Ken Berkley and Prestige Win Sanctuary First Year Green Working Hunter Championship
Wellington, FL – January 19, 2012 – Nick Skelton (GBR) accumulated another win at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) today in the $32,000 WEF Challenge Cup 2, this time taking the top prize with Beverley Widdowson’s Carlo 273. The Irish took the next two places, with Richie Moloney on Slieveanorra, owned by Equinimity LLC/Richie Moloney in second and Cian O’Connor on Ashkirk Ltd. & Cian O’Connor’s Blue Loyd 12 in third.
The second week of the FTI WEF runs through Sunday, January 22, and is sponsored by Wellington Equestrian Realty. 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. The highlight jumper class in week two is the $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix, CSI 2* on Saturday, January 21, at 7 p.m.
This week’s course designer in the International Arena is Luc Musette of Belgium. Skelton commented, “Luc is one of the best course builders. He’s very underestimated and he’s one of the best course builders in the world for me. For the amount of people in it today, it was a good course and a good jump-off. It wasn’t crazy big. You don’t have to go in there every time and jump massive courses. The horses will last longer doing what we’re doing instead of keep testing them every day to the maximum.”
The $32,000 WEF Challenge Cup Series had 59 entries, and there were 18 first round clears. The best in the jump-off round was Skelton on Carlo 273, an 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Contender x Cascavelle, who were able to clear the shortened course in 38.39 seconds for victory. The final line, which included a double combination in eight strides to the last oxer, was where Skelton considered he could make up time, but changed his mind on course.
“They said you could do seven (strides) there and I went for it, but then I thought, ‘No, that’s too far away.’ I think if it had been in 10 weeks’ time, I might have gone a bit harder at it. For now I have to leave a bit in the tank. He was happy coming out of the ring,” Skelton said.
Moloney and Slieveanorra, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding by Voltaire x Flagmount Diamond, were just behind in 39.16 seconds. O’Connor and Blue Loyd 12, a 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Landor S x Hadj Ax, had a time of 39.76 seconds.
Fourth place in the class went to Ben Maher (GBR) on Emma Phillips’ Tackeray, who finished in 39.87 seconds, while Andrew Bourns (IRL) and his Roundthorn Madios were fifth in 40.40 seconds.
Skelton noted that he was pleased with Carlo’s performance since he hadn’t jumped since the Holiday and Horses show on December 3. He went on to say, “He likes to jump. I know that the money is coming later in the circuit, but for him, he’s not a horse who can just sit there and not do anything and then just bring him out. Once you’ve got him up and running, you can put him away for a couple of weeks and he can come back. But you’ve got to get him going and jumping first. He gets bored in the stable. He’s a happy horse; he likes to jump.”
Skelton has a solid string of winners with Unique, who won last week’s Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic, and Big Star, a multiple winner at last year’s FTI WEF. “I still have Big Star to come out,” Skelton noted. “He gets out of quarantine in two weeks. Then he can start jumping.”
Skelton, who won the individual and team bronze medals at last year’s European Championships with Carlo, is part of a British contingent at the FTI WEF training for this summer’s Olympic Games in London.
When asked his thoughts on the British team, he said, “We’ve come here because there’s not a lot on at home, and they can’t all go to the indoor shows. The indoor shows, you don’t get the same build up as being outside. Here, the weather’s always good, the rings are always good, the courses are good. You can try and put a team together.”
Skelton will likely be a part of the British squad at the $75,000 FEI Nations Cup presented by G&C Farm on March 2.
Prestige Shows His Class in First Year Hunters
Ken Berkley and Gina Day’s six-year-old Zangersheide gelding Prestige took home a championship tricolor and Horseware Ireland cooler in the Sanctuary First Year Green Working Hunters for week two of the FTI WEF. Prestige and Berkley won two classes over fences today and earned two fourth place ribbons yesterday. Scott Stewart rode his own Caldwell to the reserve championship, finishing first over yesterday’s handy course and second under saddle, and placing sixth in today’s stake class.
Prestige was circuit champion in the Pre-Green 3′ Hunters during last year’s FTI WEF and this was his first time showing in the First Year division. “Prestige is just a baby; he just turned six years old,” Berkley stated. “He was four and then turned five when we started him last year. He is so simple that we gave him the summer off. He has not shown since Kentucky last spring in May and this is his first week doing the First Years.”
Commenting on the horse’s demeanor, Berkley declared, “He is bomb proof; he doesn’t look at a thing left or right. The spookier the fence, the higher he jumps. He has a big stride and he lands on every lead. I never had to do a flying change in two days over four courses.”
“He is a great horse,” Berkley praised. “He is going to be a great, fun First Year horse. He is going to be fun to do derbies with because he is perfect in that kind of environment. He would jump in and out of a circle of hay bales like they had last year; he doesn’t care about a thing.”
Berkley detailed the ease of Prestige’s show routine, explaining that he takes very little preparation. “He requires no lunge; he just gets a fifteen minute ride in the morning. It is rare for First Year horses to be that simple,” he emphasized. “Usually they need to do a warm-up, but I did a warm-up with him last week and I jumped two jumps with him this week, and now I don’t think I will ever need to do one.”
Berkley plans to show Prestige through the first few weeks in Wellington to make sure that he is qualified for the Devon Horse Show, and will then give him a couple of weeks off before World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) week (week 6). Prestige’s owner, Gina Day, hopes to show the gelding herself this year as well. She plans to show in the Adult Amateurs later in the season.
Week two of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival continues tomorrow with many classes, including the USEF Talent Search equitation class for junior riders and the World Development Group 1.35 Jumpers.
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.