Nick Dello Joio and Boomerang. Photos © Sportfot.
Sara Ballinger and Wanderprinz Earn Top Call in Ariat National Adult Medal
Wellington, FL – March 28, 2014 – The 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) hosted classics for the young jumpers on Friday during its twelfth and final week of competition at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL. In the $20,000 Adequan 8-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic, Nick Dello Joio (USA) and Boomerang were the winners. Sloane Coles (USA) and WEC l’Ami Noir topped the $20,000 Adequan 7-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic, and Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Dakota VDL won the $15,000 Adequan 6-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic.
FTI WEF week twelve, sponsored by FTI Consulting, continues through March 30, 2014. Saturday will feature the $100,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Final and $500,000 FTI Consulting Finale Grand Prix CSI 5* along with round one of the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, which concludes on the derby field on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Live streaming is available on Saturday, March 29, at approximately 6:30 p.m. EST for the $500,000 FTI Consulting Finale Grand Prix CSI 5*. Live streaming will begin with the $100,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Final Jump-off. Watch here: http://www.chronofhorse.com/article/2014-fti-finale-grand-prix-live.
Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) set the tracks for Friday’s young jumper classes in the International Arena at PBIEC. All of the classes were held with the option to either jump-off immediately following their round or wait until after the first round of competition. In the $20,000 Adequan Eight-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic, 61 entries showed with eight to jump-off, and five double clear rounds. Nick Skelton (GBR) led the way with Aristio for most of the class, jumping off early in 38.60 seconds, but eventually moved into third place. Adam Prudent (FRA) jumped off after his round with Henri Prudent’s Si Bella and briefly took the lead in 38.09 seconds, but was pushed into second. Nick Dello Joio (USA) chose to return for his jump-off round at the end, and took over for the win with Emilie Martinsen’s Boomerang in 37.35 seconds.
Boomerang, a KWPN gelding by Orlando x Lux, is a horse that Martinsen rode last summer and then asked Dello Joio to ride with the idea to bring him along and sell.
“I am privileged to ride him,” Dello Joio stated after his win. “He is full of character. He is a small horse, but he has more scope and more range than any horse I think I have ever ridden. He is a bit cheeky and has a lot of personality. I think all of that combined is what makes him a super horse.”
“I have been riding him at this circuit for five or six weeks, and I think it is time for him to move up,” the rider noted. “This is a good division for him, but he is better over a bigger fence, so I think it’s time to see what he’s got. We have schooled him at home and other places, and when the horse jumps bigger, he is way more focused. When he jumps smaller, it is just too easy for him. It’s like (Michael) Jordan playing street ball or something. It’s not fair, so I’m excited to take him to the next level.”
Commenting on the ride and his decision to wait to jump-off until the end, Dello Joio explained, “With horses like him, you always want to keep them a little bit under your thumb. You want to keep them with you and together. He’s not a horse that you want to get off his back and let him do what he wants. You have to kind of work together, and that is when he is at his best, and his most focused.”
“In the first round, maybe I left him a little bit too fresh,” Dello Joio mused. “He is so gamey; he is so on it, so he finished the first round, and I thought I would just bring him out and let him chill. I wanted to re-school him and get his focus again, and then go back in and have a round like that, and it paid off.”
For his round in the jump-off, Dello Joio asked the advice of his father, Norman, heading in. “I asked dad what he thought about it, if we wanted to push him or how important this class was for him,” the rider explained. “He just said, ‘Be smart and be smooth.’ The horse is so quick across the ground; his stride eats it up for a little horse. I had to almost chip and do the nine (strides) down the last line. Everyone else was galloping and I could have done eight if I really needed to, but I saw the clock and I was like, ‘All right, wait, easy.’ I just made neat turns and used his stride to my advantage. I have never really put any gas on the fire, so it worked out.”
Dello Joio plans to step Boomerang up a little bit in the months to come and knows that the horse has a great future. “There are some shows here in April, so maybe we will pull him out one week and jump one of the grand prix classes here on him quietly, without a ton of people, and just see what he does and see how he reacts to it,” he said. “Then the plan is for him to go to Old Salem and Spruce Meadows, which I think will be fantastic mileage for him. Old Salem is an amazing venue, and Calgary, there is no better in the world for experience for horses. If he keeps going like that, he is a super horse, so I think he will get sold.”
Sloane Coles and WEC l’Ami Noir Win $20,000 Adequan Seven-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic
The $20,000 Adequan Seven-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic was featured at the FTI WEF on Friday afternoon with 20 out of 72 entries making it through to the jump-off and 13 double clear rounds over Anthony D’Ambrosio’s short course. Early on, Sloane Coles (USA) and The Windwood Group’s WEC l’Ami Noir set a very fast pace in 30.84 seconds that would hold on to the lead through the end. Ronan McGuigan (IRL) and Blythe Masters’ Chapeau finished second in 30.96 seconds. Tim Gredley (GBR) and Unex Billy Dream placed third in 31.65 seconds, and Ramiro Quintana (ARG) and St. Bride’s Farm’s Tua Efele finished fourth in 32.22 seconds.
WEC l’Ami Noir is a Holsteiner gelding by Cormint x Corrado I that owners at The Windwood Group purchased as a five-year-old. Coles started riding l’Ami two months ago and has been showing the gelding in the seven-year-old classes throughout the last half of the FTI WEF circuit, including a win during week ten leading up to the final.
“When the owners bought him, they kind of knew that he was going to be a grand prix horse, and I think he has proven that already as a seven-year-old,” Coles noted. “He is just very scopey and very careful. He is light on his feet and quick off the ground. He wants to be a winner; he really wants to be fast. The rideability is there, it is getting better, but he is just a super horse and I am looking forward to having him in the future.”
Speaking of l’Ami’s personality, Coles described, “When we first got him, he was a little bit funny. He didn’t want to be loved on and he was a little weird, but now we are spoiling him and he is really developing a personality. He is very put together, almost proud of himself. He is big and beautiful and he knows he is a good horse, which is good.”
“I didn’t start showing him here until maybe week six, but he has done the seven-year-old classes the whole circuit,” she detailed. “Today was bigger than it has been down here, and I feel like he just stepped up. I feel like he definitely could have jumped bigger today if he had to. His stride is huge. I left out strides in a couple of places in the jump-off, and I think that is how I won it.”
Coles heads back to her base in Middleburg, VA, after this week and shows in Virginia and Kentucky throughout the summer with the goal of the Seven-Year-Old Young Jumper Championships at the Hampton Classic in August.
Darragh Kenny and Dakota VDL Top $15,000 Adequan Six-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic
The $15,000 Adequan Six-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic was the first class in the International Arena at PBIEC on Friday with a win for Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Hyperion Stud LLC’s Dakota VDL. The six-year-old Holsteiner stallion (Casall x Contender) was purchased from VDL Stud two years ago for the highest bid of $210,000 at the 2012 WEF Sport Horse Auction in Wellington. Kenny started riding the horse this year in the middle of January and showed throughout the winter at the 1.30m level.
In Friday’s six-year-old classic, the pair topped a class of 63 entries where 26 advanced to the jump-off. They had the fastest time of 34.60 seconds out of 11 double clear rounds. Sloane Coles and The Windwood Group’s WEC Damokles finished second in 35.25 seconds. Alex Granato (USA) guided Page Tredennick’s Calchen W to third place honors in 35.28 seconds, and Darrin Dlin (CAN) and Susan Grange’s Tienna placed fourth in 35.70 seconds.
“He is really a special horse,” Kenny praised. “He was already jumping the 1.30m easy. He basically did not do any of the six-year-old classes all winter because we wanted to jump him a little bit bigger. He has huge scope, and he is very careful. He is very, very competitive and today he was super.”
“He is super easy,” the rider added. “There is nothing difficult about him. He doesn’t spook, he has loads of jump, he is very careful and easy to ride. It is an easy thing to go in and try to win a class like this on him. He makes my life very easy, so that’s nice. The idea is to just keep building him up and see where he goes. I think he has all the ability to be a top horse.”
Kenny commented on the course, stating, “I thought it was very good. It was a little technical and a little spooky, which was good. The good horses ended up at the top and that was the right way to do it.”
Kenny and Dakota VDL had an impressive round through D’Ambrosio’s short course to conclude their FTI WEF circuit with a win, and Kenny looks forward to furthering the horse’s potential when they show together again in Canada this summer.
“I think actually on Monday he is going to leave to go back to Hyperion Stud in Virginia to start breeding,” Kenny noted. “He will do a lot of breeding for April and some of May and then he will come to Spruce Meadows for me to jump. He will keep breeding for the future and then we will keep showing him and see where it goes.”
Sara Ballinger and Wanderprinz Earn Top Call in Ariat National Adult Medal
Sara Ballinger of Marion, OH, and her 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding Wanderprinz finished first in the Ariat National Adult Medal on Friday morning of week twelve at the FTI WEF. Ballinger and Wanderprinz were the final pair to enter the ring, earning a high score of 86 to return for the test.
The top four riders were called back for further testing. Meredith Combs was first to test, scoring an 82 with Cassius in the first round before ultimately finishing second. Third place went to Emma Butchard and Conquest. The pair earned an 83 in the first round. Barri Platt completed the top four aboard Avanti Maria, scoring an 85 in the first round and finishing fourth overall.
Ballinger has owned Wanderprinz since she imported him as a four-year-old. Seven years later, the pair has developed a close bond. Ballinger prides herself on the fact that she does all of the care for Wanderprinz and her other horse, Pizzaro, who she competes in the jumper divisions.
Wanderprinz also started out as a jumper, but a lack of speed led Ballinger to experiment with the adult equitation divisions. The dark bay gelding took it well, and the two have forged a fruitful equitation career together. Ballinger won the Ariat National Adult Medal during week eight of the FTI WEF, in addition to division champion in the Adult Equitation division.
Wanderprinz may have left the jumper ring behind, but the skills he learned in the jumper divisions groomed him for success as an equitation mount.
“The jumpers really helped with all the turns. He knows when he lands to pay attention to me for where to go, since it’s not always straight [down the line],” Ballinger explained.
Ballinger was thrilled with her first round course, commenting, “The first round was great. I loved the course. It was an actual equitation course. I thought it was super.”
Of her plan for her course, Ballinger said, “[I wanted] to stay smooth and kind of round all the turns. Just keep a nice pace the whole way, keep the same pace. I think keeping the same pace, like the plan was, really helped [in getting called back to test]. Also executing the corners correctly. We’ve been practicing that, especially this week.”
As the last rider to go, Ballinger, who trains with Lourdes De Guardiola, wasn’t able to get in any extra practice before returning to the ring right away to test. The judge asked riders to canter fences one and two, where they had the option to tighten the sweeping left turn. Riders then continued turning left to trot fence three, a brick wall, before having a tight right turn to hand gallop fence four. Riders where then asked to halt and return to line at the sitting trot.
Ballinger felt confident after hearing the test, remaining focused on maintaining a good rhythm even if it meant sacrificing handier turns.
“Sometimes I have a little trouble leaving the line with the same pace. That’s why I stayed out a little bit to the first jump. I didn’t cut the turn. I’d rather stay out a little and sacrifice that, but get the pace,” she shared.
Ballinger’s ultimate goal for the week is the Beval Palm Beach Adult Medal Final on Sunday. Hunter and equitation competition continues on Saturday at the FTI WEF with the Hunt Ltd. Amateur-Owner Hunter Over 35 division in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter 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 and Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Public Relations