Wellington, FL - After three major second place finishes in the first three weeks of the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, Nick Skelton (GBR) and Carlo 273, owned by Beverly Widdowson, stepped up into the winner's circle in the $75,000 Adequan Grand Prix, CSI 2*. They caught the win over Pablo Barrios (VEN) and G&C Quick Star 11, owned by Gustavo and Carolina Mirabal, and Beezie Madden (USA) on Abigail Wexner's Danny Boy.
Today's class concluded competition for the fourth week of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), and the week four title sponsor is Adequan. 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.
Michel Vaillancourt (CAN) was the course designer for today's grand prix, which featured 14 numbered obstacles and 17 fences altogether that included the open water and a triple combination. There were 35 entries, and five of them found the clear round to move on to the jump-off. "I thought it was fair, some difficult lines," Skelton said. Barrios added, "To me, it was a pretty careful course to ride, but I liked it for my horse. I felt pretty confident when I walked the course. I felt like we could go clear."
Going first in the class and first in the jump-off was Christine McCrea (USA) on Romantovich Take One, owned by Candy Tribble. McCrea and Romantovich had a mistake at jump seven in the shortened course when they accidentally jumped the wing of the standard outside of the flag marker. This eliminated them as "off course" and they finished in fifth place.
Pablo Barrios and G&C Quick Star 11 were the next to test, and they were able to go through with a clear round in 40 seconds flat. Barrios and G&C Quick Star 11, a 10-year-old Dutch mare by Quick Star xx Grannus, won the fourth round of the WEF Challenge Cup on Thursday afternoon. "At the moment, it's the best horse that we have. I've only shown her six times, and she's always in the ribbons," Barrios said.
Barrios went on to say, "I was a little early in the jump-off, so I tried to go as fast as possible. I didn't find the forward distance that I like to have. I had the feeling that someone would get my time."
Following Barrios, Richard Spooner and Pariska 2, owned by C&S Partnership LLC, had 12 faults in 40.35 seconds for fourth place. Beezie Madden and Danny Boy put in a quick round but finished just off the pace with a clear round in 40.24 seconds.
Skelton and Carlo 273, a nine-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Contender xx Cascavelle, took their shot at the win. Skelton made two neat rollbacks in the course, and when it came time to turn for home, Skelton pushed the grey into a very fast gallop to the final oxer. They stopped the timers in 39.72 seconds for the win.
"I knew I couldn't hang about. I watched Pablo on the screen outside. I did what I could do. Maybe I was a little bit faster to the last jump. I let it rip to the last, really," he said with a grin.
Skelton thinks that Carlo 273 is a very special horse, and believes his quirks can also be a benefit. "He's really nervous with horses coming towards him. He turns and runs the other way. He watches everything. He'll see a dog move, a child walking, or a golf cart go by, but when he goes through the start, he's a totally different horse. He lives on his nerves, but that's probably what makes him so good. This horse could be a very serious good horse," he noted. "I think he's an exceptional horse. He's very, very talented. He's fantastically careful. He has all the scope, and he's good to ride."
Carlo 273 has only had one rail in four weeks of competition, and he has been amazingly consistent. In week one, he was second in the $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Classic, and in weeks two and three, he was second in the major grand prix. "I made one mistake in the WEF on the second week. It was my fault," Skelton admitted.
For today's grand prix, Skelton felt that he could ask for a little more of Carlo 273. "It's probably as quick as I've asked him to go. I've taken a long time with him. (In the past two years), I didn't really speed him, never tried to win a class with him. Next week he'll do the 1.40m quietly, training a little bit, then go in the grand prix. When they're young, you've got to go up and down with them," he explained. "You can't put the gun to their head every day, or else they won't make 12 years old. Those horses are difficult to find, so when you have a good one, you have to look after them."
Nick Skelton and Carlo 273, pictured with (L to R) ringmaster Cliff Haines, Kathy Mailloux and Allyn Mann of Adequan, and Katherine Bellissimo of Wellington Equestrian Partners.
For their win today, Skelton and Carlo 273 were awarded the Wellington Cup, which was established in 1998 by the Village of Wellington.
The fifth week of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, sponsored by Spy Coast Farm, runs from February 10-14, 2010, and will feature the $150,000 FEI World Cup™ Grand Prix, CSI 3*, presented by Spy Coast Farm, on Saturday, February 13, at 7 p.m.
Final Results: $75,000 Adequan Grand Prix, CSI 2*
- 1. CARLO 273: 2001 Holsteiner gelding by Contender xx Cascavelle NICK SKELTON (GBR), BEVERLY WIDDOWSON: 0/0/39.72
- 2. G&C QUICK STAR: 2000 KWPN mare by Quick Star xx Grannus PABLO BARRIOS (VEN), GUSTAVO & CAROLINA MIRABAL: 0/0/40.00
- 3. DANNY BOY: 2000 BWP gelding by Clinton xx Alexis Z BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), ABIGAIL WEXNER: 0/0/40.24
- 4. PARISKA 2: 1997 KWPN mare by Almox Prints J xx Ezoliet RICHARD SPOONER (USA), C & S PARTNERSHIP: 0/12/40.35
- 5. ROMANTOVICH TAKE ONE: 2000 KWPN gelding by Numero Uno xx Karandasj CHRISTINE MCCREA (USA), CANDY TRIBBLE: 0/OffCrs
- 6. CATALINA: 2001 Warmblood mare MARIE HECART (FRA), ASHLAND STABLES: 4/82.68
- 7. RALVESTHER: 1998 KWPN mare by Calvaro Z xx Zevenster BRIANNE GOUTAL (USA), CLOVERLEAF FARM: 4/77.38
- 8. VIA VOLO: 1998 BWP mare by Clinton xx Heartbreaker ALISON ROBITAILLE (USA), M/M BERTRAM FIRESTONE: 4/78.41
- 9. OLE: 1996 KWPN gelding by Burggraaf xx Dukaat MAC CONE (CAN), SARA HOUSTOUN & LARRY EVOY: 4/79.24
- 10. CHAMP 163: 1999 Holsteiner stallion by Chamonix xx Coronado RODRIGO PESSOA (BRA), LEGACY STABLES LLC: 4/79.31
- 11. ARAGON ROUET: 2000 BWP gelding by Baloubet du Rouet xx Remondo ANDRE THIEME (GER), STAL HENDRIX: 4/79.66
- 12. PREZIOSO S:1996 German stallion by Pilox xx Syndikat LAUREN HOUGH (USA), HIGHLIFE FARMS: 4/79.94
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: Nick Skelton and Carlo 273, pictured with (L to R) ringmaster Cliff Haines, Kathy Mailloux and Allyn Mann of Adequan, and Katherine Bellissimo of Wellington Equestrian Partners, won the $75,000 Adequan Grand Prix, CSI 2* at the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Photo copyright Randi Muster/Mustphoto, Inc., Official Sport Photographer of the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival.