Wellington, FL – February 26 2014 – The 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) kicked off its week of CSIO competition on Wednesday with a $5,000 Welcome Stake, held as two classes, with afternoon and evening sessions. The day session saw a win for Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam aboard Solerina. The night session was won by Chile’s Samuel Parot and Al Calypso.

FTI WEF week eight, sponsored by G&C Farm, runs February 26-March 2, 2014, featuring CSIO 4* show jumping and a full schedule of ‘AA’ hunter and equitation events. The week will highlight the $75,000 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™, presented by G&C Farm, on Friday, February 28. There are Hollow Creek Farm classes for Children’s, Juniors and Young Riders throughout the week as well as three separate FEI Nations’ Cup team events on Saturday, March 1. Many other exciting jumper classes will be featured throughout the week.

Thursday hosts the $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 8, and Friday will feature a $10,000 G&C Farm Speed Stake. The $34,000 G&C Farm 1.45m and $25,000 Nutrena Jumper Classic will be held on Saturday. The week will conclude on Sunday with a $25,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic as well as the $150,000 CSIO 4* Grand Prix, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty.

Steve Stephens (USA) is the course designer in the International Arena for week eight competition. In the $5,000 Welcome Stake day session, Stephens saw 51 entries over his speed track with 11 clear rounds. Shane Sweetnam and his speedy mount Solerina, owned by Sweet Oak and Spy Coast Farms, completed the fastest time of the class in 63.54 seconds for the win.

Shane Sweetnam and Solerina

Shane Sweetnam and Solerina

Mexico’s Eugenio Garza finished second with El Milagro’s Providence 3 in 65.88 seconds. Ireland’s Kevin Babington and Shorapur placed third in 70.13 seconds, and USA’s Christine McCrea and Candy Tribble’s Romantovich Take One finished fourth in 70.92 seconds.

“She jumped good,” Sweetnam said of his winning round. “She is naturally quick. I didn’t really go full speed with her, I just did all of the turns. She is good at turns, and I think that was the difference.”

“A lot of people are just schooling for the week,” Sweetnam noted. “It’s not a big money class, but it’s still the opening class of CSIO week, so I knew if I could do my turns then I would be up there. That is what I planned to do, and that is what I did.”

Shane Sweetnam in his winning presentation with ringmaster Gustavo Murcia

Shane Sweetnam in his winning presentation with ringmaster Gustavo Murcia

Solerina, a 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare by Cruising x Diamond Lad, is a fiery little chestnut, but Sweetnam explained that he has figured out how to work with her personality.

“She is still high maintenance, but I have gotten to know her and she has gotten to know me and I know her quirks now,” he detailed. “She is very funny about the (jumbotron) TV screen, that is her big thing. She has matured about it, but she is still kind of nervous about it. Today in the practice ring she was nervous; you could tell that she was nervous. She’s a much better horse when there is no TV.”

To help with Solerina’s nerves about the jumbotron, the mare has a TV screen that she watches in her stall at horse shows.

“It helps a little, but I’m not sure how much,” Sweetnam admitted. “She’s not as dramatic about it as she was before, but as soon as she sees a big TV it is still a factor. At shows she always has a TV in her stall. Spruce Meadows is what she’s watching at the moment. It used to be some cowboy guy before. I better get the WEF video, maybe that will work better.”

Solerina will show in tomorrow’s $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup class and again on Saturday. Sweetnam’s mount Eregast van’t Kiezelhof will step up to do the bigger classes this week.

Continuing the day, forty-four entries showed in the night session of Wednesday’s $5,000 Welcome Stake. The class saw just three clear rounds around the course with the fastest time of 65.75 seconds for Chile’s Samuel Parot and Al Calypso.

Germany’s David Will finished second aboard Sevil Sabanci’s Con Chilli in 70.02 seconds. Also from Chile, Carlos Milthaler and Santana Stables LLC’s Player de Brocelia finished third in 70.17 seconds.

Samuel Parot and Al Calypso

Samuel Parot and Al Calypso

Samuel Parot has had a great partnership with Al Calypso, his 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Askari x Calypso II. The pair has traveled the world together, competing on the Chilean teams at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara and the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Parot briefly sold the horse to teammate Jorge Matte, but got him back two weeks ago and now plans to keep him. After his win, Parot spoke about the horse and his style and personality.

“He likes you to ride very soft and comfortable,” Parot noted. “If you make too much pressure, he gets very strong and he is not happy. If you ride soft, he is happy. He is very sensitive.”

“He is very expressive,” the rider added. “It is unbelievable. He knows you. He is very smart, and we know each other well. You go to the barn and walk down the middle and he will come to you. He is a top horse.”

Parot got to see Carlos Milthaler set the pace with the first clear round of the night and knew where he could be faster.

“I saw my partner from Chile go, and he went very fast. I made one turn that he did not make before the water, and I think that is where I made the time better,” Parot explained, adding that he had the advantage of a very seasoned horse. “He has no problem under the lights. He was perfect; he has the experience.”

Al Calypso will show again in tomorrow’s $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 8 and will then compete in Sunday’s $150,000 CSI 4* Grand Prix, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty.

Samuel Parot and Al Calypso in their winning presentation with ringmaster Gustavo Murcia

Samuel Parot and Al Calypso in their winning presentation with ringmaster Gustavo Murcia

Parot, who has been competing in Wellington for 14 years and has been at the FTI WEF every year since 2008, is excited to be a part of Chile’s team for Friday night’s $75,000 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™, presented by G&C Farm. This is the first time that the country has had a team for this class in Wellington. Parot will ride alongside teammates Carlos Milthaler and Jorge Matte showing his horse William Wallace.

“This is the first time (and) we will have only three riders, but it is a nice experience here,” Parot stated. “It is very difficult competition. The competition at this show is one of the most important in the world, and it is good for Chile to come here. Chile is very far south, and it is not easy to come here with the horses.”

Competition began on Wednesday with an $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m speed class with a win for Laura Chapot (USA) aboard Mary Chapot’s ISHD Dual Star. The Hollow Creek Farm Children’s, Junior and Young Rider Welcome speed classes followed. The $1,500 Hollow Creek Farm Young Rider Welcome class was first to go with a win for Manuel Fernandez Hache (DOM) riding Maribel H, owned by Aristides Fernandez Zucco. The $1,000 Hollow Creek Farm Junior Welcome class was held next with a win for Emanuel Andrade (VEN) riding AD Vangleys, owned by Flavio Bernandes. Constanza Romer (VEN) then jumped to victory in the Hollow Creek Farm Children’s Welcome class aboard Frederick Romer’s SF Hechicero.

Week eight will continue on Thursday with the $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 8 in the International Arena. The Hollow Creek Farm Children’s, Junior, and Young Riders will also compete in their jump-off Classics for the week. For full results, go to www.showgroundslive.com.

Final Results: $5,000 CSIO Welcome Stake – Day Session

1. SOLERINA: 1999 Irish Sport Horse mare by Cruising x Diamond Lad
SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Sweet Oak & Spy Coast Farms: 0/63.54

2. PROVIDENCE 3: 2005 Hanoverian stallion by Provider x Rabino
EUGENIO GARZA (MEX), El Milagro: 0/65.88

3. SHORAPUR: 2005 Hanoverian mare by Stakkato Gold x Drosselklang II
KEVIN BABINGTON (IRL), Shorapur LLC: 0/70.13

4. ROMANTOVICH TAKE ONE: 2000 KWPN gelding by Numero Uno x Karandasj
CHRISTINE MCCREA (USA), Candy Tribble: 0/70.92

5. EVERY WAY: 2004 Belgian Warmblood mare by Upsilon van de Heffinck x Beach Boy
LAUREN HOUGH (USA), Belle Grey Farm: 0/72.48

6. WAOMI: 2003 KWPN mare by Lupicor x Boreas
MEAGAN NUSZ (USA), Amalaya Investments: 0/72.88

7. ADLANTEUR: 2000 Hanoverian stallion by Adlantus As x Chasseur I
HENRIK GUNDERSEN (DEN), Henrik Gundersen: 0/74.00

8. DARCON SCHEEFKASTEEL Z: 2005 Zangersheide gelding by Darco x Contender
LAUREN TISBO (USA), Tequestrian Farms LLC: 0/74.42

9. SI BELLA: 2006 Selle Francais mare by Diamant de Semilly x Digne Espoir
ADAM PRUDENT (FRA), Henri Prudent: 0/74.46

10. BOKAI: 2006 gelding by Up to Date x Ferro
VICTORIA GUILLKSEN (NOR), Stall Guillik: 0/74.61

11. CALVANO VH HARTEVELD Z: 2005 Zangersheide stallion by Calvaro Z x Nabab de Reve
CARLOS MILTHALER (CHI), Santana Stables LLC: 0/74.66

12. WIRMA: 2003 KWPN mare by Hors La Loi III x Lux
BRIANNE GOUTAL (USA), Remarkable Farms LP: 2/80.31

Final Results: $5,000 CSIO Welcome Stake – Evening Session

1. AL CALYPSO: 2002 Hanoverian gelding by Askari x Calypso II
SAMUEL PAROT (CHI), Samuel Parot: 0/65.75

2. CON CHILLI: 2005 Holsteiner mare by Con Air x Heraldik xx
DAVID WILL (GER), Sevil Sabanci: 0/70.02

3. PLAYER DE BROCELIA: 2003 Selle Francais gelding by Dollar Dela Pierre x Le Plantero
CARLOS MILTHALER (CHI), Santana Stables, LLC: 0/70.17

4. COLASKO: 2005 Oldenburg stallion by Coleman x Granus
NICOLAS PIZARRO (MEX), Monica Burillo Eguia Lis & Nicolas Pizarro: 3/80.29

5. ANEMONE’S VICKY: 2002 KPWN mare by Krunch de Breve x Animo
HECTOR FLORENTINO (DOM), Stransky’s Mission Farms, Inc: 4/66.67

6. TIZIMIN LA SILLA: 2006 La Silla gelding by Tlaloc La Silla x Polydor
SANTIAGO DIAZ (COL), Santiago Diaz: 4/69.70

7. OSIRIS: 1996 KWPN gelding by Polydox x Lucky Boy
GEMMA PATERNOSTER (GBR), Gemma Paternoster & Julia Harrison Lee: 4/85.16

8. WATCH ME: 2003 KWPN
GRANT WILSON (NZL), Emmanuelle Mille: 5/88.76

9. QUINTOL: 2005 Oldenburg gelding by Quintender x Cento
EDUARDO MENEZES (BRA), Sarha Hank: 5/88.99

10. QUIDAM’S CHERIE: 2005 Oldenburg mare by Quidam’s Rubin x Lifestyle
CIAN O’CONNOR (IRL), Adena Springs: 5/89.18

11. WOKLAHOMA: 2003 KWPN mare by Sheraton x Calvados
ROBERTO TERAN, JR. (COL), Ark Partners LLC: 5/89.23

12. ZOVIDIUS R: 2004 KWPN gelding by Oviidius x Nabour
VICTORIA GUILLKSEN (NOR), Stall Guillik: 6/76.81

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