Wellington, Florida (February 14, 2016) – In one of its busiest shows yet this season, week 5 of The Ridge at Wellington’s Turf Tour series combined world-class competition and ideal weather as Olympians, amateurs, juniors, and young horses vied for top honors on Wednesday and Friday, February 10 and 12, 2016.
Irish riders rode to top finishes across the major divisions, including the Grand Prix and 1.30-1.35M divisions, as Darragh Kenny, Cian O’Connor, and Conor Swail dominated the standings to make it a true Irish sweep.
With a backdrop of the verdant polo fields of the International Polo Club, the fast and accurate pair of Conor Swail and Fortus Fortuna, owned by Susan and Ariel Grange, delivered the winning ride in the $15,000 Grand Prix on Friday, over a course designed by Nick Granat. His double clear effort was contested by only a handful others, while his jump off time of 36.078 proved unbeatable in the course of the day.
Another Irish native and 2012 Olympic Bronze Medalist, Cian O’Connor, took reserve honors with a final jump off time of 38.161 aboard his own Enriques of the Lowlands. O’Connor also took fourth place with Duke of Carnival behind two-time U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist McLain Ward and HH Ashley.
2000 Olympic Silver Medalist Beat Mandli of Switzerland settled into fifth with Grant Road Partners’ Celina, followed by 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist Ben Maher and Jane Forbes Clark’s Aristo Z in 6th, Stephen Moore and Teddy Vlock’s Team de Couquerie in 7th, and Cathrine Dinan aboard Grant Road Partner’s Galan S in 8th. Maher, who has competed on the Turf Tour for the past three weeks, has made use of the venues and divisions to prepare the experienced Aristo Z for bigger classes later in the season.
“We had a holiday towards the end of last year, and have been using a few classes here to build him up for the bigger Grand Prix next week,” stated Maher. “[The Turf Tour] is great, a nice change from what is on offer, with a relaxed environment and excellent venues. It’s been great for me so far this year.”
To round out the Irish dominance during week 6, Darragh Kenny and Gatsby, owned by Toffolon Partners, LLC, won both of the 1.30-1.35M classes, with Beth Underhill aboard Cadermie and Edward Levy aboard Starlette de la Roque taking the reserve in each class.
Granat’s designs in the Grand Prix and 1.30-1.35M made excellent use of the expansive turf course, and was intended to present a challenge that relied upon the use of strong basics and tactful riding to adjust between the first round and jump off.
Thanks to the generosity of the Turf Tour’s newest sponsor, Bright’s Creek, the winner of Friday’s Junior/Amateur Owner Classic and Grand Prix will receive a 3-day, 2-night trip to their beautiful destination in the mountains of North Carolina. From equestrian activities and fine dining to luxury accommodations and an exclusive BMW Off Road Excursion through 7.2 miles of wilderness trails, hardwood forests, and ancient rock formations, the Turf Tour’s competition now have even more reason to put their best foot forward as Bright Creek will be sponsoring the Grand Prix and Junior/Amateur Owner Classic through the rest of the season. For more information visit the Bright’s Creek website.
In addition to the Grand Prix and 1.30-1.35M divisions, the second arena featured Low, Medium, and High Schooling Jumpers, 5-, 6-, and 7-Year-Old Jumper classes and qualifiers, a Junior/Adult Amateur Classic, and Speed/Jump Off classes. Intended to act as a catalyst for the growth and development of horses and riders, the Turf Tour combines breathtaking venues with amenities as world class as the riders to consistently draw some of the top competitors in Wellington.
Week Seven of the Turf Tour will again take place on the beautiful grounds of the International Polo Club on Wednesday and Friday, February 17 and 19, 2016.
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