Alvaro de Miranda and AD Uutje. Photos © Sportfot.
Wellington, FL – January 16, 2014 – Week two of the 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) continued on Thursday with a busy schedule of competition at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL. The afternoon featured Round 2 of the $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Series, which was held in a “California Split” due to the large number of entries. The competition awarded two sets of placings, each with $34,000 distributed. Brazil’s Alvaro de Miranda and AD Uutje and USA’s Charlie Jacobs and Flaming Star shared in the day’s victory.
FTI WEF week two, sponsored by Wellington Equestrian Realty, will run Wednesday, January 15, through Sunday, January 19. The week will feature the $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix CSI 2* on Saturday night, and the $10,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Series Speed Class, Presented by The Dutta Corp. in association with Guido Klatte, as well as the $34,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic, during the day on Sunday. The FTI WEF, held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL, features 12 weeks of world-class competition through March 30, awarding $8 million in prize money.
Luc Musette of Belgium set the course for Thursday’s $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 2 with 98 entries competing in total. Out of 98, only eleven were able to clear the first round course to advance to the jump-off, and nine of those jumped double clear. Alvaro de Miranda and AD Uutje, owned by de Miranda and Victory Equestrian Sport BV, had the fastest time of 39.71 seconds overall for the win in Section A. Charlie Jacobs and CMJ Sporthorse LLC’s Flaming Star finished in 39.85 seconds for the win in Section B.
The top three finishers in Section A included Alvaro de Miranda and AD Uutje, Lauren Hough (USA) and Laura and Meredith Mateo’s Reconnaissance in second place with a time of 40.15 seconds, and Ronan McGuigan (IRL) and Capall Zidane in third with a time of 41.52 seconds.
Section B saw Charlie Jacobs and Flaming Star on top, with Katie Dinan (USA) and Grant Road Partners’ Glory Days in second in 41.45 seconds, and Keean White (CAN) and Angelstone Partners’ Pironella in third with a time of 41.81 seconds.
The competition in Wellington has become more competitive each year, and it takes an extremely fast combination of horse and rider to top the talented line-up of international competitors in these classes. Alvaro de Miranda knew what he had to do going into the jump-off, and he went full speed.
“It is very competitive here,” he noted. “Every class you need to go full gas to try to do something. I am very happy because with this horse it was very difficult for me to go fast always in Europe. Today I had a very good feeling in the jump-off. It was very good for me because the left turn is better for him, so I could do a good turn to the double, and he has a very, very big stride, so I did one less stride to the last fence.”
De Miranda was extremely fast galloping down to the final vertical heading towards the in-gate, and he did not hold back.
“You need to just go and the last two strides, almost don’t breathe, just wait and let the horse jump good,” he stated. “It is so fast that if you think about the finish line, you will have a big fault. Making this mistake one thousand times, sometimes you learn, and today was good. When you are not the last (in the jump-off), you know anything can happen and you just wait for the result, but I am very happy with my horse and a start like that is very good. The horse jumped amazing.”
AD Uutje, a 2001 KWPN gelding by Monaco x Calypso, is a fairly new horse for de Miranda, and the rider explained that Nelson Pessoa has been helping him for the last three months.
“I have ridden him for only six months, and Nelson Pessoa really trained the horse,” de Miranda explained. “It was very hard for me to ride this horse, but Nelson also rode the horse for me and he found the right bit. He is coaching me two times a week in Holland and also here every day. I am very happy to have Nelson again. I rode with him for 15 years and then I went to Holland, and now we are back again and I am very motivated to have him as my coach.”
The new partnership with AD Uutje is progressing, as de Miranda explained that this was the fastest they have gone without making any mistakes.
“Today I had a very good feeling,” he said. “I was going fast, but he was not losing the jump and getting flat. Maybe to the last a little bit, but it was very fast to the last. I am very happy, and I hope I can keep riding him like today because when I ride him good, he always jumps very good. Most of the mistakes are my fault, and I try to keep improving.”
Co-winner, Flaming Star, is a 1999 AES gelding by Fairman that Charlie Jacobs has had great success with. Jacobs was last to go in the jump-off, but did not get to see de Miranda’s ride because he was warming up. The difference between their times was one extra stride down the last line, where de Miranda did ten strides to Jacobs’ eleven.
“I just didn’t have it in me to do ten,” Jacobs stated after the class. “I thought ‘Maybe I do ten, but it’s a gamble. I leave it up, I win. If I knock it down, I’m sixth.’ So I got maybe too cautious, but it’s kind of remarkable that we had 98 starters today. I am so proud of Flaming Star and the way he jumped. He has been great. This is his second of back to back weeks, so he will jump Saturday and then he gets a two-week rest before week five.
Commenting on Flaming Star’s consistency, Jacobs noted, “I am so proud to have him. He is a quirky horse, but once you get to know him, it is like a comfortable suit that you put on. You get in the saddle and he is right there like an old buddy, ready for you. I am so happy. We have a great rapport, and it wasn’t always that way with him and me. We just gelled in the past year or so.”
In addition to the prize money in Thursday’s class, de Miranda earned a special $3,000 bonus as part of the SSG ‘Go Clean for the Green’ promotion for wearing his SSG ‘Digital’ Riding Gloves. Each week of the Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Series, a $3,000 bonus will be awarded to the winning rider if they are wearing SSG ‘Digital’ Riding Gloves in all rounds of competition with the SSG logo clearly visible.
An $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m class was also held in the International Arena in the morning with a win for Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Artisan Farms LLC’s Powerplay. The $2,500 Amateur-Owner Jumpers, sponsored by Engel & Völkers, Sollak Carr, saw a win for Erin Haas and North Face Farm’s As Di Chupito.
Lucador and Scott Stewart Claim Green Conformation Hunter Championship for Second Week in a Row at FTI WEF
Lucador and Scott Stewart were awarded top honors in the Green Conformation Hunter division, presented by Shapley’s Grooming Supplies, on Wednesday afternoon of the FTI WEF. Stewart and Lucador took home the championship prize for the second week in a row after an incredible sweep of the division during Week 2 of the FTI WEF. The pair ultimately won all six classes in the division.
Reserve champion for the division was High Regard, owned by Glefke & Kensel, LLC, and ridden by Adam Ottomanelli. High Regard was third in the model and second under saddle with Ottomanelli before placing fifth in the handy round, and finishing second, third, and second over fences.
Lucador, a six-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, first caught Parker’s eye at the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Program Championship in Lexington, KY, last summer. Peter Pletcher campaigned the gelding throughout 2013 for then-owner Brian Walker, finishing the year fifth in the Pre-Green Incentive Program Standings for Money Won by a Horse.
Despite Lucador’s substantial winnings, the horse hadn’t actually been in the show ring very often. After taking him out a few times in the fall, Stewart toyed with the idea of giving him another year to get comfortable in the horse show environment.
“I wasn’t sure whether he was going to do another Pre-Green year or not. He’s pretty young. He’s just turning six, and Peter and Brian only showed him three or four times [last year at the FTI WEF] and a few times over the summer. He didn’t have a lot of experience, but he’s really brave. The jump is easy for him, and he has a good mind for a young horse,” Stewart detailed.
Stewart decided to make the move up a division with Lucador, but resolved to wait and see how the gelding handled the higher fences. With two division championships in his first two weeks out, it’s clear Lucador has risen to the challenge.
“The original plan was to show him once or twice at 3’6″ and see how he dealt with it, and if he didn’t do so well we could always drop him down. But so far so good!” Stewart laughed.
Lucador also hasn’t been deterred by less than ideal weather, getting wet during week one of the FTI WEF during substantial rainstorms followed by an unseasonably chilly and windy in the second week. Stewart acknowledged that although Lucador is still young, he’s mentally quite mature. At only six years of age, Lucador is already described by Stewart as a horse he doesn’t have to worry much about in the ring.
“He’s got a big stride and he’s not spooky, so you never have to worry about that. He’s also got a perfect lead change, so there are a lot of things you don’t have to worry about. You just have to stay out of the way, and he’ll have a pretty jump. He doesn’t actually need to jump a lot at home, either. He’s pretty easy. He acts like a 10-year-old!”
Shapley’s Grooming Products sponsored the Green Conformation Hunter division, awarding Stewart with a well-stocked bucket of grooming supplies for his victory with Lucador. Stewart’s River’s Edge Farm, based in Flemington, NJ, is already a devoted Shapley’s user thanks to overwhelmingly positive feedback from the grooms.
“We use it all the time. It’s great to have Shapley’s sponsoring this class because you can use all of their stuff for the model. The guys love it, and it makes the horses look good!” Stewart remarked.
Week two of the 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival will continue on Friday with the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Jumpers in the International Arena as well as the presentation of championship honors to the Triple Crown Adult Am Hunter 36-50 Sec. A in the Rost Arena. For full results, please visit www.showgroundslive.com.
About FTI Consulting, Inc.
FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex legal, regulatory and economic environment. With more than 4,000 employees located in 24 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges in areas such as investigations, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues, reputation management, strategic communications and restructuring. The company generated $1.58 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2012. For more information, visit www.fticonsulting.com.
About the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival
The 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 8 through March 30. The FTI WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are “AA” rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $7 million in prize money will be awarded.
Please visit www.equestriansport.com or call 561-793-5867 for more information.
Lauren Fisher for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Public Relations