Wellington, FL – March 8, 2012 – Top British riders McPherson and Scott Brash each took home their winner’s share on Thursday in a split class for round nine of the $32,000 WEF Challenge Cup Series at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Held in a ‘California Split’ due to the large number of entries, the class awarded two sets of placings, each with $32,000 distributed. McPherson and his own Silver Spring and Brash and Lady Harris and Lady Kirkham’s Sanctos Van Het Gravenhof were both awarded top honors. The team of Lillie Keenan, Lydia Ulrich, Charlotte Jacobs, and Gabrielle Bausano won the $20,000 Artisan Farms Young Riders Grand Prix Series Team Event presented by Dutta Corporation in association with Guido Klatte. Scott Stewart and Tristan were champions in the Sanctuary Green Conformation Hunters.

Sponsored by the Bainbridge Companies, week nine will host the $200,000 FEI World Cup Qualifier Grand Prix, CSI 4*-W, presented by the Bainbridge Companies on Saturday, March 10, at 7 p.m.

Today’s $32,000 WEF Challenge Cup featured 99 horse and rider combinations jumping a course set by Venezuela’s Leopoldo Palacios. Just ten were able to clear the first round course without fault, and an exciting jump-off ensued.

The day’s class was split into two with equal prize money awarded to each section. The class ran as a whole and the jump-off scored the clear rounds together to determine the overall standings. The top placings were then split accordingly.

With ten returning for the jump-off, five were able to jump double clear, and David McPherson and Scott Brash had the two fastest times. McPherson and Silver Spring were fastest overall, completing the jump-off course in 39.56 seconds to become the winner of Section A. Brash and Sanctos Van Het Gravenhof finished in 39.74 seconds, earning the top prize in Section B.

David McPherson and Silver Spring

Section A awarded second place to Jeffery Welles (USA) and Aries, owned by Noel Love Gross, who cleared the jump-off course in 40.42 seconds. Third place went to Marie Hecart (FRA) and Opal Du Golfe, owned by Ecurie Michel Hecart, for their clear round in 41.91 seconds. Brianne Goutal (USA) and Nice De Prissey, owned by Remarkable Farms LP, finished with four faults in the jump-off in 43.63 seconds to claim Section A’s fourth place prize.

In Section B, Kent Farrington (USA) and Amalaya Investment’s Voyeur finished in second place with a clear round in 41.49 seconds. Scott Brash and his second mount, Whisky Mac IV, finished third with a four-fault round in 38.93 seconds, and Jessica Springsteen (USA) and Stone Hill Farm’s Vornado Van Den Hoendrik placed fourth with eight faults in 42.28 seconds.

Top finisher Silver Spring is a thirteen-year-old KWPN gelding by Larino x Glendale, owned by his rider David McPherson. McPherson explained that, although he has owned the gelding for a few years, Silver Spring has had some time off. “is his first show in well over a year,” the rider stated. “We built up steadily from the 1.40m and then the 1.45m. His worst score in six or seven classes is a rail down. He has jumped wonderfully and today he jumped great.”

“The course builder did a wonderful job today,” McPherson added. “It was a tough track; a really tight time. It was good. My first horse had an amazing round and just ticked the last fence, but that’s life. I’m delighted with this one. He is as brave as a lion and has all of the scope; he is a lovely horse.”

Silver Spring has shown at high levels, even competing in the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) in 2010 with McPherson’s previous student, Oliver Lazarus. McPherson hopes to get the horse back in top form now that he has returned to the show ring.

“He had some great results in the past,” he said. “Billy Bishop is injured, so I’m delighted this one has stepped up. This horse jumped at the WEG, so who knows; maybe it is possible to utilize him in some of the bigger classes.”

Commenting on his round in today’s jump-off, McPherson stated, “It sort of suited me today because it was pretty much galloping. You could use the stride that I have. My little grey horse would have had no chance, but the line across the middle, I could just give gas and it worked in my favor. Scott (and Whisky Mac) did beat me at the time, (but had the rail). He’s deceptively fast always. I can only say luck was on my side for a change. I’ve had so many good rounds that just kind of missed on this tour. I had almost accepted second, but I got lucky.”

David McPherson receives his bonus check from SSG from Jennifer Ward, ringmaster Cliff Haines, and Ed James of SSG Gloves

Scott Brash made it to the jump-off with each of his two mounts in the class, finishing first and third in Section B of the standings. He went fast and clear with Sanctos Van Het Gravenhof to finish at the top and had the time in hand with his second mount, Whisky Mac IV, but had an unfortunate rail at the last fence. The skies opened up as Brash entered the ring for his jump-off round with Whisky Mac, but the rain did not affect his ride.

“I’m from Scotland, so I’m used to it,” Brash laughed. “Obviously it’s a bit of a disadvantage if your horse is uncomfortable with it, but you’ve just got to knuckle in and get on with it, don’t you?”

Brash was pleased with both of his horses in today’s class. His winning mount, Sanctos, is aten-year-old SBS gelding by Quasimodo Vd Molendreef x Nabab De Reve. This was the pair’s first win together.

Scott Brash and Sanctos van het Gravenhof

“He is a new horse for me, I’ve not had him long,” Brash noted. “I’ve just had him since the start of January. The first few weeks I was just getting to know the horse. I changed his bit a few times and juggled about. Hopefully we’re on the right track now. He jumped very, very good today. Hopefully we can go on from here.”

Brash also praised Palacios on his course for the afternoon.  “It was a tough track. All credit to the course builder; he has done a fantastic job,” he stated. “It was tough jumping out there today and I couldn’t be happier with both of my horses.”

$20,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Team Event

There were eight teams that competed in tonight’s event, each with four riders. The winning team was led by Chef d’Equipe Ralph Caristo and consisted of riders from Zone 2: Lillie Keenan, Lydia Ulrich, Charlotte Jacobs, and Gabrielle Bausano. Led by Lillie Keenan’s clutch clear round, they kept their lead from the first round where they had just four faults and posted zero faults in the second round.

Lillie Keenan, Ralph Caristo, Gabrielle Bausano, Carlene Ziegler of Artisan Farms, Guido Klatte, ringmaster Cliff Haines, Charlotte Jacobs, and Lydia Ulrich

Caristo said, “I just want to say one thing to these girls. They came, they conquered, and now they are going home with the blue. Thank you girls.”

Jacobs explained that they chose riders from their zone when choosing a team for tonight’s competition. “We are all zone two, and we sort of stuck with that team,” she said. “We do get to choose the team but it is encouraged that you stick with your zone. Ralph put it together, and loves us to be with each other. It’s a good idea to be with the people that you will be with at Young Riders (NAJYRC).”

Charlotte Jacobs and Promised Land

Keenan, who is from New York, NY, and Vanhattan have been paired for less than a year, and this was Keenan’s very first team competition. In order for her team to win, Keenan had to go clear as the anchor and the last rider in the ring. “Going into the second round I definitely felt the pressure especially because this was my first time on a team,” Keenan admitted. “I have had pressure before, but I really had to block it out this time and he was up to it. Being on a team is really fun. It is nice to have the element of having to rely on each other, but when you win you’re winning for yourself and for other people. It is nice to have other people that you can discuss the course with, you can plan it out, and it’s a great experience.”

Lillie Keenan and Vanhattan

Lydia Ulrich of Rochester, NY, and Santos Utopia were also double clear to help their team to the win. Ulrich purchased Santos Utopia from David Arcand, who rode the talented gelding to second place overall in last year’s young rider series. She noted, “He is just an amazing horse and he makes it easy, so hopefully I will get to do Young Riders this year and just keep going.”

Lydia Ulrich and Santos Utopia

Although Promised Land is 18 years old, he still jumped strongly for Charlotte Jacobs of East Aurora, NY. Jacobs made an error in the first round and felt good that she could return and fix that mistake in the second round. She said, “He is eighteen now and getting up there, but he came out today and did fantastic.  We don’t show him often because he is older, but I made a mistake today and he just kept going; I am really happy with him.

Gabrielle Bausano and Ubico H had an unfortunate elimination in the first round and did not return for the second round. Lillie Keenan said, “She tried so hard and it just wasn’t really her day and the horse didn’t want to play. Seeing the elimination on the board was not a great feeling, but she stuck around and is so supportive. We sat on the sidelines holding hands and she cheered everyone on, so she is such an important member of team.”

Gabrielle Bausano and Ubico H

Second place went to the team of Tatiana Dzavik, Christina Kelly, Caitlin Ziegler, and Daniel Bluman. They posted five faults in the first round and were able to keep that score by having no faults in the second round.

The third place team consisted of Jessica Springsteen, Navona Gallegos, Nayel Nassar, and Alise Oken, who rode Kaid Du Ry to double clear rounds. They had five faults in the first round and eight faults in the second round.

There were four double clear rounds in tonight’s event, including: Liza Finsness and Ormsby Hill, Lydia Ulrich and Santos Utopia, Alise Oken and Kaid Du Ry, and Lillie Keenan and Vanhattan.

showing in the International Arena this morning, Jessica Springsteen and Stone Hill Farm’s Tinsday VDL jumped to victory in the $2,500 High Amateur-Owner Jumper speed class.

Scott Stewart and Tristan Triumph in Sanctuary Green Conformation Hunters

Stewart and his seven-year-old Oldenburg gelding Tristan earned championship honors in the Sanctuary Green Conformation Hunters for week nine. Stewart and Tristan won the model and finished first and third over fences on the division’s first day of competition. After winning both classes over fences on day two, the duo totaled 39 points for the championship.

Scott Stewart and Tristan

Reserve honors went to Erynn Ballard and Well Adjusted, owned by Melissa Ziegler. The pair was fifth in the model, first and second over fences, and fourth under saddle to total 18.5 points.

Stewart purchased his mount Tristan (by Okeanos) as a three-year-old and showed the gelding as a Pre-Green last year, earning multiple championships. In addition to this week’s victory, Tristan was champion during his first week showing at the FTI WEF this year during week two. Tristan has also been showing in the Junior Hunters with Victoria Colvin and has earned top ribbons with her as well.

“He has been really good. He’s really easy and a really good jumper,” Stewart acknowledged. “He has been a little unbroke on the flat and a little wiggly, but he has always been really brave and a great jumper. Since Tori has been doing the juniors with him he has been pretty much straight and good.”

Scott Stewart and Tristan in their winning presentation

Stewart also took home a reserve championship in the Sanctuary First Year Green Working Hunters aboard his own Caldwell, with Ken Berkley and Gina Day’s Prestige earning the division’s top honors.

Stewart and Dr. Betsee Parker’s Inclusive was champion in the Sanctuary Second Year Green Working Hunters with young rider Victoria Colvin in the irons. Come Monday, owned by Davlyn Farms and ridden by Christa Endicott finished in reserve.

Week nine of the FTI WEF will continue tomorrow with a full schedule of hunter and jumper competition. The International Arena will host the $32,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Classic, a FEI ROLEX world ranking competition. The Rost Arena will present championship honors to the Low Adult Hunters Sec. A.

For full results, please visit www.showgroundslive.com.

Final Results: $32,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 9 Section A
1. SILVER SPRING: 1999 KWPN gelding by Larino x Glendale
DAVID MCPHERSON (GBR), David McPherson: 0/0/39.56

2. ARIES: 2001 Oldenburg gelding by Argentinas x Grannus
JEFFERY WELLES (USA), Noel Love Gross: 0/0/40.42

3. OPAL DU GOLFE: 2002 Selle Francais by Elf D’or SF
MARIE HECART (FRA), Ecurie Michel Hecart: 0/0/41.91

4. NICE DE PRISSEY: 2001 Selle Francais stallion by Rosire x Amarpour
BRIANNE GOUTAL (USA), Cloverleaf Farm: 0/4/43.63

5. MERLIN: 2002 Royal Dutch Warmblood gelding by Hors La Loi II x Emilion
JEFFERY WELLES (USA), Noel Love Gross: 0/11/51.04

6. COMBINA: 2001 Dutch Warmblood stallion
KIRSTEN COE (USA), Ilan Ferder: 1/81.80

7. CEONTO: 2001 Holsteiner gelding by Cassini I
KAREN CUDMORE (CAN), Blair Cudmore: 2/85.28

8. AZZARO VAN’T HAGENHOF:  2000 BWP Gelding by Mr. Blue x Lys De Darmen   
LAURA KRAUT (USA), Susan Grange: 4/75.47

9. AMARETTO D’ARCO:  2000 BWP stallion by Darco x Tenor Manciais    
SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Spy Coast Farm LLC: 4/76.41

10. STAR POWER: 2001 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Quick Star
IAN MILLAR (CAN), Team Works: 4/77.18

11. CARLO 273: 2001 Holsteiner gelding by Contender x Cascavelle
NICK SKELTON (GBR), Beverly Widdowson: 4/77.41

12. CABALLITO: 2002 Holsteiner gelding by Contendro x Argentinus
ANDRES RODRIGUEZ (VEN), Arao Enterprises LLC: 4/77.71

Final Results: $32,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 9 Section B
1. SANCTOS VAN HET GRAVENHOF: 2002 SBS gelding by Quasimodo Vd Molendreef x Nabab De Reve
SCOTT BRASH (GBR), Lady Harris And Lady Kirkham: 0/0/39.74

2. VOYEUR: 2002 KWPN gelding by Tolano Van’t Riethof x Goodwill
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Amalaya Investments: 0/0/41.49

3. WHISKY MAC IV: 2003 Scottish Sporthorse gelding by Emilion x Burggraff
SCOTT BRASH (GBR), Mr. Stanley Brash: 0/4/38.93

4. VORNADO VAN DEN HOENDRIK:  1998 BWP gelding by Darco x Ramiro   
JESSICA SPRINGSTEEN (USA), Stone Hill Farm: 0/8/42.28

5. GIOVANNI 151: 1999 Hanoverian stallion by Graf Grannus x Graf Remus
DAVID WILL (GER), Paul Schockemohle: 0/Elim.

6. TRIPPLE-X III:  2002 Anglo European stallion by Namelus R x Cantango
BEN MAHER (GBR), Ben Maher: 1/82.06

7. OCEANE DE NANTUEL: 2002 SFA mare by Diamant de Semilly x Quidam de Revel
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Ecurie Michel Hecart: 4/75.16

8. TEIRRA: 2000 KWPN mare by Tolano Van Het Riethof x Aldatus
LAURA KRAUT (USA), Stars & Stripes: 4/75.53

9. ROYCE:  2004 Oldenburg stallion by Café au lait x Grandilot
MARGIE ENGLE (USA), Elm Rock LLC: 4/76.53

10. AVENIR: 2000 BWP gelding by Phin Phin x Flamingo
CHRISTINE MCCREA (USA), Candy Tribble: 4/77.41

11. CASSIATO: 1998 Holsteiner gelding by Concerto II x Landgraf I

HARLEY BROWN (AUS), Oak Park Group, LLC: 4/77.57

12. BOGEGARDENS APOLLO: 1998 Holsteiner stallion by Acord II x Ronald
EMILIE MARTINSEN (DEN), Emilie Martinsen: 4/77.83

Final Results: $20,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Series Team Event

1. Team E: 4+0=4
Charlotte Jacobs/Promised Land: 4/0
Lydia Ulrich/Santos Utopia: 0/0
Gabrielle Bausano/Ubico H: elim/WD
Lillie Keenan/Vanhattan: 0/0

2. Team H: 5+0=5
Tatiana Dzavik/Catwalk 19: 0/8
Christina Kelly/HH Narcos du Marais: 8/0
Caitlin Ziegler/Valencia: 1/
Daniel Bluman/Fatalis Fatum: 4/0

3. Team F: 5+8=13
Jessica Springsteen/Temmie: 4/4
Alise Oken/Kaid du Ry: 0/0
Navona Gallegos/No Fear: 4+2/
Nayel Nassar/Lordan: 1/8

4. Team D: 12+4=16
Chase Boggio/Henessey: 4/0
Liza Finsness/Ormsby Hill: 0/0
Samantha Senft/Early Morning: 8/4
Abigail McArdle/Bravoman: 8/16

4. Team G: 16+0=16
Kaely Tomeu/Belle Bleu S: 8/0
Chloe Reid/Toulon: 8/4
Lisa Kent/Olympic Lad: 4/0
Kaitlin Campbell/Rocky W: 4/0

6. Team B: 21+6=27
Meagan Nusz/Why Not: 1/elim
Mavis Spencer/Valentino: 12+3/1
Wilton Porter/Patriot: 8/4
Jordan MacPherson/Piccobello du val de Geer: 12/1

7. Team A: 37+11=48
Nicole Bellissimo/Hotspur 23: 20+19/3
Adrienne Sternlicht/Oreade des Dames: 12+1/4
Kelsey Calabro/Home James: 16/4
Mattias Tromp/Vosqinus: 8/4

8. Team C: 24+26=50
Luis Fernando Larrazabal/Sacramento: 4/4
Martin Guerra/Stakkaro: 20+2/4+2
Emanuel Andrade/Oxford: 16/16
Kristen Vanderveen/Bull Run’s Alpha & Omega: 4/ret

Photo Credit: Photos © Sportfot, Official Sport Photographer of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, www.us.sportfot.com. This photo may be used only in relation to this press release and must include photo credit.