Wellington, FL - February 23, 2011 - Shane Sweetnam (IRL) was fast this morning in the jump-off to gain victory in the $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumpers with Little Emir, owned by Spy Coast Farm. Today's class opened up week 7 of competition for the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival.
The FTI Winter Equestrian Festival's seventh week of competition continues through Sunday, February 27. Week seven, sponsored by Fidelity Investments, will feature the $31,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 7 on Thursday at 1 p.m., the $31,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumpers on Friday afternoon, the $15,000 Artistan Farms Young Riders Grand Prix on Friday at 7 p.m., the $78,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix, CSI 2* on Saturday at 7 p.m., and the Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Classic on Sunday at 1 p.m. The 2011 WEF will continue through April 3 and award more than $6 million in prize money.
Today's $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumper class had 37 entries, and they competed over a course designed by Olaf Petersen, Jr. of Germany. Eleven were clear in the first round to advance to the jump-off, and eight of those were double clear.
In the jump-off, Sweetnam and Little Emir went fast around a jump in the turn back to a combination, while others took a difficult inside turn. "I had to go around and went fast around there. The inside turn didn't seem to make up time there," Sweetnam explained. "I wasn't sure if it would be the right thing, but I just kept going."
It paid off for them, as they finished the shortened course in 37.489 seconds for the win. Just behind them in 37.863 seconds for second place were Enrique Gonzalez (MEX) and Katina. Third place went to Pablo Barrios (VEN) with Costa, owned by Nathalie Mathers, in 38.871 seconds.
Sweetnam and Little Emir, a 13-year-old German-bred gelding, has been one of Sweetnam's most solid horses. They won a 1.50m Classic last year at the FTI WEF, were second in the Palm Beach Jumping Derby, and they were fifth in the big derby in La Baule, France. Unfortunately at La Baule, Little Emir was injured and then out for most of the year.
"He's been back jumping two months," Sweetnam said. "This was his first proper class since he's been back, so it's nice to get the win. He's naturally a fast horse; he covers ground quick and he's quick in the air. I was going fast, as fast as I could probably go."
Now that Little Emir is back in the show ring, Sweetnam is going to carefully choose his competition schedule. "I'm very happy to have him back. Once he's fit and doing well, I can pick classes for him," he said.
Sweetnam said of Little Emir, "He's been a very important horse for me through the years. When he first came, he hadn't really done the bigger level. He was my first real Sunday horse down here. I know him very, very well. The first year we were here he placed, he was clear in the Nations Cup, did a lot of great things. Ever since, you know what you're going to get with him. He tries really hard. He's very consistent. He's got a big heart and he's very smart. Maybe too smart sometimes!"
He added, "I've had a few second places in this ring, so it's nice to get a win in here. Hopefully I can get a few more."
The seventh week of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival will continue tomorrow with the $31,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 7 at 1 p.m. in the International Arena.
Final Results: $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumpers
- 1 LITTLE EMIR SHANE SWEETNAM SPY COAST FARM LLC: 0/0/37.489
- 2 KATINA ENRIQUE GONZALEZ ENRIQUE GONZALEZ: 0/0/37.863
- 3 COSTA PABLO BARRIOS NATHALIE MATHERS: 0/0/38.871
- 4 CANDLELIGHT VAN DE WARANDE NICOLE SHAHINIAN-SIMPSON BG REITANAGE REWIDE R. KUNCE: 0/0/39.813
- 5 BIG STAR NICK SKELTON BEVERLY AND GARY WIDDOWSON: 0/0/42.145
- 6 CAETANO NICK SKELTON MONARCH INTERNATIONAL: 0/0/43.449
- 7 SIL STEVEN WEISS LAURA CONNOLLY: 0/0/44.579
- 8 TRAFFIC BOY SHANE SWEETNAM SPY COAST FARM LLC: 0/0/45.179
- 9 DOMINO MCLAIN WARD BLUE CHIP BLOODSTOCK: 0/4/37.485
- 10 VICTOR E JONATHAN MCCREA CANDY TRIBBLE: 0/8/40.712
- 11 S.F. SADIN JENNIFER CROOKS OLIVIA COX-FILL AND STELLA FARM: 0/WD
- 12 VALHALLA KENT FARRINGTON HILLARY MCNERNEY: 1/84.307
Photo Credit: Shane Sweetnam and Little Emir won the $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumpers during week seven at the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Shane Sweetnam in his presentation with Luis Miguel Martinez of G&C Farm and ringmaster Cliff Haines. Photo © Sportfot, Official Sport Photographer of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, www.sportfot.com.