Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 2, 2018 – Athletes returned to Deeridge Farms for the second day of competition at the 2018 CP Palm Beach Masters. In the $35,000 Sovaro Palm Beach Masters Qualifier CSI3*-W, 55 riders contested Alan Wade’s demanding track, of which close to 90% acquired faults. At the end of the day, London Olympic gold medalist Ben Maher of Great Britain emerged victorious, going double-clear aboard his own and Jane Forbes Clark’s Tic Tac.
The 16-effort test was unable to find a clear first round until one-third of the way in when USA’s 24-year-old Adrienne Sternlicht entered the ring aboard Starlight Farms LLC’s Cristalline. A jump-off was not guaranteed until the halfway point when Sternlicht’s trainer, McLain Ward, completed a clear round, but a rail in round two moved him to finish in fifth place. In the end, six riders were able to achieve a faultless first round with Jessica Springsteen electing to save her mount, RMF Swinny du Parc, settling for sixth place and making it a five horse jump-off.
Sternlicht and Cristalline returned first for the jump-off and set the pace with a fault-free round in 34.51 seconds, but two other riders were able to improve on their time and the pair finished in third place. The young talent aso rode the 9-year-old Bavarian Warmblood mare to a top three finish just last week at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in the $132,000 Adequan Grand Prix CSI3*.
Lauren Tisbo (USA) and Tequestrian Farms, LLC’s Coriandolo di Ribano were the first to improve upon Sternlicht’s time as they rode to a clear round in 34.43 seconds to take the lead. The pair just missed sharing the championship photo opportunity with Tisbo’s parents, Tim and Jeannie, of the class’s presenting sponsor, Sovaro, as one final rider was able to surpass their jump-off time. Tisbo finished the day in second place with the 10-year-old stallion, whom she also rode to second place in the $250,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Lexington CSI4*-W at the 2017 CP National Horse Show.
Maher was last to enter the ring for the final round, improving on all of his preceding competitors, riding his 14-year-old Rio Olympic mount to the fastest time of 33.71 seconds to capture the win. Although Tic Tac has not been in the show ring since the National Horse Show at the end of October, he returned in perfect form. The duo will challenge the weekend’s highlight event, the $220,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Wellington CSI3*-W, on Sunday, Feb. 4, beginning at 1 p.m.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Ben Maher – $35,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Qualifier CSI3*-W winner
On his jump-off plan:
“I had my plan [before I saw Adrienne and Lauren go]. Tic Tac is the type of horse that it’s better to stick to the plan; if I try and go too quick then problems start to come. It has been a lean time for me over the last year or so. I haven’t been in this position very often. The guys around me are telling me I’m getting too old. Seeing these two young girls ahead of me, I had to set them straight. Everything went right for me today.”
On where he thinks he won in the jump-off:
“Sometimes jump-offs just go right. I had a very sharp angle [back to the second to last] and I actually did see Adrienne to the last line so I was able to bend the eight stride to the last jump and was able to continue quickly to the finish. Tic Tac is naturally a fast horse. I was watching Adrienne’s horse and he jumps a little higher than mine, so they probably wasted a little time in the air – a nice problem to have. Tic Tac is a quick horse and he covers the ground.”
On Tic Tac’s recent training plan:
“Tic Tac kind of goes his own way and his own style. When he came to me from Leslie Howard he had to go very quick and very fast to build for the team for Rio [Olympics]. He is [almost] fifteen, so I think we have to protect him a little bit now. He only jumped one small round a week ago and then straight into this class today. He hadn’t been in the ring since the end of October. I think we need to keep him fresh for the right arenas. This type of venue suits Tic Tac – it’s an incredible venue and the Jacob’s family do a great job to help the sport. We have many arenas like this in Europe and I think it’s a breath of fresh air to come here and for the horses as well.”
On his plan for Tic Tac:
“I only have the one horse this week, so we will jump the World Cup on Sunday. He may jump the grand prix the week of the Nations Cup over at WEF and then that will be it for him until the summer. Then we will do some Nations Cup and Global Champions Tour this summer. We will use him sparingly though and probably focus on some younger horses.”
Lauren Tisbo – second place
On her riding style and techniques:
“I guess that’s just the way I ride [with a forward seat]. I actually ride this horse in a jockey exercise saddle. When I got him he bucked a lot and I don’t know if that was a problem with his back or not, but a lot of his antics have calmed down in this saddle and he jumps well in it so I stick with that. I use a jockey saddle on most of my horses. It’s not something that I try to do, I have regular saddles too. But especially with younger horses whose bodies are still developing, sometimes it’s a much easier way to ride them and manage their growth. I find it to be a great tool because you can tell if they are not moving the same a little easier.”
Adrienne Sternlicht – third place
On her jump-off plan:
“I probably would have tried to ride in a smoother track [if I could do anything different]. In the last line I was surprised that the eight showed up as easily as it did. But besides that, probably not. I’m really happy with my horse.”
On trainer, McLain Ward’s advice to her:
“I have learned that regardless of the situation, McLain is always going to try to beat me. With that being said, what I am most focused on right now is working on the smoothness of my jump-offs. Last week I was quite quick, but not very tidy so I tried to think about those two things today and that’s what McLain told me. So last week, in the grand prix, I jumped the hedge and my adrenaline was going so much that I went a little wide and fast on my turns so today I focused on trying not to break up the canter and just stay neat and tidy. [McLain] is a mentor for me in all facets of my life.”
Her feelings on her recent success:
“I think I’ve been putting a lot of effort in the way that I handle the sport and that’s what I’m most proud of. I took the month of December off. I work at a nonprofit in New York. I just tried to refocus myself and re-center and so far, so good. I feel really lucky to have the horses that I do. I’m just trying to take it day-by-day because this sport comes in waves. I’m really lucky and happy right now.”
$35,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Qualifier CSI3*-W
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Faults | Time
1. Tic Tac / Ben Maher / 0 | 78.37 / 0 | 33.71
2. Coriandolo di Ribano / Lauren Tisbo / USA / 0 | 76.99 / 0 | 34.43
3. Cristalline / Adrienne Sternlicht / USA / 0 | 78.55 / 0 | 34.51
4. Casall / Ali Wolff / USA / 0 | 76.51 / 0 | 35.54
5. HH Callas / McLain Ward / USA / 0 | 76.07 / 4 | 37.52
6. RMF Swinny du Parc / Jessica Springsteen / USA / 0 | 75.61 / NS
7. H & M Ikker / Olivier Philippaerts / BEL / 1 | 79.13
8. Catoki’s Son Z / Erynn Ballard / 1 | 81.63
9. Fibonacci / Lillie Keenan / USA / 1 | 82.15
10. Donna Speciale / Leslie Burr-Howard / USA / 4 | 74.86
11. Lizziemary / Danielle Goldstein / ISR / 4 | 75.36
11. Clear Water / Marilyn Little / USA / 4 | 75.36
For full results, please click here.