Thursday’s feature class at the CP Palm Beach Masters Winter Classic CSI4*-W presented by Suncast, yielded an international podium with Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs taking the top prize on Cristo in the FEI $35,700 CP Welcome Stake. Daniel Coyle of Ireland was second on Quintin and Daniel Bluman of Israel was third on Entano.
This was the first time in Florida and at Deeridge Farms for Fuchs and the individual Silver Medalist from the 2018 World Equestrian Games nearly made a rookie mistake. “I walked it as a two-phase class, but when Daniel was going I realized it was a normal speed class. Normally that doesn’t happen to me because I am usually quite on it, but somehow, I missed that part. So, it was good for me to see a few riders go,” said Fuchs. “I have a very fast and careful horse so I knew I wouldn’t have to do something crazy to beat them, so I just tried to do the same round as they had done trusting in the speed of my horse to be a little faster at the end.”
The rain held off which made the class exciting as the 67 starters sped around the Alan Wade-designed course yielding 13 quick clear rounds, although second place finisher Coyle found it intimidating for his young horse Quintin. “This is my horse’s first time here. As a nine-year-old he’s a little green, but I’m hoping he’s good and then we’ll do the World Cup class on Sunday,” said Coyle who is the defending champion in Sunday’s $208,200 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Wellington. “I love it here and have always had good results. I can’t complain about anything. I will keep coming back.”
Bluman will keep coming back as well. “When you are riding in a venue like this where the footing is good and the jumps are as nice as this and you have a great course designer, the horse gets better every time he jumps. This is the perfect venue to come and jump as much as you can.”
Earlier in the day, Cormac Hanley won the $5,000 Platinum Championship Tour 1.40m power and speed class on Copain Z. The Irish entry was the fastest of the 18 clear rounds in the field of 43 starters, finishing in a time of 28.046 seconds. Hanley edged out Andy Kocher (USA) and La Luciole, who were just a fraction of a second behind, with a clear round time of 28.530 seconds. Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa finished third on Farrero in 30.593 seconds. Hanley’s strategy was to be competitive, but to also save the 13-year-old gelding for the grand prix on Saturday.
“My horse is naturally fast. He’s a very good speed horse, it’s his forte,” said Hanley. “I’m gearing him up for the $25,000 Grand Prix on Saturday. The deal was to do this class, try and have a nice smooth round that was quick enough and it was enough to win today. I’m excited to be here.”
Competition continues on Friday with the $71,200 Suncast® Palm Beach Masters Qualifier which determines the field for Sunday’s culminating event, the $208,200 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Wellington.