
- 6 CACHETTE Z, KAREN POLLE (USA), KAREN POLLE: 79.196
- 7 SAMPRAS, CHARLIE JAYNE (USA), ALEX JAYNE: 79.461
- 8 FLIGHT, REED KESSLER (USA), REED KESSLER: 80.715
- 9 LENNOX LEWIS 2, LESLIE HOWARD (USA), LESLIE HOWARD: 80.769
- 10 VOCAS, MCLAIN WARD (USA), LOUISBURG FARM: 80.914
- 11 STARLIGHT, KATE LEVY (USA), KATE LEVY, LLC: 81.836
- 12 WHAT EVER, KAREN POLLE (USA), KAREN POLLE: 83.058
Photo Credit: Paul O'Shea and Daydream St. Ghyvan Z won the $30,000 Speed Derby during week one at the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Photo © Sportfot, Official Sport Photographer of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, www.sportfot.com.