Wellington, FL - Richard Spooner (USA) aboard Ace, owned by S&B LLC Corporation, produced a blazing time to win the $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round Ten. Second place honors went to Lauren Hough (USA) on her horse Prezioso S, owned by Highlife Farms. Third place award went to Alexander Hufenstuhl (GER) on Lacapo 4, owned by Sabina Illbruck.
The tenth week of the FTI WEF is sponsored by Equine Couture/TuffRider and runs through Sunday, March 21, 2010. The 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of competition that conclude on April 4, 2010, and they will be awarding almost $6 million in prize money through the circuit.
Alan Wade of Ireland designed the course in the DeNemethy Arena with 13 numbered obstacles in the first round, which included a solid wall as the third obstacle, a tricky broken line to an in-and-out, and a final oxer that came down for many horse and rider combinations. The time allowed in the first round was 87 seconds. A total of 45 competitors came out to compete, but only ten managed to pass the first round test and went on to the short course.
The jump-off consisted of seven obstacles with opportunities to leave out strides and make tight turns. The time allowed was 52 seconds and the first competitor to come back for the short course and set the pace was the eventual winner of the class. Despite going so early on in the jump-off, Richard Spooner and Ace flawlessly navigated the course in a blazing time of 38.480 seconds. The pair displayed every necessary turn that would put them an entire second in front of the second place winner.
The next of the challengers to produce a faultless round was Alexander Hufenstuhl on his horse Lacapo 4. The horse and rider combination were clean and stopped the timers in 49.180 seconds. This time would hold up for the third place position at the end of the class.
Leslie Howard (USA) on her own Lennox Lewis 2 entered the ring straight after Hufenstuhl. Howard and her speedy horse produced a time of 40.840 seconds with a disappointing rail coming down. This would finish in the fourth place spot after today's victories were awarded.
The last of the competitors to enter the ring was Lauren Hough (USA) on Prezioso S. The two had an impeccable round after displaying all of the very tight turn and roll back options. It looked like Hough had the time, but after passing through the timers in 39.310 seconds, she would receive second place honors.
While Spooner has been a fixture in the winner's circle for many of the classes at WEF this year, this is his first Grand Prix win this circuit. He spoke of the jump-off, "I got quite lucky to the second jump (the blue Liverpool) and I didn't really see the one I wanted so I hit his mouth a bit." He went on to say, "He came back more than I expected and the horse had to turn himself inside-out to jump it clean." He continued, "As luck would have it, this facilitated a much faster turn over to the combination." This is where Spooner felt he made up the most time that scored him the win in today's class.
Spooner has had the 12-year-old Holsteiner breeding stallion since he was about seven and explained, "He has been a fantastic horse for me since the day I got him and I wanted to save him until the end of circuit." He continued, "The horse is very fast and I think he can turn better than any horse I have ever sat on. You just have to watch what you think about because if you think about turning, he will turn. I have to actually wait to look for a turn until I get him where I want him to turn."
As for upcoming plans, Ace will be traveling to Europe this summer as Spooner's first horse at many of the shows. The stallion has traveled to Europe with Spooner before and has consistently won many classes abroad.
Only three more weeks are left of the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) hunters to claim an official FTI WEF championship. Louise Serio added yet another tricolor to her list for the season, this time in the Equisport Agency Pre-Green Hunter 3 & 4 Year Olds with Paisley Park. The Equisport Agency Pre-Green Hunter divisions give the up-and-coming horses of the hunter world an opportunity to show their talents and build towards the working hunter divisions.
Paisley Park, owned by Westerly Farm, won both over fences classes yesterday, as well as the under saddle today. He also placed second over fences today to earn 36 points for the championship.
Serio is delighted with Paisley Park's progress this year, and noted, "We bought him last summer and did him a little bit. Then we came down here and he's been quite consistent. We haven't shown him too much, but he's been very consistent and getting better and better now towards the end of circuit."
Serio has had the ride on the four-year-old gelding since last summer, and described him as "a lovely horse. He has a lovely attitude, is a beautiful mover, and is really going nicely right now. I'm pleased with him." When asked what he's like to ride Serio noted, "He's quiet. You have to get him going a little bit. But, his whole disposition is kind of like that. He's just really easy and nice."
After the 12 week FTI Winter Equestrian Festival Serio plans to show Paisley Park lightly through the summer, then "see where we are in the fall," she explained.
Hunter action will continue throughout the rest of the weekend in multiple rings, and competition for week ten will conclude on Sunday, March 21.
Final Results: $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 10
- 1. ACE, RICHARD SPOONER, S&B LLC CORP.:0/0/38.480
- 2. PREZIOSO S, LAUREN HOUGH, HIGHLIFE FARMS: 0/0/39.310
- 3. LACAPO 4, ALEXANDER HUFENSTUHL, SABINA ILLBRUCK: 0/0/49.180
- 4. LENNOX LEWIS 2, LESLIE HOWARD, LESLIE HOWARD: 0/4/40.840
- 5. MY BOY, CATHERINE PASMORE, PASMORE STABLES: 0/4/41.460
- 6. FRIEDA, AINSLEY VINCE, KMA GROUP: 0/4/42.170
- 7. MADISON, ALEXA PESSOA, ALEXA PESSOA: 0/4/42.700
- 8. CHIVAS Z, ASHLEE BOND, LITTLE VALLEY FARM: 0/4/43.950
- 9. MURKA'S NEVADA VI, PETER CHARLES, OLGA WHITE: 0/4/46.380
- 10. CALVIE, LUCIANA DINIZ, EDOUARD DE ROTHSCHILD: 0/4/47.420
- 11. ALASKA, TODD MINIKUS, CALLIE SEAMEN: 4/80.930
- 12. HIDDEN CREEK'S PAMINA L, MARGIE ENGLE, HIDDEN CREEK FARM: 4/81.250
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.
Photo Credit: Richard Spooner and Ace won the $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 10 at the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Louise Serio and Paisley Park won the Pre-Green 3&4 Year Old Hunter championship. © 2010 Randi Muster/Mustphoto, Inc., Official Sport Photographer of the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, www.mustphoto.com.