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Skelton and Big Star continue to impress in Wellington

Monday, 21 March 2011

Living up to his name; Big Star takes another win for Nick Skelton. Photo by Sportfot. Britain’s Nick Skelton and Big Star notched another big win at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival by taking the top prize in the $78,000 Pennfield Feeds 2* Grand Prix yesterday.

There were 43 entries in the grand prix, and seven of those went clear to advance to the jump-off. The early lead went to Mario Deslauriers (USA) and Urico. They sped around the shortened course with no faults in 42.60 seconds, which would hold up for second place. Spanish rider Sergio Alvarez Moya rode next on Uno. They finished just off the winning pace in 42.85 seconds and placed third. Skelton and Big Star were next in, and they made easy work of the course, powering out of the double combination and galloping steadily down to the final oxer. They stopped the timers in 41.39 seconds with no faults to take the lead.

Skelton said of riding the double combination, "It was a big stretch going out, but he's got the scope. He's careful and he knows where the poles are. You just give him a bit of a kick and he's gone. He reacts very quickly. He's quick away from the jump also. Once he hits the floor, he's ready for the next one."

For Skelton, having his young talented horse rise to the occasion again made him break into a big smile as he left the ring. Afterward, Skelton praised, "He's an unbelievable horse. He's eight years old, and he's never been on that field before. I was home all week and came back here last night. I hadn't ridden him since last Sunday when he was second in the 1.50m. I'm very, very lucky to have a horse like this. I've had him for three years, and what he's doing at eight years old is incredible. I've got to look after him and not get carried away."

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Source: Press release from by Jennifer Wood and Lauren Fisher for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

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