Wellington, FL – March 28, 2012 – The FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival began the 12th and final week of competition today with the $32,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Classic. Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) and HH Palouchin, owned by Double H Farm, are familiar faces in the winner’s circle and were able to speed to victory in today’s class. Richard Spooner (USA) and Molly Ohrstrom’s Billy Bianca were second, while Darragh Kerins (IRL) and Hot Wheels finished third.
Sponsored by FTI Consulting, Inc., the final week of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival will feature the highlight grand prix of the season, the $500,000 FTI Consulting Finale Grand Prix, CSI 5*, on Saturday, March 31. The USHJA International Hunter Derby will host the top 25 on the grass field at The Stadium on Sunday, April 1.
There were 51 entries in the $32,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Classic, and no one could come close to the time of 62.94 seconds set by Rodrigo Pessoa and HH Palouchin. The closest was Richard Spooner on Molly Ohrstrom’s Billy Bianca, who were second in 64.58 seconds. Darragh Kerins and Hot Wheels were third in 65.22 seconds.
“It was a course that gave you the chance to really try to go and it was a good course,” Pessoa said of the Alan Wade-designed track. “It was challenging for me because there were three water (jumps) and he always looks at water a little bit. He gave a strange jump at number three, but then the middle of the course was good, and when he came back to number 10, he was already confident and going.”
HH Palouchin is always a difficult horse to catch in the speed classes, especially at the 1.40m to 1.45m height. This year, he has helped Pessoa win the G&C Farm 1.45m Classic classes, which are part of an initiative to offer more FEI ROLEX world ranking points. “The difference for this year to last year is that he’s won more of these 1.45m ranking classes, which are good to push you up the rankings a little bit. That’s his height; it’s what he’s comfortable in. When I ride properly and he goes through, he’s a difficult horse to catch.”
Pessoa said that the speedy chestnut “works a lot on confidence.” He continued, “If he’s feeling well, he’ll go and always tries. He doesn’t give up easily. But when he’s like this, confident and on a roll, he’s good. He’s very comfortable in this place; it’s his fifth year here. He knows the place and that’s definitely an advantage for him because there are no surprises.”
While HH Palouchin is known for being very animated at the show ring, Pessoa said he is a different horse at home. “He’s very quiet,” he explained. “When he just walks into the schooling ring, he gets excited and knows he’s here to go. You feel that immediately. His eye changes completely. You couldn’t find a quieter horse at home. The way he changes from home to here is like two different horses. At home you can school him over 1.60m fences, if you wanted to, and you’d think you’re riding the best horse in the world. Then he comes here and all this excitement gets to him and he loses 15 centimeters of possibility.”
While some would be disappointed about that loss, Pessoa feels that HH Palouchin has found his niche. “In the beginning we thought he would come over this hump and jump 1.60m, but the stress just gets to him and drives him crazy. (But) we’ve found a life for him. Every horse has a life somewhere, whether it’s in a division, the hunters, equitation, or a 1.45m horse or Olympic horse. Every horse has a place somewhere and we’re very lucky to be able to count on him in those classes. He brings a lot of first place ribbons.”
Earlier in the day, the Adequan Young Jumpers had a chance to show in the International Arena before their Finals on Friday. In the Adequan 5 Year Old Young Jumper class, Alex Granato rode Socke to the win. The winner of the Adequan 7 Year Old Young Jumpers was Alazan, ridden by Ian Millar for Millar Brooke Farm. Zilona, ridden by Chris Delia for International Equine Sales Ltd. And The Balaz Family.
The final class of the day was the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m speed class, which had 76 entries. Laura Chapot sped to the top two spots with Mary Chapot’s Zealous (57.775 seconds) and her own Bradberry (59.298 seconds). Eric Lamaze and Wang Chung M2S, owned by Morningside Stud and Torrey Pines Stables, was third in 60.035 seconds.
The final week of the 2012 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival will continue tomorrow with a full schedule of hunter and jumper competition. In the International Arena, the $32,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 12 will be the highlight class. In the Rost Arena, the Performance Hunters 3’3″ will award championship honors.
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.