Wellington, Fla. – Jan. 31, 2018 – This year marks the fourth year that the Jacobs family has opened the doors of their private facility to international competitors. The opening day of the CP Palm Beach Masters CSI4*-W saw 68 horse-and-rider combinations on the grass field at Deeridge Farm for the $35,7000 CP Welcome Stake CSI4*, presented by Suncast. Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs riding Cristo that ultimately rode away with first place honors to commemorate his first time competing at the Palm Beach Masters.
Course designer Alan Wade also returned to the Palm Beach Masters for his fourth consecutive year, challenging Thursday’s competitors over a 15-effort speed course with an 81-second time allowed. The ninth horse and rider pair to tackle the course, Great Britain’s Ben Maher and Poden Farms’ Concona, took the early lead. Maher and the 9-year-old Oldenburg mare emerged as the first pair to put down a clear round, just under the time allowed in 79.58 seconds.
Maher’s lead was quickly taken over by reigning Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Wellington winner, Daniel Coyle of Ireland, with Quintin, owned by Ariel Grange. The pair shaved seven seconds off of Maher’s time, finishing in 72.34 seconds. Shortly after Coyle, Daniel Bluman (ISR) and Entano, co-owned by Bluman, Alberto Simhon, Javier Salvador and Alexa Schwitzer, would attempt to take over first. The pair fell just short of the lead to set themselves in the second position with a time of 72.80 seconds.
Coyle would remain in first place for the majority of the class until only 18 competitors remained. Fuchs and Cristo, owned by Jacques Bodenmüller and Pierre Bodenmüller, were quick and careful across the grass to take over first with a 71.37-second finish. Those that followed Fuchs could not match his impressive time, and overall the course saw only 13 horse-and-rider combinations complete clear rounds. Fuchs, 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ individual silver medalist, ultimately secured first place honors, with Coyle and Quintin receiving second. Bluman and Entano would ultimately round out the top three.
Competition at the Palm Beach Masters resumes Friday, Feb. 1 and will feature the $71,200 Palm Beach Masters Qualifier CSI4*-W at 1:30 p.m. The highlight event of the weekend, the $208,000 FEI Jumping World Cup™ Wellington CSI4*-W, will take place Sunday, Feb. 3 at 1:00 p.m.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Martin Fuchs – $35,7000 CP Welcome Stake winner
On his plan:
“Actually, I walked it as a two-phase class and then while Daniel was going I realized it’s a normal speed class which normally doesn’t happen to me because I am on it, but somehow I missed that part. So it was good for me, obviously, to see a few riders. I saw all of them going before me. I have a very fast and careful horse so I knew I wouldn’t have to do something crazy to beat them and I just tried to do the same round as they had and just trusting in the speed of my horse to be a little faster in the end.”
On the Palm Beach Masters:
“It’s a beautiful ring. It’s the first time for me here in general – the first time for me in Florida – and the first time here at the Palm Beach Masters. The footing is great, the fences are really beautiful, it’s a bit different than what we see usually with all the colors and nice, really rare fences which makes it nice for us riders and also for the horses to have a different venue instead of jumping all of the same boring fences. I got here ten days ago on Monday. I was still riding in Europe at the World Cup shows and then I came over and I’m going to stay in Florida until the end of circuit and we’ll head straight from here to Gothenburg for the World Cup Finals with Clooney.”
“Cristo won in Basel already and here again. He’s a great horse to win some nice classes, he also jumped already a few bigger grand prixs and just every show that I take him he performs really well and he’s a lovely horse to take with and I’m definitely going to jump him here in some bigger classes – I’m going to do him on Saturday in the 1.55m and hope to do two more clear rides.”
On the course:
“I found it quite a big course for an opening class I would say. It was definitely a difficult one – a 1.45m class, quite big and with this spooky new fences for sure some horses were a bit intimidated. I know my horse has a lot of experience in this kind of ring with bigger rings such as Aachen so he kind of knows this already but for sure for an inexperienced horse they had a lot to see today.”
Daniel Coyle – Second place
On Palm Beach Masters:
“I love it here. I’ve always had good results here so I can’t complain about anything. So I’ll be coming back.”
Daniel Bluman – Third place
“The horse I jumped today is 10 years old. I’ve had him for a few years already. He’s still a little bit green in the head so when I came in the ring I felt him being a little bit spooky with the right fences so I felt that a little gallop wasn’t going to do any harm. He is going to go tomorrow and hopefully, if it all goes well he’ll go on Sunday. He has jumped a 1.60m class and has done well, but still like I said he’s green in the head, so a little bit unpredictable so at this point I just try to keep him in the ring as much as I can so he keeps maturing and gets a little more consistent with his results.”
On the Palm Beach Masters:
“When you’re riding in a venue like this one where the footing is that good and the jumps are that nice and you have a great course designer, the conditions are good to jump. If you have a horse that gets better the more he jumps, it’s the perfect venue to come and jump as much as you can with a horse like this.”
$35,7000 CP Welcome Stake CSI4*
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Faults | Time
1. Cristo / Martin Fuchs / SUI / 0 | 71.37
2. Quintin / Daniel Coyle / IRL / 0 | 72.34
3. Entano / Daniel Bluman / ISR / 0 | 72.80
4. Primo Troy / Andrew Welles / USA / 0 | 72.93
5. Akuna Mattata / Nicole Simpson / USA / 0 | 73.89
6. Igor van de Grauwe Berg / F. Peter Jordan / USA / 0 | 73.93
7. VDL Bravo S / Hunter Holloway / USA / 0 | 76.84
8. Venue d’Fees des Hazalles / Eve Jobs / USA / 0 | 78.56
9. GK Coco Chanel / Conor Swail / IRL / 0 | 79.28
10. Robin de Ponthual / Schuyler Riley / USA / 0 | 79.36
11. Concona / Ben Maher / GBR / 0 | 79.58
12. Bardolina / Mario Deslauriers / CAN / 0 | 79.62