Week four of the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF), sponsored by Fidelity Investments®, concluded on Sunday afternoon with a win for 21-year-old Alise Oken and Hi Hopes Farm, LLC's Teirra in the $25,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic.
Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela set the courses for week four jumper competition in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). In Sunday's concluding class, 46 entries competed and six advanced to the jump-off. The top three riders jumped double clear rounds, and the fastest time belonged to Alise Oken and Teirra in 31.928 seconds, first to go in the jump-off.
Coming in second, Amanda Derbyshire and David Gochman's Attack II stopped the clock in 33.613 seconds. HH Prince Faisal Al Shalan and Saudi Equestrian's Talan placed third with their time of 34.128 seconds. Ben Maher and Mrs. Philips' Quiet Easy 4 had the fastest time of the jump-off in 31.200 seconds, but had one rail down. Lorenzo de Luca and Michael Collins' Chevalier also had one rail and placed fifth with their time of 34.588 seconds. Jessica Springsteen wrapped up the jump-off with eight faults aboard Stone Hill Farm's Vindicat W to place sixth.
Sunday's class was the biggest win of young rider Alise Oken's show jumping career, although she has had a lot of other success in both the hunters and jumpers from an early age. As Oken advanced in the jumpers, her family's Hi Hopes Farm purchased Teirra this fall, and Oken began showing the mare just before the start of the FTI WEF circuit.
Teirra, a 13-year-old KWPN mare by Tolano Van Het Riethof x Aldatus, previously showed successfully under amateur rider Addison Phillips and then competed internationally with U.S Olympic gold medalist Laura Kraut with wins and top finishes around the world. Kraut is also Oken's trainer of three years, and is now coaching Oken and Teirra together in their new partnership.
Already, Oken and Teirra have won an $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m jump-off class during week one, topped week three's High Amateur-Owner Jumper Power and Speed, and placed fifth in week one's $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic. Sunday's win was a big development for the pair and an exciting acheivement for Oken.
"I am so excited; it is amazing," Oken smiled after her win. "This was my third 1.50m with her and I had to go second, so I was really nervous. The course was designed by Leopoldo, so obviously it was going to be hard and the time allowed was going to be tight. I went in and everything just came up right. It ended up going well and then I had to go first in the jump-off. I tried to go as fast as I could and hopefully everybody else would try to catch me and make mistakes, so it worked out."
Going into the jump-off, trainer Laura Kraut gave Oken final pointers as she headed in first. "Laura just told me to go as fast as I could, but sometimes I turn in the air over jumps, so I needed to let her land and then turn, which I did and she was amazing and she went clear," Oken noted.
Teirra is affectionately known in the barn as 'Sharky', which Oken admits is a nickname that the mare came with. "I don't know why we call her that," she laughed. "She always wants treats, so I guess she is a little spoiled."
"She is a little bit hot," Oken added. "In the barn she is fine, she's so sweet, but when you are hand walking her and she is out, she is a little high strung. Her head is up and she just wants to look at everything, but she is a really sweet horse."
Oken is very excited about the progression of her new partnership with Teirra and hopes to move up to showing in the WEF Challenge Cup grand prix classes on Thursdays. She has her sights set on competing in the $30,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 7, which will be held on the grass derby field at The Stadium at PBIEC during week seven.
"It has all clicked so fast and so well, I just can't imagine that it has already gone so well so far," Oken acknowledged. "I might try to do the WEF in a few weeks. Hopefully if everything is going as well as it is right now she will be really good in it."
Also showing in the International Arena on Sunday, Victoria Colvin and Waikiki, owned by Rivers Edge, won the $10,000 Maria Mendelsohn Low Junior Jumper Classic for the second week in a row. Eugenio Garza and El Milagro's Barian won the $10,000 Griffis Residential High Junior Jumper Classic and Garza was presented with the Champion Equine Insurance Jumper Style Award.
Final Results: $25,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic
1. TEIRRA ALISE OKEN HI HOPES FARM, LLC: 0/0/31.928
2. ATTACK II AMANDA DERBYSHIRE DAVID GOCHMAN: 0/0/33.613
3. TALAN H H PRINCE FAISAL AL SHALAN SAUDI EQUESTRIAN: 0/0/34.128
4. QUIET EASY 4 BEN MAHER MRS. PHILIPS: 0/4/31.200
5. CHEVALIER LORENZO DE LUCA MICHAEL COLLINS: 0/4/34.588
6. VINDICAT W JESSICA SPRINGSTEEN STONE HILL FARM: 0/8/31.257
7. TWISTER DARRAGH KENNY CAVALLO FARMS, LLC: 1/78.500
8. UNEX DAMORA Z TIM GREDLEYUNEX COMPETITION YARD: 1/78.566
9. KAID DU RY ALISE OKEN HI HOPES FARM, LLC: 4/73.599
10. SOLERINA SHANE SWEETNAM SWEET OAK FARM: 4/76.399
11. ZHUM CW MCLAIN WARD ILAN FERDER & MISSY CLARK: 4/76.502
12. CALANTUS DANIELLE COOPER FIDELITY FARMS, INC: 4/76.622
Source: Lauren Fisher and Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
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