The 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) continued with a full schedule of competition on Friday, January 31, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL. The $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 4 began the day's competition with a win for Lauren Hough (USA) and Ohlala. The $34,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic was held in the afternoon with a win for Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Quiz.
The day also featured the $10,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Team Event, presented by The Dutta Corp. in association with Guido Klatte, which was held at The Stadium at PBIEC in the evening with a top finish for the team of Kalvin Dobbs, Gabriela Mershad, Hayley Barnhill, and Abigail McArdle.
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.
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 (IRL) 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 (VEN) and Arao Enterprises LLC's Caballito finished third in 62.98 seconds. Ronan McGuigan (IRL) and Capall Zidane placed fourth in 63.36 seconds, and Ben Maher (GBR) and Jane Clark's Aristo Z took fifth place honors with their time of 63.82 seconds.
Ohlala, owned by The Ohlala Group, is a 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare by Orlando x Cardento. The mare has had success around the world with Hough in the irons and continued her winning ways with a speedy top finish in Friday's class.
"It was a nice course," Hough stated. "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 he 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."
Hough saw Sweetnam's round and knew she had a fast time to beat, but looking back, she was not sure where she made up the time.
"I put more steps in than he 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."
"She is a winner," Hough noted. "I had a little bit of bad luck last week and not great riding in the grand prix and had two 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."
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.
Source: Equestrian Sport Productions
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