Brazil's Rodrigo Pessoa and HH Palouchin and Germany's Jörg Oppermann and Lux As If each jumped to victory in Wednesday's double $5,000 Welcome Stake classes during week eight's CSIO 4* competition, sponsored by G&C Farm, at the 2012 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF). Due to a large number of entries, the Welcome Stake was held as two classes, with half of the entries showing in the afternoon, and the remaining entries showing later in the evening. $5,000 in prize money was awarded to each section. Anthony D'Ambrosio, of Red Hook, NY, is the course designer in the International Arena this week. Each Welcome Stake class was held in a one round format against the clock with a time allowed of 77 seconds.
In the day session, D'Ambrosio saw 13 clear rounds, the fastest time of 58.94 seconds winning the top prize for Rodrigo Pessoa and HH Palouchin, owned by Double H Farms. Yann Candele (CAN) and Game Ready, owned by Susan Grange, finished second in 60.76 seconds. Third place was awarded to Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Lipton De L'Othain, owned by Windward Farm, in 61.71 seconds. Fourth place honors went to Australia's Matt Williams and Bolero Van't Heike in 62.03 seconds. HH Palouchin is a 1999 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Baloubet Du Rouet x Chin Chin. With Pessoa in the irons, the always fast horse also won last week's $32,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Classic, along with several other classes throughout the circuit.
Commenting on his win today, Pessoa stated, "It was a good course. This horse is very fast and if you leave them up he always has a good chance to take the win.” “He jumped really good," Pessoa added. "He won a really good class last week and we are looking forward to the G&C Farm speed class and the 1.45m classic coming up this week."
With the high number of entries, the $5,000 Welcome Stake continued with the second section occurring Wednesday evening under the lights in the International Arena. The win went to a new FTI WEF rider, Jörg Oppermann from Germany, riding Lux As If owned by Heinz Eufinger. There were 12 clear rounds out of a total of 53 entries. Oppermann went early in the class and his time of 63.15 seconds was able to hold up. Oppermann reasoned that his time went unbeaten because, "A lot of riders used this class in preparation for Nations Cup and didn't push their horses as hard." Of the course, Oppermann thought, "It was a welcoming one. It was great to have the water option to introduce the horses to it before the Nations Cup class." The red ribbon in tonight's class went to Alexandra Thornton of Great Britian, riding Blue Curacao owned by Dunwalke Ltd. Third place went to Cedric Angot of France, riding Olympic de Chamant owned by Nicolas Paillot.
The first of two of his entries, Lux As If, a 2001 Irish Sport Horse mare, arrived in the country Friday from Amsterdam and Oppermann arrived the following day. Of his mount, Oppermann believed his horse was good. "It is his first time here and we chose to ride the water option," he said. His second entry, Che Guevara 17, also owned by Heinz Eufinger, is a 2001 Holsteiner Stallion by Concept and Rebel Z. Oppermann will be riding him in Friday evening's FEI Nations Cup event. Oppermann is looking forward to the class and enthusiastically stated the German team, "is a young, but nice team. We will see." In addition to the Nations Cup class, Oppermann will ride both of his horses in tomorrow's WEF Challenge Cup Round 8 class.
Shane Sweetnam and Spy Coast Farm had a great day with other top finishes in the classes as well. Sweetnam rode O'Splendido to second place in the 1.45m and Cyklon to second place in the 1.40m speed class.
Top Five: $5,000 Welcome Stake (Day Session)
1. HH PALOUCHIN: 1999 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Baloubet Du Rouet x Chin Chin RODRIGO PESSOA (BRA), Double H Farm: 0/58.94
2. GAME READY: 2000 KWPN gelding by Andiamo x Polydox YANN CANDELE (CAN), Susan Grange: 0/60.76
3. LIPTON DE L'OTHAIN: 1999 SFB gelding by Kashmir Van Schuttershof x Prince Du Logis DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Windward Farm And Jessica Siuda: 0/61.71
4. BOLERO VAN 'T HEIKE: 2001 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Polidiktus Vd Helle x Major De La Cour MATT WILLIAMS (AUS), Matt Williams: 0/62.03
5. GELEDIMAR: 2003 Zangersheide mare by Grosso Z x Lord Z NICHOLAS DELLO JOIO (USA), Nicholas Dello Joio: 0/62.53
Top Five: $5,000 Welcome Stake (Night Session)
1. LUX AS IF: 2001 Irish Sport Horse mare JÖRG OPPERMANN (GER), Heinz Eufinger: 0/63.15
2. BLUE CURACAO: 2001 BWP mare by Mr. Blue x Dark D'Amour ALEXANDRA THORNTON (USA), Dunwalke LLC: 0/66.45
3. OLYMPIC DE CHAMANT: 2002 Selle Francais gelding by Gentleman IV SF x Apache D'adriers CEDRIC ANGOT (FRA), Nicolas Paillot: 0/69.19
4. SASKIA: 2003 Oldenburg mare by Kannan x Silvi I NICOLAS PIZARRO (MEX), Nicolas Pizarro: 0/70.63
5. HUISACHE: 1998 KWPN gelding by Indoctro x Topas JUAN CARLOS FRANCO (MEX), Juan Carlos Franco: 0/70.83
Source: Press release from Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
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