Week three of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) began with the $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m speed class on Wednesday morning at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). The win went to Olympic gold medalist Peter Wylde (USA) aboard Windward Farm and Jessica Suida's Zidane, a nine-year-old KWPN gelding by Sam R x Cantos.
The course designer in the International Arena for week three competition is Uliano Vezzani of Italy. Vezzani set the track for twenty-nine entries in the $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m speed class and saw 13 clear rounds. The fastest of those rounds belonged to Peter Wylde and Zidane in a time of 65.599 seconds.
Speaking about his mount, Wylde declared, "Zidane is a champion. The horse wins a lot of classes. He is very careful and very fast. We have had him since he was five and he has won at every level. As a six-year-old, seven-year-old, eight-year-old and now as a nine-year-old he is winning and he has won a lot of very good classes, world ranking classes. He is just a winner. He has a super character and he is such a trier. I am very pleased with him; he is a lovely horse."
Canada's Ian Millar and Dixson, owned by Ariel and Susan Grange, finished second to Wylde and Zidane in 67.123 seconds. Karen Polle (USA) and With Wings placed third with their time of 67.779 seconds. From Great Britain, Ben Maher and Dolores, owned by Mrs. Wang, were fourth in 68.175 seconds and Tim Gredley finished fifth in 68.326 seconds with Unex Competition Yard's Unex Omelli.
Wylde commented on his winning round, stating, "It was good for him; it was fast. He is very fast and he can turn well and the course was quite careful with delicate, narrow verticals and planks. It suited him. He can really cover the ground very easily. Some of the lines I might have been able to do one less stride, but he is actually fast enough everywhere that I was okay matching the same strides as everybody else. In general, when he is on, he is hard to beat."
Zidane has mostly shown in Europe with Wylde, but was previously in Wellington for one winter as a seven-year-old. Wylde hopes to have a good winter circuit with him.
"He showed these three weeks and now he will probably get a little break, then he might do the 1.45m ranking classes towards the end of the circuit. I think those would be really fantastic for him," Wylde remarked. "There is so much to offer here, really he can do anything. He is also a super derby horse. He won the derby in Spain at the end of the Sunshine Tour last year, so maybe that would be interesting over on the field. Not only is he really careful, but he is really brave. He jumps banks and ditches and everything brilliantly."
"He is super personable," Wylde added. "He is very friendly. He is a little bit spooky, which makes him so careful, but in the barn he is very spoiled. My groom Caroline loves him to death."
After living in Europe for a number of years, Wylde has now made the move back to the U.S. and looks forward to continuing his success in the States.
"I am super happy to be here," he stated. "I am happy to be here together with Dover Saddlery and Cavalor, my two very good sponsors. Dover and I have been together for 23 years. I had a very good time in Europe and I enjoyed it. I learned a lot and accomplished a lot, but I really am happy to be back here and I am happy that Dover and Cavalor have continued to be supportive no matter where I am."
Wylde also looks forward to a great winter in Wellington.
"They offer so much here," he stated. "There is a lot of prize money, the facility is fantastic, the classes on Saturday night are brilliant and I would say it is as hard as anywhere. They have fantastic competition here now and what has been created here is incredible. It is world-class. Why wouldn't anybody want to come here and spend time here? There are other things to do, but this is really a significant stop on the tour, so I can see the reasons why people would want to do it; me as well."
Also showing on Wednesday, Maria Schaub and Bonnie Smith's Tuya had the fastest of 15 clear rounds out of 61 entries in the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m speed class for a win. In the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m jump-off class, Ben Maher and Mrs. Phillips' Quiet Easy 4 wrapped up the day with victory in a class of 68 entries with 17 jumping off and five double clear rounds.
For full results, please visit www.showgroundslive.com.
Final Results: $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m
1. ZIDANE PETER WYLDE WINDWARD FARM & JESSICA SUIDA: 0/65.599
2. DIXSON IAN MILLAR ARIEL AND SUSAN GRANGE: 0/67.123
3. WITH WINGS KAREN POLLEKAREN POLLE: 0/67.779
4. DOLORES BEN MAHER MRS. WANG: 0/68.175
5. UNEX OMELLI TIM GREDLEYUNEX COMPETITION YARD: 0/68.326
6. TALOUBET PAULO SANTANA FILHO: 0/68.873
7. VINDICAT W LAURA KRAUT STONE HILL FARM: 0/69.729
8. TAM TAM HERO ROBERTO TERAN JR: 0/70.153
9. UNEX OMEGA STAR TIM GREDLEY UNEX COMPETITION YARD: 0/72.159
10. COLGATE PABLO BARRIOS PABLO BARRIOS: 0/72.591
11. CILANTROMEAGAN NUSZ AMALAYA INVESTMENTS: 0/72.617
12. KENYON PETER LUTZ ORCHARD FARM: 0/73.226
Source: Lauren Fisher for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
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