Wellington, FL – February 2, 2013 – It was a star-studded equestrian event during week four of the2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival’s (FTI WEF) “Saturday Night Lights” competition as Great Britain’s Ben Maher piloted Jane F. Clark’s Cella to victory in the $100,000 Fidelity Investments® CSI 2* Grand Prix. Competing in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), Maher and Cella finished on top of 49 entries over second place finishers Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) and HH Rebozo and third place competitors Gemma Paternoster (GBR) and Osiris.
Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela set the course for Saturday night’s $100,000 Fidelity Investment’s CSI 2* Grand Prix. Out of 49 competitors, only six made it to the jump-off round, and the top three were the only entries to clear both courses without fault.
Ben Maher and Cella followed with a second clear round and galloped through the timers in 48.95 seconds to take the lead. Gemma Paternoster and Osiris, owned by Paternoster along with Julia Harrison Lee, also cleared the short course and placed third with their time of 52.62 seconds. Last to go, Liza Finsness (USA) had one rail down with Ormsby Hill in 52.77 seconds to place sixth.
“Yesterday we had a sit down with George,” he noted. “It really helped; it’s really great to have someone like George to be the eyes on the ground. Cella’s a fantastic horse. She’s sensitive, she has a mind of her own, but I just let her do the jumping and she felt amazing tonight.”
After a few weeks of showing, Maher felt comfortable going a little bit faster in the jump-off with Cella tonight. Speaking about the round, he detailed, “It was one of those jump-offs where it could have gone either way. I had very fast riders in front of me and the turns paid off. Sometimes it goes like that here; I have seen it a lot over the years. You get running and it is easy to make a mistake. Definitely a late draw in the jump-off paid; it was worth a lot tonight. I completely changed my plan; I had a little bit of a pause before I went in the ring and I took a risk that the two riders after me were going to go around and play it a little safe. I don’t think we could have been a lot better at this stage today.”
Gemma Paternoster was happy with her round with long-time partner, Osiris. She stated, “I have a bit of a different story from Ben catching his new ride; I have been with Osiris for ten years now. He was superb tonight. He moved to Florida with me two years ago and he says he loves the sunshine. He’s 17, but he feels great. I wasn’t really sure how much of WEF we would do with him at his age, but he felt better than ever tonight.”
Concluding the evening, Maher thanked his new sponsor, Jane Clark, and admitted that it was great to get his first big win in their new partnership. “I just want to say thank you to Jane,” Maher acknowledged. “We broke the ice and I feel privileged to ride those horses. There was pressure on Jane’s part and my part a little bit in the beginning, but it nice to get the first grand prix win. We feel more relaxed now and we can just do the best with the team we have around us.”
Final Results: $100,000 Fidelity Investments® CSI 2* Grand Prix
1. CELLA: 2002 BWP mare by Cento x Chin Chin
BEN MAHER (GBR) Jane F. Clark: 0/0/48.95
RODRIGO PESSOA (BRA), Double H Farm: 0/0/51.12
GEMMA PATERNOSTER (GBR), Gemma Paternoster & Julia Harrison Lee: 0/0/52.62
MCLAIN WARD (USA), Grant Road Partners: 0/4/47.59
TODD MINIKUS (USA), Todd Minikus, Ltd: 0/4/50.13
6. ORMSBY HILL: 1997 BWP gelding by Unknown
LIZA FINSNESS (USA), Liza Finsness: 0/4/52.77
REED KESSLER (USA), Reed Kessler: 1/83.22
SAMUEL PAROT (CHI), Samuel Parot:1/85.47
CANDICE KING (USA), Bellissimo, LLC: 1/85.66
CHARLIE JAYNE (USA), Pony Lane Farm: 4/77.47
TIM GREDLEY(GBR), Unex Competition Yard: 4/79.73
BRIANNE GOUTAL (USA), Remarkable Farms LP: 4/79.89
Superman and John Ingram Conquer Hunt Limited Amateur-Owner Hunter Over 35 Division
Superman and John Ingram clinched the championship title during day two of competition for the Hunt Limited Amateur-Owner Hunter Over 35 division at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF). Ingram, of Nashville, TN, and his eleven-year-old Holsteiner gelding were third and second over fences during day one of competition and secured their victory with two blue ribbon performances on day two in the under saddle class as well as the stake round of over fences competition.
Reserve champion was La Fayette, ridden and owned by Deborah Perkins and trained by Havens Schatt. Perkins and La Fayette jumped to first and seventh on day one, followed by second and fourth places over fences on day two.
Although Superman was originally intended for Ingram’s wife or daughter to compete on, the handsome bay gelding ended up being the perfect match for him. “I never really expected to have the opportunity to ride him, but I’m glad that I do,” Ingram stated. “I’m a pretty accurate and soft rider, which he likes. He likes to know that you’re there, firmly. But he doesn’t want you to mess around with him too much either.”
Superman’s super qualities extend far beyond the ring. “He’s very much a gentleman in the barn. He’s so calm and easy to deal with. He’s just a lovely horse. We really are lucky to have him,” Ingram stated.
In addition to his charming personality, Ingram believes Superman’s good looks and natural talent gives him the edge against tough competition. “He’s beautiful. He’s got a great expression. He jumps nicely and he’s pretty to watch, and that’s exactly what a hunter is supposed to be,” Ingram stated.
While Skip Bailey’s innovative course design caused problems for the pair in the first over fences class on day two, Ingram enjoyed the opportunity to put his skills to the test. “The first class I got a little bit wiggly and got deep going into the in and out. I like that [Bailey is] putting the jumps in a little bit different spots. It creates some different challenges and that gives you a chance to try to differentiate yourself a little bit,” Ingram explained.
Week four of hunter competition at the FTI WEF concludes Sunday with the Coldwell Banker Children’s Hunter 14 and Under, hosted in the Equine Tack and Nutritionals Ring 6. In the International Arena, the $25,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic will conclude the week’s jumper competition. For full results, please visitwww.showgroundslive.com.
Photo Credit: Photos © Sportfot, An Official Photographer of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival, us.sportfot.com, and Anne Gittins Photography, An Official Photographer of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival, www.annegittins.com. These photos may be used only in relation to this press release and must include photo credit.
About the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival
The 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 9 through March 31. 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.
About FTI Consulting
Fidelity Investments® is one of the world’s largest providers of financial services, with assets under administration of $3.9 trillion, including managed assets of $1.7 trillion, as of December 31, 2012. Founded in 1946, the firm is a leading provider of investment management, retirement planning, portfolio guidance, brokerage, benefits outsourcing and many other financial products and services to more than 20 million individuals and institutions, as well as through 5,000 financial intermediary firms. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit www.fidelity.com.
Please visit www.equestriansport.com or call 561-793-5867 for more information.