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Shane Sweetnam Wins First Two Classes of the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival

January 10, 2013 By: janwest Category: General

Wellington, FL – January 9, 2013 – The 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) hosted its opening day of competition on Wednesday, January 9, at the beautiful Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL, with big wins for Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam. Sweetnam kicked things off with a bang in back to back victories in the first two classes of the circuit in the International Arena.

 

Sweetnam won the $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m speed class aboard Sweet Oak Farm’s Solerina and then went on to take top honors in the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m jump-off class aboard Spy Coast Farm, LLC’s Eregast Van’t Kiezelhof. Laura Chapot also had a win on day one riding Mary Chapot’s Zealous in the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Speed Challenge.

 

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 $30,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 1 on Thursday, 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.

Shane Sweetnam and Solerina. Photo © Sportfot.

Shane Sweetnam’s mounts Solerina and Eregast have both proven themselves in the show ring this year. In fact, Sweetnam had a one-two finish with the two horses showing in the $10,000 Welcome Stake at the South Florida Hunter Jumper Association Charity Horse Show this November. Sweetnam is now off to a great start for the FTI WEF circuit with double wins on day one.

 

“It is a great way to start WEF,” Sweetnam smiled this afternoon. “Last year I started off a little bit slow and then in the second half I had a lot of seconds, so it is nice to get a couple of wins early.”

 

The $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m speed class was the first class of the day with 13 entries and 5 clear rounds in a race against the clock over Eric Hasbrouck’s course. Sweetnam and Solerina, a 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare by Cruising x Diamond Lad, were last to go and completed the fastest round in 63.452 seconds for the win.

 

Peter Wylde and The Wannahave Group’s Wannahave finished second in 67.756 seconds. Luis Larrazabal and Anabel Simon’s G&C Sacramento placed third in 69.905 seconds. Last to go in the class, Sweetnam knew what he had to do, and galloped through the course over four seconds faster than the leading pair.
Sweetnam stated, “Solerina is a very quick horse. I didn’t have to go too silly, but she was still a couple of seconds quicker. She is naturally very quick and covers the ground. She is a very, very competitive horse.”

 

Sweetnam owns Solerina in partnership with Spy Coast Farm and has only had her since the middle of this summer, but the pair has already had great success together.

 

“She doesn’t spend too much time in the air,” he noted. “She is very, very careful. She is a little bit of a character, as in chestnut mare character, but she has a fighting spirit. She always has since I’ve had her. She has had a lot of good results already.”

 

Commenting on the course, Sweetnam added, “The course was nice, especially for the first day of circuit. I wouldn’t say it was too big or too difficult. It was a nice opening class for WEF.”

Shane Sweetnam and Solerina Presentation with ringmaster Cliff Haines and Gustavo Mirabal. Photo © Sportfot.

For Solerina, the FTI WEF circuit will consist of competing in the 1.45m and 1.50m classes. Sweetnam plans to do the $25,000 Suncast® 1.50M Championship Jumper Classic this week on Saturday and then hopes to pick up some of the Rolex/FEI World Ranking Classes throughout the circuit.

Sweetnam’s second win of the day came with Eregast Van’t Kiezelhof, a nine-year-old Belgian Warmlood gelding by Thunder Van De Zuuthoeve x Latano. In the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m jump-off class, 55 entries showed and 25 advanced to the short course. Of those 25, 12 were double clear and Sweetnam and Eregast completed the fastest jump-off round in 36.836 seconds for the win.
Sweetnam just edged out McLain Ward, who finished a very close second riding Ilan Ferder and Missy Clark’s Zhum CW through the timers in 36.872 seconds. Christine McCrea and Candy Tribble’s Avenir placed third in 37.980 seconds.

 

Talking about his second winning mount, Sweetnam described, “I have had Eregast for a year and he has just really started to blossom recently. He has an awful lot of talent. He just seems to be maturing now at the right time. He is just coming nine. The year that I have had him, he needed that time to get mileage.”

 
“He had two good, nice rounds today,” Sweetnam stated. “The first round went well. In the second round, I knew McLain was winning. I was second to last to go with Eregast, so I sort of had an idea of what I needed to do with him as well. He has a very big stride and he can really gallop, so it seemed to work out in our favor and I think we just beat McLain.”

 
On his plans for the circuit with Eregast, Sweetnam detailed, “I want to develop him. He is going to do the 1.45m tomorrow and then hopefully in the next couple of weeks he will do the 1.50m. I have high hopes for him at some stage, but he just needs to get the experience.”

 
Sweetnam looks forward to a fantastic circuit with his great group of horses this year. He stated, “There are so many good classes coming up. I have a very good team of horses thanks to Spy Coast Farm, so I am hoping to have a very successful year this year.”

 
The $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m speed class was also held this afternoon with a win for Laura Chapot riding Mary Chapot’s Zealous. The pair had the fastest of nine clear rounds out of 43 entries with a time of 58.302 seconds. Emanuel Andrade finished second and third. Andrade guided Hollow Creek Farm’s Wilkina Lithya to second place honors with a time of 63.092 seconds. He rode Hollow Creek Farm’s Costa to third place in 63.542 seconds.

 

Day two of the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival will continue in the International Arena tomorrow with the feature $30,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 1. For full results, please visit www.showgroundslive.com.

 

Final Results: $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Table II Sec 1

1. SOLERINA SHANE SWEETNAM SWEET OAK FARM: 0/63.452

2. WANNAHAVE PETER WYLDETHE WANNAHAVE GROUP: 0/67.756

3. G & C SACRAMENTO LUIS LARRAZABAL ANABEL SIMON: 0/69.905

4. NOUVELLE LAURA KRAUTEVITA GROUP: 0/73.443

5. TEIRRA ALISE OKEN HI HOPES FARM LLC: 0/75.706

6. VENUS MARILYN LITTLE RAYLYN FARMS, INC: 4/65.031

7. LITTLE EMIR SHANE SWEETNAM SPY COAST FARM, LLC: 4/65.210

8. HOT WHEELS DARRAGH KERINS SARAH KERINS: 4/65.985

9. ZANDER MCLAIN WARD MCLAIN WARD: 4/68.624

10. ZILOX T MARILYN LITTLE RAYLYN FARMS, INC: 4/69.916

 

Final Results: $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Table II Sec 2(b)

1. EREGAST VAN’T KIEZELHOF SHANE SWEETNAM SPY COAST FARM, LLC: 0/0/36.836
2. ZHUM CW MCLAIN WARD ILAN FARDER & MISSY CLARK: 0/0/36.872

3. AVENIR CHRISTINE MCCREA CANDY TRIBBLE: 0/0/37.980

4. WOTSAMILLION LAURA KRAUTSTONE HILL FARM: 0/0/38.201

5. WHITNEY RAMIRO QUINTANA ST. BRIDES FARM: 0/0/38.639

6. LILLI GEORGINA BLOOMBERG GOTHAM ENTERPRIZES, LLC: 0/0/40.672

7. VICTOR TIFFANY FOSTER ARTISAN FARMS, LLC: 0/0/42.457

PICCOBELLO DU VAL DE GEER JORDAN MACPHERSON JEM STABLES, INC: 0/0/42.600
9. IMOTHEP NICOLE SHAHINIAN-SIMPSON HYPERION STUD, LLC: 0/0/43.307

10. CARISMA EMILIE MARTINSEN EMILIE MARTINSEN: 0/0/46.365

 

 

2013 FTI WEF Opening Press Conference

The 2013 FTI WEF hosted its opening press conference on Tuesday afternoon and a large crowd of local, national, and international media were in attendance to kick off the 12-week competition. The FTI WEF circuit will host thousands of the world’s best horses and riders competing in the hunter, jumper and equitation disciplines starting January 9 and running through March 31.

 

Press Conference Panel Laura Kraut, Dennis Shaughnessy, Mark Bellissimo and Nick Skelton. Photo © ManciniPhotos.

 

The press conference panel included Equestrian Sport Productions’ (ESP) CEO Mark Bellissimo and FTI Consulting, Inc.’s Executive Chairman of the Board, Dennis J. Shaughnessy, as well as top show jumpers and Olympic Gold Medalists Laura Kraut (USA) and Nick Skelton (GBR).

 

 

As the FTI WEF moves into another year, everyone looks forward to the continued growth and development of the event. On Tuesday, Mark Bellissimo welcomed members of the press and spoke about the great changes that he continues to see.

 
“This is the 34th year of the Winter Equestrian Festival and it should be an outstanding year for us,” Bellissimo declared. “I first want to thank FTI Consulting and Dennis Shaughnessy for once again being our title sponsor. Through their investment in our vision and our facility and our event I think that we have really been able to distinguish this event throughout the world.”

 
“This year we will see a record crowd,” Bellissimo stated. “We are sold out of every major component of our business from International Club tables to box seats. I believe that we will have a record international audience this year with the likes of Nick Skelton leading that pack as the gold medal winner in the 2012 Olympic Games. We are attracting very high caliber competitors in the jumper world, the hunter world and dressage. We are very excited about this year and I think this will be a breakout year for us.”

 
Spectatorship at the FTI WEF has had tremendous growth through a combination of alliances with the schools and communications throughout Palm Beach County in conjunction with the FTI Consulting Great Charity Challenge.
In addition to the growth of spectatorship, the Wellington community itself is growing rapidly. Bellissimo noted that there are currently 47 new construction projects going on right now with new houses and barns being built, creating an even stronger community. As more people call Wellington ‘home’, the shows that ESP hosts throughout the rest of the year are also booming.

 
The show also made a large investment in improving infrastructure. As Bellissimo detailed, “We want to make sure that the increase in spectatorship is matched with accessibility, enhancements and better spectator pavilions. We have spent a lot on the International Club to make that more permanent. We added a new pavilion that will be called Central Park that sits between The Gallery and the Wellington Club. Each year we have added a new pavilion. I think it gives another opportunity for people to come and have a different experience for a different age group. We have tried to enhance the public access areas in a way that makes some sense. People will also see some noticeable improvements to the front entrance, including a Venetian carousel. We are trying to hone the facility to be a much more elegant, safe, spectator-friendly venue.”

 

 

The fantastic competition in Wellington is something that riders are taking notice of around the world, especially since three of the four team members from this year’s gold medal winning team from Great Britain showed here last year in preparation for the Olympic Games in London. Nick Skelton was a member of that team with his great horse Big Star and was one of the most successful riders on the circuit here last year prior to that win. Nick explained how the level of competition in Wellington helped him prepare for that monumental victory.

 
Skelton stated, “Coming here for the three months definitely contributed towards him in London. You can teach them a lot of things here. You can go in the different rings and it is invaluable to give them the experience that they need, especially as a young horse. As the weeks go on the prize money gets better. There are fantastic shows here with really good prize money. I’ve been very lucky the last few years here and taken quite a bit away. It is a great facility. There are a lot more foreign riders coming over and they all think the same thing. The weather is good here and I think the horses do better in the sunshine. They come on better for the weather and when they go back in the spring they are ready to go, like Big Star was.”

 
FTI Chairman Dennis Shaughnessy has seen the reach that sponsoring at this competition has had for his company. “FTI obviously is a global company, but our largest office is in London,” Shaughnessy said. “There is a great magazine called Horse and Hound there and last year I started getting calls from clients in London. They Picked up Horse and Hound and on the cover is FTI WEF and there were some kind words from Nick and his fellow teammates about the entire operation. It was a pleasant surprise for us as a sponsor because I am getting great impressions sitting in London of something that we are sponsoring here. For those of you native to Palm Beach County and this area, the outreach is unbelievable. You have one of the classiest magazines in London featuring beautiful color photography of the facility here. Most of the British Olympic team were unbelievably complimentary about not only the facility itself, but the experience. They talked about the uniformity and the quality of the rings. As a sponsor I wanted to thank Nick for the kind words because it resonated with our employees as well as our clients over there.”

 
“This is a tremendous asset,” Shaughnessy added. “I’m not sure everyone understands that between December and April you have a collection of people here that can do an awful lot of good for Palm Beach County. You have a Collection of CEOs, fund managers, investment bankers. It’s probably rare to get them all together in one spot. The impressions they are getting from Palm Beach and Wellington are priceless. You could not pay to have that kind of marketing. Mark and the staff deserve a lot of credit for being great promoters of the sport and putting an awful lot of investment into making this the premier facility in the world.”

 

Dennis Shaughnessy, Laura Kraut, Mark Bellissimo.
Photo © ManciniPhotos.

 

Olympic gold medalist Laura Kraut has been showing in Wellington for 33 of the show’s 34 years, beginning on ponies and moving up the ranks. Kraut is now a top competitor and trainer, with several young students making their mark on the sport. She has also been very helpful to the horse show in sharing her opinions and suggestions for improvement.

 
Bellissimo detailed, “Laura has been a phenomenal force in terms of providing the eyes and ears on the ground. It is tough when you are running a show likes this to please everyone, but she has been spectacular and has really tried to push the quality of our product over the years.”

 
“I have always found them incredibly receptive to almost anything that I have suggested or critiqued. They always are willing to listen,” Kraut said. “You can see by looking around you it has just gotten better and better. This is a great business opportunity for all of us in this sport, a great competitive opportunity, and it is becoming more of a sport for the show jumping end of it.”

 
Other notable improvements to this year’s schedule include another CSI 5*-rated week during FTI WEF 9 as well as the addition of a Nations Cup series for young riders, sponsored by Hollow Creek Farm. Three new FEI Nations Cup competitions will be held for Children 12 to 14 years old, for Juniors 14 to 18 years old and for Young Riders 16 to 21 years old during Week 8 of the FTI WEF alongside the $75,000 FEI Nations Cup presented by G&C Farm. As well as a team competition, there will also be an individual class for the three levels, all of which will run under full FEI rules giving the riders an early experience of top level international competition.

 
Wellington Equestrian Partner Katherine Bellissimo added that there are many more factors to the added competition for young riders as well as young horses.

 
“We are not just about running the biggest and best horse show in the world, we are trying to develop young horses and riders, which is also why we are doing the Nations Cup series, she stated. “It doesn’t just start when the team is selected; it starts when they are young. It starts with having classes here where they can compete on an international basis and get that team experience as well as the individual experience. It is also about developing horses here in the United States instead of going to Europe to get them. We are doing the young horse shows, a lot of education, some breeding shows, and we are working with young riders to help us grow the sport.”

 

 

A further expansion includes even more competition on the grass derby field at The Stadium at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. During FTI WEF 7, the hunters are the focus in the International Arena and the jumpers will have all of their classes for the week at The Stadium. The hunters will then have a whole week of competition there themselves during FTI WEF 9 and will of course have their feature $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby there as the finale hunter event during FTI WEF 12.

 

Equestrian Sport Productions looks forward to a fantastic season as the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival kicks off on Wednesday, January 9. For more information and for a full schedule of events, please visit www.equestriansport.com.

 

Photo Credit: Photos © Sportfot, An Official Photographer of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival,www.us.sportfot.com and ManciniPhotos, www.manciniphotos.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 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

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.

                       


Please visit www.equestriansport.com or call 561-793-5867 for more information.

 

 

 

 

Shane Sweetnam’s mounts Solerina and Eregast have both proven themselves in the show ring this year. In fact, Sweetnam had a one-two finish with the two horses showing in the $10,000 Welcome Stake at the South Florida Hunter Jumper Association Charity Horse Show this November. Sweetnam is now off to a great start for the FTI WEF circuit with double wins on day one.
“It is a great way to start WEF,” Sweetnam smiled this afternoon. “Last year I started off a little bit slow and then in the second half I had a lot of seconds, so it is nice to get a couple of wins early.”
The $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m speed class was the first class of the day with 13 entries and 5 clear rounds in a race against the clock over Eric Hasbrouck’s course. Sweetnam and Solerina, a 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare by Cruising x Diamond Lad, were last to go and completed the fastest round in 63.452 seconds for the win.
Peter Wylde and The Wannahave Group’s Wannahave finished second in 67.756 seconds. Luis Larrazabal and Anabel Simon’s G&C Sacramento placed third in 69.905 seconds. Last to go in the class, Sweetnam knew what he had to do, and galloped through the course over four seconds faster than the leading pair.
Sweetnam stated, “Solerina is a very quick horse. I didn’t have to go too silly, but she was still a couple of seconds quicker. She is naturally very quick and covers the ground. She is a very, very competitive horse.”
Sweetnam owns Solerina in partnership with Spy Coast Farm and has only had her since the middle of this summer, but the pair has already had great success together.
“She doesn’t spend too much time in the air,” he noted. “She is very, very careful. She is a little bit of a character, as in chestnut mare character, but she has a fighting spirit. She always has since I’ve had her. She has had a lot of good results already.”
Commenting on the course, Sweetnam added, “The course was nice, especially for the first day of circuit. I wouldn’t say it was too big or too difficult. It was a nice opening class for WEF.”