Wellington, Fla. – Jan. 31
Lauren Hough wasn’t expecting to earn top honors at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival this week, after a somewhat uncharacteristic start to the circuit. But she and her mount, Ohlala, stepped up to win the $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 4 on Jan. 31 in Wellington, Fla.
“I had a little bit of bad luck last week and not great riding in the grand prix and had two [rails] down, which is very uncharacteristic of her. I was a little disappointed in myself, and I thought I would give it a go this week. She is great. First class out, you can go fast and she knows her job.”
After watching Shane Sweetnam put in a quick round to beat, Hough knew she’d have to be careful and consistent.
“I put more steps in than [Sweetnam] did, but she is just so quick across the ground,” Hough said. “I always have to stick with my plan and hope that I end up faster than the one in front of me. I don’t know where I made it up. She just was sort of on it everywhere. I was quite quick back to the last double. I didn’t waste a lot of time there, but I did eight strides to the last where most did seven.”
Ohlala, owned by The Ohlala Group, is a 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare (Orlando—Cardento) who’s had success around the world with Hough in the irons.
“It was a nice course,” said Hough. “Obviously not many of the horses got worked yesterday with the torrential downpour, and I sort of geared her towards this class this week knowing it was a one round. She is obviously a very quick horse. It wasn’t terribly big, but it was quite careful. There were rails throughout the course, and I think [Palacios] did a good job, considering that for most of these horses it was probably their first class this week. I wouldn’t say it was super technical today, but you needed a really careful horse.”
Venezuela’s Leopoldo Palacios is the course designer in the International Arena at PBIEC for week four competition. For the $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 4, which was held as a speed class, Palacios saw 63 entries with 22 clear rounds.
Shane Sweetnam of Ireland and Solerina, owned by Sweet Oak and Spy Coast Farms, held the lead through most of the class with their time of 62.58 seconds, but eventually settled for second when Lauren Hough and Ohlala raced through the timers in 61.46 seconds.
Andres Rodriguez and Arao Enterprises LLC’s Caballito finished third in 62.98 seconds. Ronan McGuigan and Capall Zidane placed fourth in 63.36 seconds, and Ben Maher and Jane Clark’s Aristo Z took fifth place honors with their time of 63.82 seconds.
In addition to the prize money in Thursday’s class, Hough earned a special $3,000 bonus as part of the SSG “Go Clean for the Green” promotion for wearing her SSG ‘Digital’ Riding Gloves. Each week of the Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Series, a $3,000 bonus will be awarded to the winning rider if they are wearing SSG ‘Digital’ Riding Gloves in all rounds of competition with the SSG logo clearly visible. She was also awarded a special trophy for her win, earning the Barry Louise Lane Perpetual Memorial Trophy, presented by Debbie Lane.
Final Results: $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 4
1. OHLALA: 2003 Swedish Warmblood mare by Orlando x Cardento. LAUREN HOUGH (USA), The Ohlala Group: 0/61.46
2. SOLERINA: 1999 Irish Sport Horse mare by Cruising x Diamond Lad. SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Sweet Oak & Spy Coast Farms: 0/62.58
3. CABALLITO: 2002 Holsteiner gelding by Contendro x Argentinus. ANDRES RODRIGUEZ (VEN), Arao Enterprises LLC: 0/62.98
4. CAPALL ZIDANE: 2004 KWPN gelding by Concorde x Baloubet du Rouet. RONAN MCGUIGAN (IRL), Ronan McGuigan: 0/63.36
5. ARISTO Z: 2004 Zangersheide gelding by Andiamo Z x Flamenco Desemilly. BEN MAHER (GBR), Jane Clark: 0/63.82
6. URAGUAY: 2001 KWPN gelding by Nairobi x Colino. TODD MINIKUS (USA), Legacy Stables, LLC: 0/64.52
7. ZOJASPER: 2004 KWPN stallion by Concorde x Jasper. RODRIGO PESSOA (BRA), Ilan Ferder Lovsta & Tal Milstein: 0/64.76
8. CARLOS V.H.P Z: 2002 Zangersheide gelding by Chellano Z x Voltaire. NICHOLAS DELLO JOIO (USA), The Carlos Group: 0/64.85
9. UBRIS: 2004 Holsteiner mare by Caretino x Corrado I. SARAH SEGAL (USA), Chartwell: 0/66.07
10. LORENA 90: 1997 Mecklenburg mare by Loredo x Marlesko. CHELSEA MOSS (USA), Chelsea Moss: 0/67.07
11. GLORY DAYS: 2001 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Cardento 933 x Diamond Serpent. KATIE DINAN (USA), Grant Road Partners, LLC: 0/68.09
12. FLECU: 2004 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Hip Hop x Flamingo ALEXANDER ZETTERMAN (SWE), Alexander Zetterman: 0/68.52
Darragh Kenny and Quiz Triumph in $34,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic
The $34,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic was held in the afternoon on Jan. 31, and saw a win for Darragh Kenny and Spruce Meadow’s Quiz. The class saw 23 entries with 5 clear rounds to advance to the jump-off and three double clears.
Kenny and Quiz earned top honors in 41.05 seconds. McLain Ward and Kantunaro, owned by Ellen Holtgers and David Paige, finished second, clearing the course in 41.17 seconds. Alexa Pessoa and Rodrigo Pessoa’s Levade 35 were the first pair to jump clear and stopped the clock in 42.41 seconds to finish third.
Alex Granato and Wood Run Farms’ Mullaghdrin Rado had the fastest time of 39.80 seconds, but had one rail down to place fourth. Sydney Shulman and Marcus Hagglund’s Quirado had 4 faults in the jump-off in 42.37 seconds to place fifth.
Quiz is a 10-year-old Selle Francais gelding by For Pleasure x Laudanum, owned by Spruce Meadows and the Southern Family. Kenny has been bringing the horse along since last year.
“He’s 10, but he hadn’t done so much. He had only been doing 1.30-meter [classes],” Kenny noted. “He won a good grand prix with me last year in Saugerties the week of the $1 million class. He has kind of just grown. He is unbelievably careful, he has loads of scope. I really think he is a top horse. I think he is a super, super horse. I am so lucky that Spruce Meadows owns him and that I get to ride him.”
Describing his strategy in the jump-off, Kenny explained, “I just thought, ‘Start going a little bit and then just keep building as the course went on.’ He is still green, so you can’t just go crazy from the start, but he has a big stride and he really wants to be careful, so you have to just keep going at the jumps. Then as it went I just got gradually faster.”
Kenny plans to keep Quiz competing at the 1.50m level this winter and is very happy with the horse’s progress. “He seems to be doing great. He was second last week and he won this week,” Kenny said. “He is going to have a week off next week. I really think a lot of the horse, so I am going to take my time with him.”
In addition to Quiz, Kenny has a lot of great young horses this year and is having a nice start to the FTI WEF circuit. “It has been going great,” he said. “I am very busy. I have a lot of good clients and a lot of good owners and some really nice horses. I haven’t yet jumped a Saturday night grand prix, but I’m taking my time. There is no rush. One horse will show next week in the big classes. These horses are all a little bit younger, and I am trying to produce them for the future.”
Final Results: $34,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic
1. QUIZ: 2004 Selle Francais gelding by For Pleasure x Laudanum. DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Spruce Meadows: 0/0/41.05
2. KANTUNARO: 2004 Oldenburg gelding by Kannan x Cantauer Z. MCLAIN WARD (USA), Ellen Holtgers & David Paige: 0/0/41.17
3. LEVADE 35: 2004 Brandenburg mare by Levisto x Kolibri. ALEXA PESSOA (USA), Rodrigo Pessoa: 0/0/42.41
4. MULLAGHDRIN RADO: 2002 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Radolin x Tresor de Mesnil. ALEX GRANATO (USA), Wood Run Farms: 0/4/39.80
5. QUIRADO: 2001 Holsteiner gelding by Quinar x Corrado II. SYDNEY SHULMAN (USA), Marcus Hagglund: 0/4/42.37
6. WOTSAMILLION: 2005 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Captain Clover x Atlantic Boy. LAURA KRAUT (USA), Stone Hill Farm: 1/73.30
7. ZAMIRO 16: 2000 Sachsen-Anhaltiner gelding by Zenturio x Landstreicher. KARA CHAD (CAN), Stone Ridge Farms LLC: 4/66.52
8. BLACK JACK 163: 2004 Hanoverian gelding by Escudo I x Drosselklang II. DAVID WILL (GER), Eveline Kraus: 4/67.11
9. FIFTY FIFTY 111: 2005 BWP mare by Action Breaker x Major de la Cour. ANDRES RODRIGUEZ (VEN), Arao Enterprises LLC: 4/67.89
10. BELUGA: 2005 Swedish Warmblood mare by Cobra x Cortez SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Spy Coast Farm LLC: 4/70.06
11. TAMARA 296: 2003 Holsteiner mare by Quintero x Claudio. BRIAN WALKER (USA), Brian Walker: 4/70.92
12. STATUS: 2004 Hanoverian gelding by Satisfaction x Sao Paulo. RODRIGO PESSOA (BRA), Pessoa Stables LLC: 5/72.54
FTI WEF four, sponsored by Ariat®, runs January 29 to February 2. The week will feature the FTI Consulting Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity Investments® featuring a concert by four-time Grammy Nominee Hunter Hayes on Saturday night, and the $50,000 Ariat® Grand Prix CSI 2* on the derby field at The Stadium at PBIEC on Sunday afternoon. The FTI WEF features 12 weeks of world-class competition through March 30, awarding $8 million in prize money.