Week four of the 2012 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), sponsored by Adequan, concluded on Sunday with a win for Great Britain's Scott Brash and Whisky Mac in the $25,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic. Week four of the FTI WEF was sponsored by Adequan. Week five, sponsored by Spy Coast Farm, will run February 8-12. The 2012 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of competition that conclude on April 1, 2012, and they will be awarding more than $6 million in prize money through the circuit.
Forty-four entries showed in the 1.50m class over a track set by 2012 Olympic course designer Bob Ellis of Great Britain. Six went clear to jump-off and five completed double clear rounds. Scott Brash and Whisky Mac, owned by Stan Brash, finished with the fastest time of 44.670 seconds taking the top prize.
Following Brash, Ben Maher (GBR) guided Rowan, owned by Mrs. Louise Flower, to the second fastest time in 45.608 seconds. Andrew Welles (USA) rode Boo Van Het Kastanjehof, owned by Peter Welles, into third in 46.121 seconds. Great Britain's Tina Fletcher and Unique IX stopped the clock in 47.365 seconds to finish fourth. Ireland's Cian O'Connor and Sinead and Oonagh Kennedy' KEC Alligator Alley finish fifth in 47.650 seconds, and Nick Skelton (GBR) rode Unique, owned by Beverly Widdowson, to eight faults in 48.016 seconds to take the sixth position.
Class winner Whisky Mac, a nine-year-old Scottish Sporthorse gelding by Emilion x Burggraaf, is a new horse for Brash since August. Brash started Whisky Mac when the horse was a four-year-old in Scotland and the gelding then showed with his owner for several years. When it came up that Whisky Mac was for sale last year, Brash bought him.
"He had not done a whole lot; he was really an inexperienced horse, so I thought that I would bring him to this circuit for good experience," Brash explained. "This was one of the first big classes that he has done and I can't talk highly enough of the horse. He is a really, really good horse. Hopefully this tour is going to bring him forward in the education that he has missed in the last couple of years. I am really excited about his future."
Brash acknowledged course designer Bob Ellis on a great effort throughout this week's competition and praised today's course. "I thought it was a really good course. I must say, I think the course builder got it right all week," Brash said. "He has gotten the right number of clears in every class. Course builders don't really get credited enough when they do a good job and I think Bob did a fantastic job this weekend." "It was really good to ride those sort of courses," Brash continued. "You have to think, you have to be able to ride, and your horses have to be good horses at the end of the day. It's the quality horses at the end of the day that are winning the classes. For me, in the grand prix last night, Big Star was the best horse in the class and he won. It was a really good course and he has done a good job."
On his ride in the jump-off today, Brash detailed Whisky Mac's success in one of his biggest starts. "He is dead easy and he is the nicest horse to work with, but he is actually still very green," Brash noted. "I went against the clock with him today, but even when I'm turning him he still doesn't really know where he is going and he is just not totally with me at the moment. It can make it a little bit hard work at the fence. At fence number two, I turned him back and because he fought with me a little bit on the turn we were quite far off the fence, but when he gets there he tries his best for you. I think he is a great horse and when I get his rideability a bit better, I think he is going to be really good."
1. WHISKY MAC SCOTT BRASH STAN BRASH: 0/0/44.670
2. ROWAN BEN MAHER MRS. LOUISE FLOWER: 0/0/45.608
3. BOO VAN HET KASTANJEHOF ANDREW WELLES PETER WELLES: 0/0/46.121
4. UNIQUE IX TINA FLETCHER TINA FLETCHER: 0/0/47.365
5. KEC ALLIGATOR ALLEY CIAN O'CONNOR SINEAD & OONAGH KENNEDY: 0/0/47.650
For full results please visit www.showgroundslive.com
Source: Press release from Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
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