The second week of competition at the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF), sponsored by Wellington Equestrian Realty, concluded on Sunday with a win for McLain Ward (USA) and Super Trooper de Ness in the $25,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic. Competing on a beautiful afternoon at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), the pair earned their second victory of the week, winning over Ben Maher (GBR) aboard Jane Clark's Cella and Pablo Barrios (VEN) and ZL Group, Inc.'s Zara Leandra. Week three of the FTI WEF runs Wednesday, January 23, through Sunday, January 27. The week will feature the FTI Consulting Great Charity Challenge (FTI GCC), presented by Fidelity Investments®, at 7 p.m. on Saturday evening. The event raises and distributes over one million dollars annually to 32 lucky Palm Beach County charities in a pro-am team competition.
Concluding week two, forty-one entries showed in the $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic on Sunday jumping a course set by Luc Musette of Belgium. Eight were clear to advance to the jump-off and five went double clear. McLain Ward and Grant Road Partners' Super Trooper de Ness blazed through the short course in 41.853 seconds for the win.
Super Trooper is an eleven-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion by Vigo d'Arsouilles x Polydor. He is a horse that Ward is aiming toward the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy. The pair won a class earlier in the week in the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m jump-off class and a great partnership is forming.
Commenting on his win, Ward stated, "He is a really, really fast and very, very careful horse. We have been trying to build over the last few classes and today was a step up and I thought he handled it very well. I know he is capable of going fast like that, so I figured I would take a nice chance, not doing anything crazy, but take a chance, and he really responded well. It was a nice win and a nice way to start off the circuit with him."
Four other riders cleared the short course and finished in the top of the ribbons. Ben Maher and Cella completed the course in 42.390 seconds to place second. Pablo Barrios and Zara Leandra finished in 43.441 seconds for third place honors. Paige Johnson (USA) and Salamander Farm's Chiron S were fourth in 43.893 seconds. Fifth place went to Christine McCrea aboard Candy Tribble's Victor E with a time of 45.317 seconds.
Ward is excited about his new partnership with Super Trooper de Ness and looks forward to building their relationship this season. Speaking about the ride, he detailed, "He is very sensitive and very careful, so you have to be quite disciplined in the ride, but the trade off is that he leaves the jumps up. I think you just try to ride him as well as you can. He is just very competitive. I think he is a wonderful horse, so I am very excited about him."
Ward also spoke about the course and how it suited his horse, as well as his confidence in his mount in the jump-off. "It was big enough for a 1.50m class," he remarked. "The triple was quite big. I think he is capable of answering any test, but it is a little bit of a progression because we are just kind of getting going." "From fence one to two I left out a stride," Ward said of his winning time. "I knew how careful he was that he would handle that skinny really well and then I just tried to stay on it. We had a nice turn back on both verticals and it was nine strides in the last line for all the top ones that went fast, so it was kind of a set distance. You know when you are galloping the fence that he is going to do a lot to get out of the way, so that certainly gives you confidence in going fast." The Junior Jumpers also showed in the International Arena on Sunday competing in their classics for week two. In the $10,000 Griffis Group High Junior Jumper Classic, Lillie Keenan and Chansonette Farm, LLC's Londinium were the winners. Dana Scott and Nod Hill Farm's KM What Ever RV finished second and Chloe Reid and Damascus placed third. The $10,000 Hollow Creek Farm Medium Junior Jumper Classic saw a win for Michael Hughes aboard Christina Fried's Zammetje. Second place went to Eugenio Garza aboard El Milagro's Zarenko. Madeline Thatcher and Pony Lane Farm's Lancelot 266 finished third.
Finals Results: $25,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic
1. SUPER TROOPER DE NESS MCLAIN WARD GRANT ROAD PARTNERS, LLC: 0/0/41.853
2. CELLA BEN MAHER JANE CLARK: 0/0/42.390
3. ZARA LEANDRA PABLO BARRIOS ZL GROUP, INC: 0/0/43.441
4 . CHIRON S PAIGE JOHNSONSALAMANDER FARM: 0/0/43.893
5. VICTOR E CHRISTINE MCCREA CANDY TRIBBLE: 0/0/45.317
6. ROUNDTHORN MADIOS LAUREN TISBO TEQUESTRIAN FARMS, LLC: 0/4/46.028
7. ONISHA REED KESSLER REED KESSLER: 0/5/50.136
8. LILLI GEORGINA BLOOMBERG DIETMAR GUGLER & GOTHAM ENTERPRIZES: 0/8/47.451
9. E-MUSE YEK DARRAGH KERINS DARRAGH KERINS & MAARTEN HUYGENS: 1/80.809
10. ZHUM CWMCLAIN WARD ILAND FARDER & MISSY CLARK: 4/73.638
11. QUIET EASY 4 BEN MAHER MRS/ PHILLIPS: 4/75.606
12. UATA BRIANNE GOUTAL CLOVERLEAF FARM: 4/75.668
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