Saturday's competition at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) featured a $34,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic, held on the beautiful derby field at The Stadium at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), with a win for 24-year-old Alexander Zetterman (SWE) aboard Cafino. Twenty-eight entries showed over the Richard Jeffery (GBR) designed course with five clear rounds to jump-off. Zetterman and Cafino were first to go in the jump-off and set an unbeatable pace with their double clear round in 46.34 seconds.
Kevin Babington (IRL) and Mark Q were the only other pair to clear the short course without fault and finished second in 48.27 seconds. Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) was clear over the course, but incurred two time faults in 51.14 seconds aboard Mike Collins' Zoe II, to place third. Adrienne Sternlicht (USA) and S&L Slingback had four faults in 49.65 seconds to finish fourth, while Abigail McArdle guided David McArdle's Cade de Guldenboom to fifth place honors with four faults in 49.85 seconds.
Cafino, a 2003 Swedish Warmblood gelding (Cardento 933 x Roderik 856), is still a relatively new mount for Zetterman since the partnership first formed in September. The duo won the $25,000 Equestrian Sport Productions Holiday I Grand Prix in one of their first classes together in December and has since earned many top placings in the first half of FTI WEF competition.
The pair finished fourth in week two's $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix CSI 2*, placed fifth in week three's $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 3 Section B, and also placed fifth in week three's $125,000 Fidelity investments® Grand Prix CSI 3*.
"Obviously the partnership has developed more and more," Zetterman stated after his win on Saturday. "It has taken a bit of time, but when you really want to get to know them at the top level, you have to work on all of the small details and those parts are falling into place more and more.
"I still have had a lot of success," Zetterman noted. "He had his first fence down in a very long time last night, but I think my rounds are smoother now. I feel better with him. Even if I have had success, I still feel that I can ride him even smoother, and he has been jumping even better."
Saturday was Cafino's first time jumping on the grass field at The Stadium, and Zetterman said that he felt great. "I think he likes it," the rider noted. "He is spooky; probably in a good way, but he does look at everything a little bit. He jumps some very funny jumps sometimes when he looks down at the water or something, but he knows exactly what he is doing."
The extra spook played to Zetterman's advantage with Cafino in the jump-off, since he knew his horse was being extra careful over the jumps. "You can really trust his carefulness," Zetterman detailed. "I know I have a really fast horse, so I knew that if I could just keep going on stride and just try not to add too many strides, I would probably have a hard time to catch."
While working on the smoothness and small details of his ride with Cafino this winter, Zetterman has been working with trainer Michelle Grubb, and explained that her expertise has been very helpful. "She has been a very good complement to our team," he acknowledged. "She knows the set up here in the USA and we have a great dialogue about not only riding, but about everything from flatting and jumping, to the care of the horses and management. That has been great."
As the FTI WEF circuit continues to amp up week by week, Zetterman has his sights set on week twelve's $500,000 FTI Consulting Finale Grand Prix CSI 5*. With his many top finishes, the rider is in a good position to qualify moving forward, and noted that competing at the different venue this week has been great for the horses and riders heading into the remaining six weeks of competition.
"I think it is good to get this week here to do something different, to jump in the dressage arena, and today on the grass," Zetterman said. "It was a good, fresh breath before the last few weeks now; it is going to be very tough."
One more class will be featured at The Stadium this weekend as week six of FTI WEF competition concludes on Sunday. The $50,000 Equestrian Sotheby's Jumper Derby is set to begin at 2 p.m. on the derby field. For full show results, please visit www.showgroundslive.com.
Final Results: $34,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic
1. CAFINO: 2003 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Cardento 933 x Roderik 856
ALEXANDER ZETTERMAN (SWE), Alexander Zetterman: 0/0/46.34
2. MARK Q: 2002 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Obos Quality 004 x Positively
KEVIN BABINGTON (IRL), Kevin Babington: 0/0/48.27
3. ZOE II: 2004 AES mare by Kannan x Goes Without Saying
LORENZO DE LUCA (ITA), Mike Collins: 0/2/51.14
4. S&L SLINGBACK: 2002 KWPN gelding by Hors La Loi x Ekstein
ADRIENNE STERNLICHT (USA), Adrienne Sternlicht: 0/4/49.65
5. CADE DE GULDENBOOM: 2002 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Heartbreaker x Darco
ABIGAIL MCARDLE (USA), David McArdle: 0/4/49.85
6. HARLEY 86: 2002 KWPN mare by Hors La Loi II x Calvados
BENJAMIN MEREDITH (AUS), River Farm Sporthorses: 4/78.38
7. OREADE DES DAMES: 2002 Selle Francais mare by Kannan x Hurlevent
ADRIENNE STERNLICHT (USA), Adrienne Sternlicht: 4/78.48
8. BÖCKMANNS LAZIO: 2000 Westphalian stallion by Lancer II x Cor de la Bryere
LAUREN HOUGH (USA), Karina Rotenberg: 4/79.85
9. DIKTATOR VAN DE BOSLANDHOEVE: 2003 Belgian Warmblood stallion by Thunder van de Zuuthoeve x Capital
SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Spy Coast Farm LLC: 4/80.49
10. QUATTRO QUEEN: 2004 Oldenburg mare by Quattro B x Landcapitol
JUDY GAROFALO TORRES (USA), Juan Torres: 4/83.01
11. AZIBANTOS: 2005 KWPN gelding by Chin Chin x Cantos
GEOFFREY CASE (USA), Group C LLC: 5/84.83
12. KAVANAGH IV: 2002 AES gelding by Kannan x Carousel
BEN MAHER (GBR), John Renick & Ben Maher: 8/79.07
Source: Press release from Laura Cardon and Lauren Fisher for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
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