Wellington, FL – January 10, 2013 -Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa and HH Let’s Fly galloped to victory in the $30,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 1 on the second day of competition at the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) on Thursday. After kicking the year off with a second place finish in last weekend’s inaugural $100,000 Trump Invitational Grand Prix, the duo is off to the races with a win to start their winter circuit.
Week one of FTI WEF runs January 9-13, sponsored by The Mar-a-Lago Club. The week will feature a full schedule of exciting hunter/jumper competition, including the $55,000 Nespresso Battle of the Sexes exhibition class as the start of the “Saturday Night Lights” series and fun events like the Jump for HomeSafe fundraiser. Highlights of week one include the $25,000 Suncast® 1.50M Championship Jumper Classic on Saturday afternoon and the $30,000 Mar-a-Lago Club Grand Prix on Sunday. The 2013 FTI WEF runs through March 31 featuring 12 weeks of world-class competition.
Eric Hasbrouck is the course designer in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center this week and set the track for Thursday’s $30,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 1. Thirty-eight entries contested the class for the first round of competition and nine jumped clear to advance to the jump-off. A tight time allowed kept five others without jumping faults out of the tie breaker.
Seven of the nine jump-off entries cleared the second round course without fault, but it was the trailblazing time of Rodrigo Pessoa and Double H Farm’s HH Let’s Fly that set the pace and held on through the end. Pessoa and the 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Lordanos x Forrest galloped through the timers in 35.940 seconds, first to go in the jump-off, and no one else would come close.
Peter Wyle (USA) and The Wannahave Group’s Sandor De La Pomme finished second with their time of 36.392 seconds. Third went to Shane Sweetnam (IRL) aboard Spy Coast Farm, LLC’s Siri with a time of 36.591 seconds. Luis Larrazabal (VEN) and Anabel Simon’s G&C Sacramento placed fourth with their time of 36.664 seconds.
Following their round of honor, Rodrigo Pessoa remarked on a successful day with Let’s Fly.
“It was definitely a good start, with last week as well,” Pessoa smiled. “Last Sunday we were second at the Trump Invitational and now a nice win to kick off the season. Obviously going first is never easy, but the strategy when you go first is to try to have your plan and execute it the best you can and just push the rest to catch you. My plan worked well. I know the horse very well. I have had him for awhile and I have a lot of practice with him with fast courses, so I know what I can do and what I cannot do. I thought it was pretty good. You never know if it is enough, but I thought it would be pretty close.”
Pessoa and Let’s Fly have had a great partnership for the last several years and Let’s Fly seems to be in great form this season. Pessoa detailed, “He is going good. For two years my main horses were injured and I had to use him in the 1.60m all of the time and that took a little bit of a toll on him. Last year on the circuit here he didn’t perform as well, so when I went back to Europe I thought I would leave him in the smaller classes and compete him in the 1.45m where it is really easy. I wanted to let him regain confidence and regain all of his potential. From time to time I would bring him up and down.”
“He has been a great horse for us; he has had some great wins,” Pessoa recalled. “He won the $500,000 Grand Prix in Charlotte and he won the Grand Prix of Rome and he has won a number of classes here. He is not the most spectacular horse, but he is always a sure soldier there for our string.”
Going first in the jump-off, Pessoa described his strategy with Let’s Fly, stating, “I was trying to be as short as possible. I started really on an angle to number one and did the number of strides there and got a really good one to the double and to the Hermes oxer as well; I really sliced that. I thought with him I didn’t really like to do five strides on the last line because I didn’t want to open him much, so I kind of jumped the vertical a little bit on an angle to give me the room to do the six and I had to be really patient to the last fence because he opened his stride. His stride was big, so I had to really wait. From start to finish I had good angles; that was how I had imagined the jump-off for him in my head and when you can pass on what you think to execute it, I was pretty happy with the way it turned out.”
This is the second event in a row where the duo was first to jump-off and it has paid off. Pessoa noted, “I would rather go at the end and have a little bit more information, but time to time, to go in front when the plan works really exactly, it is also good because you are pushing other riders, putting the pressure on them to make them go a little bit more and make people take risks.”
Coming up, Let’s Fly will show in Sunday’s $30,000 Mar-A-Lago Club Grand Prix and will then have a week or two off. Pessoa then hopes to gear him towards the Challenge Cup classes and one or two more grand prix during the circuit. As for Pessoa’s other plans, he has two top grand prix horses to show and a few other young ones.
“This circuit is kind of tricky because you really want to show but we are only in the first trimester of the year and the year is still long,” he stated. “There are a lot of classes and a lot of prize money that is out there, but you have to be careful that you still have a horse when you finish here and go back to Europe and the big events, so we are going to be really careful with what we show. I have Rebozo that is here and we are going to wait for some bigger weeks with him and I have Ashley. Those two and Let’s Fly will be my three grand prix horses and then I have some very interesting seven and eight-year-olds for G&C Farm that we are developing. I am lucky to have two very good supporters in Double H and G&C, to have some very nice quality horses and be able to do this in a fun way and a good spirit.”
Along with riding horses for G&C Farm, Pessoa is also coaching their riders and had the added bonus of helping Luis Larrazabal jump to a fourth place finish in today’s class. He was pleased with that outcome as well.
“That was very good,” Pessoa smiled. “It is a horse that he knows well. It is a horse that is a little bit slower across the ground, but I was really pleased with the way he rode and the way that he did the jump-off. He will get faster as the weeks go by.”
Along with his prize money and cooler, Pessoa was awarded a $3,000 rider bonus for the SSG “Go Clean for the Green” contest. The bonus is awarded to the winning rider if they are wearing the SSG ‘Digital’ Riding Gloves in all rounds of competition with the SSG logo clearly visible. It was Pessoa’s first time winning the bonus.
“I think it is great. It is a great incentive,” he said of the prize. “This week I had to borrow Nick Skelton’s gloves, but next week now with my $3,000 here, I will make sure I buy a pair and have my own for the rest of the circuit.”
Final Results: $30,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 1
1. HH LET’S FLY RODRIGO PESSOA DOUBLE H FARM: 0/0/35.940
2. SANDOR DE LA POMME PETER WYLDETHE WANNAHAVE GROUP: 0/0/36.392
3. SIRISHANE SWEETNAM SPY COAST FARM, LLC: 0/0/36.591
4. G & C SACRAMENTO LUIS LARRAZABAL ANABEL SIMON: 0/0/36.664
5. QUALITY GIRL TODD MINIKUS TODD MINIKUS, LTD: 0/0/36.813
6. WATERLOOSCHUYLER RILEY M. MICHAEL MELLER:0/0/39.744
7. ASLAN LJUBOV KOCHETOVA LJUBOV KOCHETOVA: 0/0/45.264
8. VENUS MARILYN LITTLE RAYLYN FARMS, INC: 0/4/37.247
9. AX-CENT KENNETH BERKLEY RIVERS EDGE: 0/4/41.277
10. USER ID DARRAGH KENNY ATLANTA EQUESTRIAN CENTER: 1/86.100
11. EVENING STAR HEATHER CARISTO WILLIAMS MR. & MRS. RALPH CARISTO: 1/86.294
12. PATRIOT WILTON PORTER SLEEPY P RANCH LLC: 1/86.454
Quotable and Holly Orlando Dominate Green Conformation Hunter Division
Quotable and Holly Orlando jumped their way to championship honors in the Sanctuary Green Conformation Hunters during the opening week of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF). The seven-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, owned by David Glefke and Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth Garber, handily won the division after strong performances during both days of the division’s competition. Quotable and Orlando won the model and placed first and third over fences on day one. They clinched the championship after placing first and second in today’s over fences classes.
Reserve honors went to Ainsley Sadlo’s Balin, ridden by Havens Schatt. Schatt and Balin placed second and third in yesterday’s over fences classes. They went on to win the Hunter Stakes round during today’s competition and pinned third in today’s second over fences class.
Glefke and Garber only purchased Quotable in November, but he has quickly proven himself to be an exceptional horse. Orlando rode him to a Pre-Green championship title in their first show together, and the decision was made to move him up to Green Conformation right away. Last week, in his first week of Green Conformation competition, Quotable was named reserve champion.
“He needs a bigger jump. We just did [Pre-Green] to get to know him one time. To do another year of Pre-Green would be boring for him,” Orlando explained.
Today’s victory marks only the third time Orlando has shown Quotable, but clearly the pair is a winning combination. “He’s been so amazing. He’s a perfect ride for me. He’s really light and soft with a big stride. He’s a great horse,” Orlando stated.
Orlando also praised the course design for the FTI WEF’s opening week by Skip Bailey. “I like that they kept it a little simple the first week. The courses rode perfect and the horses jumped well. The courses have been really friendly.”
Glefke, who owns last year’s FTI WEF Green Conformation Circuit Champion, Voice of Reason, has been raking in prizes with his green horses during week one of competition. On the Hour was Second Year Green Champion and Charmed Life earned top honors as the Pre-Green 3 & 4 Year Olds Champion. Both horses were also ridden by Holly Orlando, who started riding for Glefke at Lane Change Farm in the fall.
The opening week of competition at the FTI WEF will continue tomorrow with a full schedule of hunter and jumper competition. The E.R. Mische Arena will host this week’s final classes for the Adult Amateur Hunters 36-50 before awarding championship honors.
Day three of the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival will continue in the International Arena on Friday featuring the Adequan Seven-Year-Old Young Jumpers. In the hunter divisions, championship honors for the Adult Amateur 36-50 Section A will be highlighted. For full results, please visit http://www.showgroundslive.com.
Photo Credit: Photos © Sportfot, An Official Photographer of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival, www.us.sportfot.com and Anne Gittins Photography,www.annegittins.com. This photo 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 BeachInternational 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
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 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 $1.56 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2011. More information can be found at www.fticonsulting.com.