Wellington, FL, March 17, 2013- Whether it was the luck of the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day or just natural skill and talent, the Irish riders were on a roll on the final day of competition for week ten of the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF), sponsored by Horseware Ireland. Richie Moloney and Equinimity LLC’s Slieveanorra jumped to victory in the $33,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic to conclude the week’s jumper competition. In the Autism Speaks Children’s Large Pony Hunters, Ned Cunniffe and Cherrybrook Blue Suede Shoes were victorious.

Showing at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) on Sunday afternoon, 31 entries showed in the 1.50m class over a course set by Germany’s Olaf Peterson, Jr. Eight competitors were able to clear the first round course without fault and seven went double clear in the jump-off. It was the Irish horse/Irish rider combination of Richie Moloney and Slieveanorra that completed the fastest clear round in 32.91 seconds for the win. The pair was honored additionally with the Champion Equine Insurance Jumper Style Award for week ten presented by Laura Whitlow.

Richie Moloney and Slieveanorra
Richie Moloney and Slieveanorra. Photo © Sportfot.

Winner, Slieveanorra, is an eleven-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding by Voltaire x Flagmount Diamond. Moloney had some great results with the horse last year, including a grand prix win and second place finish in Kentucky and a fourth place finish in a World Cup qualifier in Toronto. Moloney admits that Slieveanorra has been off to a slow start this year, but hopes that he is just getting going and gearing up for the last two weeks of the circuit. Sunday’s win was a good one for both horse and rider.

“The first round he was being very careful,” Moloney noted. “When he is on form, he normally doesn’t want to knock the jumps down, so he was definitely on form today.”

Brazil’s Carlos Ribas and Ronaldo, owned by Ribas and Roberto Villa Real Jr., finished second with a time of 34.39 seconds. USA’s Karen Polle and With Wings were third in 35.38 seconds.

Commenting on his speedy round in the jump-off, Moloney explained, “I think I actually did one more stride between the second two jumps in the jump-off than other people, but he is naturally very quick, even over the jumps. He doesn’t waste any time; he is always going.”

The rider described Slievanorra further, stating, “He is kind of a sensitive horse. You have to take your time with him to do everything. Even to get up on him you have to just take a minute and pet him. My brother used to own him before my sponsors bought him, so I have known him for a long time and we have a good relationship. He is a good horse. He is a real winner when he is on form.”

Richie Moloney and Slieveanorra
Richie Moloney and Slieveanorra in their winning presentation with Tom and Jeannie Tisbo and Diana Mercer for Suncast and ringmaster Cliff Haines. Photo © Sportfot.

Final Results: $33,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic

1. SLIEVEANORRA: 2002 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Voltaire x Flagmount Diamond
RICHIE MOLONEY (IRL), Equinimity LLC: 0/0/32.91

2. RONALDO: 1998 KWPN gelding by Ahorn x Stuyvesant
CARLOS RIBAS (BRA), Roberto Villa Real Jr. & Carlos Ribas: 0/0/34.39

3. WITH WINGS:  2003 KWPN gelding by Larino x L. Ronald
KAREN POLLE (USA), Karen Polle: 0/0/35.38

4. VALDATO: 2002 KWPN gelding by Emilion x Caretino
BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Trelawny Farm, LLC: 0/0/35.55

5. WAOMI: 2003 KWPN mare by Lupicor x Boreas
MEAGAN NUSZ (USA), Amalaya Investments: 0/0/36.00

6. LITTLE TINKA: 1998 AES gelding by Tinka’s Boy x Fiorello
HOLGER HETZEL (GER), Holger Hetzel: 0/0/36.43

7. WHITNEY: 2003 KWPN mare by Oklund x Iroko
TIFFANY FOSTER (CAN), Artisan Farms LLC: 0/0/36.65

8. VORNADO VAN DEN HOENDRIK:  1998 BWP gelding by Darco x Ramiro   
JESSICA SPRINGSTEEN (USA), Stone Hill Farm: 0/4/34.88

9. RIVA: 2004 Canadian Warmblood mare by Rio Grande
JAY HAYES (CAN), Summerhill Farm & North Ridge: 1/79.25

10. QUIET EASY 4: 2004 Oldenburg gelding by Quidams Rubin x Zapateado
BEN MAHER (GBR), Mrs. Phillips: 4/70.92

11. ROUNDTHORN MADIOS: 2002 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Condios x Clover Hill
LAUREN TISBO (USA), Tequestrian Farms, LLC: 4/73.26

12. CAPALL ZIDANE: 2004 KWPN gelding by Concorde x Baloubet du Rouet
RONAN MCGUIGAN (IRL), Ronan McGuigan: 4/73.61

Cherrybrook Blue Suede Shoes and Ned Cunniffe Have the Luck of the Irish in Autism Speaks Children’s Large Pony Hunter

Ned Cunniffe piloted Cherrybrook Blue Suede Shoes to a St. Patrick’s Day victory in the Autism Speaks Children’s Large Pony Hunter during week ten of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF). Paulexi, LLC’s “Suede,” a seventeen-year-old Welsh Pony/Thoroughbred cross, was fourth under saddle and second in two over fences classes with Cunniffe in the irons.

Reserve championship honors went to Chatsworth, owned by Victoria Press and ridden by Emma Kurtz. Kurtz rode Chatsworth to first, seventh, and fourth over fences.

Ned Cunniffe and Cherrybrook Blue Suede Shoes
Ned Cunniffe and Cherrybrook Blue Suede Shoes. Photo © Anne Gittins Photography.

Cunniffe, whose father is from Ireland, was especially excited to win on St. Patrick’s Day. “It feels really good to get champion. I’m really happy and proud of myself,” Cunniffe said, sporting a grin from ear to ear as he collected his prizes.

In addition to his ribbons, Cunniffe and Suede were awarded a trophy by division sponsor Autism Speaks and an official FTI WEF championship cooler courtesy of Horseware Ireland.

Cunniffe’s affection for Suede was evident as he described his trusted partner of the last two years. “He doesn’t get mad at me if I do something wrong. He won’t come out of the ring unhappy—he always forgives me,” Cunniffe commented.

“He’s pretty easy to jump. He can always make every jump better. Even if it’s chippy, he can still make it look good. I know I can always depend on him, too. He would never stop at a jump,” Cunniffe continued.

Cunniffe enjoys having a pony on the larger end of the scale (Suede measures right at 14.2hh) that still has some extra pep. “When he’s fresh, he’s a lot of fun to ride. He’s always excited to go in the ring. I also like that he’s bigger and he has a big step. He’s a really good pony and I have a lot of fun riding him,” eleven-year-old Cunniffe described.

The duo has competed at shows up and down the East Coast, including the Lake Placid Horse Show, Hampton Classic, and annual trips to Wellington for the FTI WEF.

“I’ve been coming to Florida for a long time, ever since I was born. I like being with my friends. I have a lot of friends in Florida and I like getting to see them when we got to shows together,” Cunniffe smiled.

Cunniffe will return home to South Salem, NY, at the end of the FTI WEF and looks forward to continuing their show season together. Their championship concluded hunter competition for week ten of the FTI WEF, sponsored by Horseware Ireland. Week eleven, sponsored by Artisan Farms, will run March 20-24, 2013 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). For full results, please visit www.showgroundslive.com.
Photo Credit: Photos © Sportfot, An Official Photographer of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival, us.sportfot.com, and Anne Gittins Photography, An Official Photographer of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival, www.annegittins.com. These photos may be used only in relation to this press release and must include photo credit.