Week two of the 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) continued on Thursday with with a busy schedule of competition at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL. The afternoon featured Round 2 of the $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Series, which was held in a "California Split" due to the large number of entries. The competition awarded two sets of placings, each with $34,000 distributed. Brazil's Alvaro de Miranda and AD Uutje and USA's Charlie Jacobs and Flaming Star shared in the day's victory.
FTI WEF week two, sponsored by Wellington Equestrian Realty, will run Wednesday, January 15, through Sunday, January 19. The week will feature the $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix CSI 2* on Saturday night, and the $10,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Series Speed Class, Presented by The Dutta Corp. in association with Guido Klatte, as well as the $34,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic, during the day on Sunday. The FTI WEF, held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL, features 12 weeks of world-class competition through March 30, awarding $8 million in prize money.
Luc Musette of Belgium set the course for Thursday's $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 2 with 98 entries competing in total. Out of 98, only eleven were able to clear the first round course to advance to the jump-off, and nine of those jumped double clear. Alvaro de Miranda and AD Uutje, owned by de Miranda and Victory Equestrian Sport BV, had the fastest time of 39.71 seconds overall for the win in Section A. Charlie Jacobs and CMJ Sporthorse LLC's Flaming Star finished in 39.85 seconds for the win in Section B.
The top three finishers in Section A included Alvaro de Miranda and AD Uutje, Lauren Hough (USA) and Laura and Meredith Mateo's Reconnaissance in second place with a time of 40.15 seconds, and Ronan McGuigan (IRL) and Capall Zidane in third with a time of 41.52 seconds.
Section B saw Charlie Jacobs and Flaming Star on top, with Katie Dinan (USA) and Grant Road Partners' Glory Days in second in 41.45 seconds, and Keean White (CAN) and Angelstone Partners' Pironella in third with a time of 41.81 seconds.
The competition in Wellington has become more competitive each year, and it takes an extremely fast combination of horse and rider to top the talented line-up of international competitors in these classes. Alvaro de Miranda knew what he had to do going into the jump-off, and he went full speed.
"It is very competitive here," he noted. "Every class you need to go full gas to try to do something. I am very happy because with this horse it was very difficult for me to go fast always in Europe. Today I had a very good feeling in the jump-off. It was very good for me because the left turn is better for him, so I could do a good turn to the double, and he has a very, very big stride, so I did one less stride to the last fence."
De Miranda was extremely fast galloping down to the final vertical heading towards the in-gate, and he did not hold back. "You need to just go and the last two strides, almost don't breathe, just wait and let the horse jump good," he stated. "It is so fast that if you think about the finish line, you will have a big fault. Making this mistake one thousand times, sometimes you learn, and today was good. When you are not the last (in the jump-off), you know anything can happen and you just wait for the result, but I am very happy with my horse and a start like that is very good. The horse jumped amazing."
AD Uutje, a 2001 KWPN gelding by Monaco x Calypso, is a fairly new horse for de Miranda, and the rider explained that Nelson Pessoa has been helping him for the last three months. "I have ridden him for only six months, and Nelson Pessoa really trained the horse," de Miranda explained. "It was very hard for me to ride this horse, but Nelson also rode the horse for me and he found the right bit. He is coaching me two times a week in Holland and also here everyday. I am very happy to have Nelson again. I rode with him for 15 years and then I went to Holland, and now we are back again and I am very motivated to have him as my coach."
The new partnership with AD Uutje is progressing, as de Miranda explained that this was the fastest they have gone without making any mistakes. "Today I had a very good feeling," he said. "I was going fast, but he was not losing the jump and getting flat. Maybe to the last a little bit, but it was very fast to the last. I am very happy, and I hope I can keep riding him like today because when I ride him good, he always jumps very good. Most of the mistakes are my fault, and I try to keep improving."
Co-winner, Flaming Star, is a 1999 AES gelding by Fairman that Charlie Jacobs has had great success with. Jacobs was last to go in the jump-off, but did not get to see de Miranda's ride because he was warming up. The difference between their times was one extra stride down the last line, where de Miranda did ten strides to Jacobs' eleven.
"I just didn't have it in me to do ten," Jacobs stated after the class. "I thought 'Maybe I do ten, but it's a gamble. I leave it up, I win. If I knock it down, I'm sixth.' So I got maybe too cautious, but it's kind of remarkable that we had 98 starters today. I am so proud of Flaming Star and the way he jumped. He has been great. This is his second of back to back weeks, so he will jump Saturday and then he gets a two-week rest before week five.
Commenting on Flaming Star's consistency, Jacobs noted, "I am so proud to have him. He is a quirky horse, but once you get to know him, it is like a comfortable suit that you put on. You get in the saddle and he is right there like an old buddy, ready for you. I am so happy. We have a great rapport, and it wasn't always that way with he and I. We just gelled in the past year or so."
In addition to the prize money in Thursday's class, de Miranda earned a special $3,000 bonus as part of the SSG 'Go Clean for the Green' promotion for wearing his SSG 'Digital' Riding Gloves. Each week of the Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Series, a $3,000 bonus will be awarded to the winning rider if they are wearing SSG 'Digital' Riding Gloves in all rounds of competition with the SSG logo clearly visible.
An $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m class was also held in the International Arena in the morning with a win for Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Artisan Farms LLC's Powerplay.
Final Results: $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 2 Section A
1. AD UUTJE: 2001 KWPN gelding by Monaco x Calypso
ALVARO DE MIRANDA (BRA), Alvaro de Miranda & Victory Equestrian Sport BV: 0/0/39.71
2. RECONNAISSANCE: 2005 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Camaro M x Irco Mena
LAUREN HOUGH (USA), Laura & Meredith Mateo: 0/0/40.15
3. CAPALL ZIDANE: 2004 KWPN gelding by Concorde x Baloubet du Rouet
RONAN MCGUIGAN (IRL), Ronan McGuigan: 0/0/41.52
4. WOTSAMILLION: 2005 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Captain Clover x Atlantic Boy
LAURA KRAUT (USA), Stone Hill Farm: 0/0/42.10
5. ZERLY: 2004 KPWN mare by Querlybet Hero x Carthago
CHRISTINE MCCREA (USA), Candy Tribble: 0/0/49.11
6. HERACROSS: 2000 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Ramiro B x Clover Hill
PARIS SELLON (USA) Paris Sellon: 0/EL
7. ZERNIKE K: 2004 KWPN gelding by Sam R 60 x H Topas
BRIANNE GOUTAL (USA), Remarkable Farms LP: 1/77.66
8. EVENING STAR: 2002 Holsteiner gelding by Coriano x Lenz
HEATHER CARISTO WILLIAMS (USA), Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Caristo: 1/78.65
9. DON VHP Z: 2004 Zangersheide stallion by Diamant de Semilly x Voltaire
SAER COULTER (USA), Copernicus Stables LLC: 1/78.94
10. UTAH: 2001 KWPN gelding by Andiamo x Jus De Pomme
LESLIE HOWARD (USA), The Utah Group: 4/72.19
11. URICO: 2001 KWPN gelding by Zandor Z x Fedor
BEN MAHER (GBR), Jane F. Clark: 4/73.43
12. UNEX OMEGA STAR: 2002 Irish Sport Horse stallion by Quick Star x Quatoubet du Rouet
TIM GREDLEY (GBR), Unex Competition Yard: 4/74.25
Final Results: $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 2 Section B
1. FLAMING STAR: 1999 AES gelding by Fairman x Unknown
CHARLIE JACOBS (USA), CMJ Sporthorse LLC: 0/0/39.85
2. GLORY DAYS: 2001 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Cardento 933 x Diamond Serpent
KATIE DINAN (USA), Grant Road Partners, LLC: 0/0/41.45
3. PIRONELLA: 2005 Canadian Warmblood mare by Non Stop x Pilot
KEEAN WHITE (CAN), Angelstone Partners: 0/0/41.81
4. DAKOTA: 2003 Belgian Warmblood mare by Calvados Ex Sable Rose x Cash
PAIGE JOHNSON (USA), Salamander Farm: 0/0/42.66
5. SANDOR DE LA POMME: 2002 SBS gelding by Vigo d'Arsouilles x Darco
CATHERINE TYREE (USA), Mary & Joe Tyree: 0/4/46.21
6. ALBERTO II: 2003 Holsteiner gelding by Acorado x Cassini I
KARA CHAD (CAN), Stone Ridge Farms LLC: 1/77.44
7. LAGRAN: 1999 Oldenburg gelding by Lancer II x Grannus
MARK BLUMAN (COL), Mark Bluman: 1/77.86
8. CARRABIS Z: 2003 Zangersheide stallion by Canabis Z x Grannusso
RICHIE MOLONEY (IRL), Equinimity LLC: 1/78.91
9. NOVEMBER: 2001 Selle Francais gelding by Voltaire x Olisco
ALEXA LOWE-WISEMAN (USA), Windsor Farm Sales: 1/79.06
10. QUALITY GIRL: 2003 Oldenburg mare by Quidam's Rubin x Dobrock
TODD MINIKUS (USA), Quality Group: 4/72.93
11. CZARDAS 30: 2003 Hanoverian stallion by Contendro x Grannus
MCLAIN WARD (USA), Ilan Ferder: 4/73.76
12. CAFINO: 2003 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Cardento 933 x Roderik 856
ALEXANDER ZETTERMAN (SWE), Alexander Zetterman: 4/74.55
Source; Press release from Equestrian Sport Productions
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