Week three of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) concluded with an exciting $50,000 CSI 2* Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon held on the grass derby field at The Stadium at The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). The class saw a win for U.S. rider Brianne Goutal and Remarkable Farms LP's Onira in a four-horse jump-off. Todd Minikus (USA) and Macoemba finished second, Laura Kraut (USA) and A. Lebon's Jubilee d'Ouilly were third, and Luis Larrazabal (VEN) aboard Anabel Simon's G&C Sacramento placed fourth.
Uliano Vezzani of Italy was the course designer for week three's international show jumping competition in Wellington. In Sunday's $50,000 CSI 2* Grand Prix, Vezzani set the track on the beautiful grass field for 46 competitors and only four were able to clear the course without fault. The bogey fence, a tall wavy-plank vertical off of a tight left-hand turn came down for the majority of competitors, but there were many other rails around the course as well.
Jumping off, Laura Kraut and Jubilee d'Ouilly were the first pair to attempt the short course for the tie breaker and had that bogey fence down (although the top rail had been replaced with a straight pole) for four faults in 36.01 seconds and earned the third place honors. Luis Larrazabal and G&C Sacramento were up next and made it to the last fence on course before dropping a rail for four faults in 38.90 seconds, which placed the duo in fourth. Todd Minikus and Macoemba followed and went for the clear round in a slower pace of 40.60 seconds, which eventually finished second. Last to go, the pressure was on for Brianne Goutal and Onira to go clear and fast. They jumped without fault and galloped through the timers in 38.96 seconds for the win.
Seventeen-year-old Onira, a KWPN gelding by Nimmerdor x Ramiro, is a longtime experienced partner for Goutal. The pair has earned many wins together around the world over the past 11 years and the rider knew that she could count on her horse to give it his all this afternoon.
"Onira has jumped incredibly all year," Goutal stated following her victory. "This is a great way to start the season for him in his first big class out. We have gone through a lot together, so it is great. I had a lot of firsts with him," the rider detailed. "First junior jumpers, first equitation finals win, first prix de states, first nations cup, first win down here now, so no complaints from me."
Commenting on the course, Goutal acknowledged, "I really liked it. I didn't think it was going to be quite as hard as it ended up. I thought we would have between six and eight clear at least, but there were a few points of the course that really got people. That wavy plank was very difficult to jump clean. You kind of had to be right in the right place and the horse could not go in one direction even half a millimeter. The triple caught a lot of people as well. I think you saw faults everywhere, which is the kind of course that I like, not just in one place."
Goutal has had a great year with many top placings for her horses and is now off to a great start for the winter circuit. She remarked, "It has been really good year. My horses are all going really well. I have a great team of people with me and a great group of horses as well. It seems that everything has kind of aligned for me just not to mess it up so much. For the moment everything is going better than planned."
The top riders discussed jumping their horses on the field at The Stadium at PBIEC. For Goutal, Onira has always loved the grass, but she admits that some horses like it better than others. Second place finisher, Todd Minikus, shared his opinion as well. "I think it is an excellent venue and it is a nice change for the horses," Minikus noted. "The fact of the matter is we start to think about jumping on the grass as a little bit prehistoric because we get so accustomed to jumping on the all-weather footing, but this held up quite nicely for the many horses that went around."
Macoemba did very well on the grass and Minikus was proud of his rounds. The horse is just nine years old and relatively new to this level of competition. "He really had no experience before I got him, so he has come a long way since May," Minikus admitted. "He has done some nice things. We had some bumps through the summer, but down here he was second in the World Cup class at Holiday and Horses and he won one of the smaller grand prix and jumped nice here today."
Goutal knew Macoemba previously and spoke about his improvement with Minikus. "I think that to say that Todd has transformed that horse is an understatement," Goutal recognized. "It is amazing what he has done with him."
Minikus missed some time showing at the FTI WEF in the last couple of years due to illness and injury, but is coming back strong and attempting to get some top horses again. "It is a tough game," he declared. "We get a little casual about (WEF) I think, but I don't care what anybody says, this is the toughest competition that there is in the world, week in and week out. To have horses that jump here, those are good horses and they are hard to come by. Brianne's horse and that horse that Laura is riding; we are like 'Oh yeah, just a little class over on the field this weekend,' but look at the list of people and horses! We get a little complacent, but I think it is a big deal."
Laura Kraut's third place mount, Jubilee d'Ouilly, is a very experienced 16-year-old mare that Kraut just started riding this season when the horse's previous rider in Europe got injured. Kraut appreciates the significance of getting great horses and hopes to keep the ride as long as possible. "The owner is really excited about her success so far and I think she is a great addition to my string," Kraut said. "She is 16 years old, but she acts like a six-year-old. I just like her. She is a spicy mare. She is really brave and really experienced. Any one of the three of us sitting here would enjoy riding her. She is just so experienced; it is nice to walk on the field and know that she is not going to be green or strange about anything. She tries so hard."
Final Results: $50,000 CSI 2* Grand Prix
BRIANNE GOUTAL (USA), Remarkable Farms LP: 0/0/38.96
2. MACOEMBA: 2003 KWPN gelding by Zeoliet
TODD MINIKUS (USA), Todd Minikus, Ltd: 0/0/40.60
3. JUBILEE D'OUILLY: 1997 Selle Francais mare by Palestro II x Graphit
LAURA KRAUT (USA), A. Le Bon and F.X. Le Bon: 0/4/ 36.01
4. G&C SACRAMENTO: 1999 KWPN gelding by No Limit x Ircolando
LUIS LARRAZABAL (VEN), Anabel Simon: 0/4/38.90
5. AX CENT: 2003 KWPN gelding by Burggraaf
KENNETH BERKLEY (USA), Rivers Edge: 1/ 82.61
6. BLUE ANGEL: 2002 AES mare by Luidam x Ascendant
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Robin Parsky: 4/76.36
7. TALOUBET: 2000 KWPN gelding by Baloubet Du Rouet x Quidam De Revel
PAULO SANTANA (BRA), Paulo Santana: 4/76.87
8. V: 2002 KWPN gelding by Landstreicher Lennard
KATIE PRUDENT (USA), Michael Smith: 4/77.83
9. VICOMTE D: 1998 BWP gelding by Flamenco Desemilly x Randell Z
BEN MAHER (GBR), Jane F. Clark: 4/78.55
10. ZERLY: 2004 KPWN mare by Querlybet Hero x Carthago
CHRISTINE MCCREA (USA), Candy Tribble: 4/78.74
11. LANSDOWNE: 2003 KWPN stallion by Guidam x Wolfgang
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Ariel & Susan Grange: 4/78.83
12. USER ID: 2001 KWPN gelding by Namelus R x Goodwill
Darragh Kenny (IRL), OnlyJumpers.com: 4/79.20
Source: press release from Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
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