Wellington, FL – February 1, 2012 – The FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival welcomed exhibitors for the fourth week of competition, which starts today and goes through Sunday, February 5. In the opening class in the International Arena, Darragh Kerins (IRL) guided Hot Wheels to victory in the $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumpers.
Week four of the FTI WEF runs February 1-5, and is sponsored by Adequan. The Budweiser Clydesdales will be making two appearances at the FTI WEF this week. The first will be before the $80,000 Adequan Grand Prix, CSI 2* on Saturday, February 4, and again on Sunday, February 5 before the Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic. The 2012 FTI 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.
There were 38 entries in the class and they competed over a track designed by Bob Ellis of Great Britain, who will design the courses at this summer’s Olympic Games in London. Eleven were able to go clear over the course, and the fastest was Hot Wheels, ridden by Darragh Kerins, who completed his round in 73.883 seconds. Ben Maher (GBR) and Quite Easy 4, owned by Mrs. Phillips, were second in 76.743 seconds, while Debbie Stephens and Centennial Farm’s Swagger were third in 80.985 seconds.
Kerins and Hot Wheels, a 1997 Silla Argentino gelding by Liliputiense, have had “quite a long partnership,” Kerins said, “for seven or eight years now. He was bred in Argentina and imported by his other owner Miranda Fischer. Since he’s been imported he’s been with us. He’s like part of the family at this stage.”
With a laugh, Kerins noted, “He hasn’t grown up a whole lot. He’s still very difficult in the barn; he’s quite a quirky horse. It’s not everybody who can look after him. The same guy has looked after him since we got him, from the beginning.”
While he has his quirks, Hot Wheels has been a solid performer in the show ring. “He’s been great,” Kerins agreed. “He was ridden by Miranda in the amateur-owners and she actually won a few grand prix classes on him. Then I took back the ride in the middle of last summer and he’s been great. He’s won a couple of grand prixs and was third here in the WEF (Challenge Grand Prix) in week one.”
Kerins described, “He fights and he always tries 100%. He’s ultra-careful. It doesn’t matter how fast you run at the jumps, his aim is to leave them up. Then it’s easy to ride him.”
After a week off to “freshen up a bit,” Kerins entered Hot Wheels in today’s class to “see where he was at, and he feels good,” he said. Kerins decided to go for the speed over the course. “I’d watched a good few go and I thought it was quite beatable. He’s very careful and it doesn’t bother him to go fast and come out and be the same the next day. I thought I’d give it a shot and it worked out well.”
Kerins plans to show Hot Wheels again in Sunday’s Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic.
The FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival will continue tomorrow with a full schedule of hunter and jumper competition. The highlight class in the International Arena is the $32,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 4 at 1 p.m. For full results please visit www.showgroundslive.com.
About the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival
The 2012 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 11 through April 1. The FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival 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 $6 million in prize money will be awarded.
About FTI Consulting
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 3,800 employees located in 23 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 $1.4 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2010. More information can be found at www.fticonsulting.com.
Please visit www.equestriansport.com or call 561-793-5867 for more information.