USA’s Nicole Shahinian-Simpson and Akuna Mattata Blaze to Victory in $36,600 Turkish Airlines Classic CSI4*-W at Palm Beach Masters

Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 1, 2020 – The penultimate day of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Week CSI4*-W/CSI2* at the Palm Beach Masters Series took place Saturday, with 30 horse-and-rider pairs hailing from eight nations challenging the track in the $36,600 Turkish Airlines Classic CSI4*-W. Proving to be the most efficient of the afternoon, Nicole Shahinian-Simpson (USA) and Akuna Mattata battled the field to come out on top of the pack to notch their second victory of the week thanks to two foot-perfect rides to claim the lead spot in the victory gallop and the lion’s share of the prize money.

Nicole Shahinian-Simpson and Akuna Mattata

Posing a first-round track consisting of 15 efforts, the course design trio of Alan Wade (IRE), Ben Townley (GBR) and John Doyle (IRE) aptly challenged the field of contenders, with ten duos ultimately mastering the initial pattern to advance to the second phase of competition. Third in the order of go, Jenni Mcallister (USA) and Batida Pj served as the pathfinders during the first round, successfully crossing the timers as the first fault-free pair, and they were soon joined in the clear ranks by Ashlee Bond (ISR) and Boheme de Fleyres, who forced a jump-off. As the class progressed, eight more athletes earned slots over the short course thanks to penalty-free trips from Rich Fellers (USA), Darragh Kenny (IRL), Daniel Coyle (IRL), Vanessa Mannix (CAN), Karl Cook (USA), Billy Twomey (IRL), Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) and Shahinian-Simpson.

Nicole Shahinian-Simpson and Akuna Mattata

Battling wet conditions for the 8-fence jump-off, Mcallister and Batida Pj once again set the bar as the first to try the track with a careful trip in 38.51 seconds, but their time would not hold long as Bond and Boheme de Fleyres blazed an even faster path around the course in 35.54 seconds to set a fiery pace. Aboard Billy Dorito, Kenny managed to improve upon the leaders’ time with his own ride in 33.36 seconds but dropped a rail to keep him out of contention just before fellow Irishman Coyle pulled out all the stop with Farrel as they navigated the pattern at breakneck speed, leaving out a stride in the final line to stop the clock in 33.94 seconds to leap to the top of the standings. The class wasn’t concluded yet, however, as the lead once again changed hands following Cook and Fecybelle’s swift maneuvering of the course that landed on a clean time of 33.48 seconds to secure the lead with only two contenders left to go. Saving the best for last, Shahinian-Simpson piloted her partner, Carol Rosenstein and Silver Raven Farms’ Akuna Mattata, into high gear as they galloped to a clean and winning time of 33.01 seconds to emerge victorious as the $36,600 Turkish Airlines Classic CSI4*-W winners.

Karl Cook and Fecybelle

Following Shahinian-Simpson in the standings in Saturday’s contest, Cook and Signe Ostby’s Fecybelle claimed second position while Pessoa and Artemis Equestrian Farm LLC’s Venice Beach clinched third overall with a jump-off time of 33.81 seconds. This was Shahinian-Simpson and the 12-year-old mare’s second appearance in the winner’s circle during the week, having also championed the $10,000 Palm Beach Masters Warm Up CSI4*-W ahead of 50 exhibitors Thursday. Akuna Mattata is perhaps best known for her fame as an equine triplet, but her unusual start in life has not stopped her from achieving incredible heights, earning international victories throughout her career. In 2019 alone, a few of her victories included the $100,000 1.50m Gold Tour Grand Prix CSI3* at Blenheim Spring Classic III as well as the $50,000 Jet Run Devon Welcome Stake CSI4* during the Devon Horse Show.

Rodrigo Pessoa and Venice Beach

The first week of the Palm Beach Masters Series will conclude Sunday with the finale event, the $213,300 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Wellington CSI4*-W, presented by Canadian Pacific. The second week of the triad, the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Week CSIO5*/CSI2*, will take place Feb. 11-16, followed by the Palm Beach Open CSI5*/CSI2* from March 10-15.

FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE

Nicole Shahinian-Simpon – $36,600 CSI4*-W Turkish Airlines Classic winner

On her performance today with Akuna Mattata:
“She was great. The first day was nice and she just kind of goes her speed anyway, so we used it as a schooling class. The next day in the Qualifier I was a little easy on her. She only goes in one bridle – it’s a hackamore – there is no putting a bit in her mouth or anything, but I do play with the curb chain and it’s always wrapped. I had it a bit soft on her yesterday and she was a bit rude. Normally she is not really strong, but yesterday she was a bit feisty on the corners. She jumped well but it was just one of those days, so we came back today and redeemed ourselves.”

On Akuna Mattata:
“She is very sensitive. Even though she looks really active, she is not at all really strong. She roots, but she is very manageable and very easy to rate to the jumps. I will say I woke up this morning and I thought ‘wow, I guess she really was pulling yesterday,’ because I was pretty sore, but that is very rare. She goes in a leather hackamore with a wrapped curb and I put a leather cuff, which is almost like a pacifier in a way. She allows that better than a bit. Everything is on her terms. It is adrenaline with her and just keeping that organized. Once the class is done, she goes back to normal. I guess that is what makes her good.”

On where she thought she made up ground in the jump-off:
“She covers a lot of ground. When you land and accelerate, her acceleration kicks into turbo and she really grabs the ground and can make up a lot of ground early on. Over the years with her I have gotten comfortable with that and I’ve realized she can leave out a stride easily. That’s where she won today, but she can add up and jump right from the base. She is very versatile and is not as hard as she looks. She is busy, but super fun. I couldn’t imagine trying to change her in any way.”

RESULTS

$36,600 Turkish Airlines Classic CSI4*-W
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Owner / R1 Faults | R1 Time / R2 Faults | R2 Time
1. Akuna Mattata / Nicole Shahinian-Simpson / USA / Carol Rosenstein & Silver Raven Farms / 0 | 63.91 / 0 | 33.01
2. Fecybelle / Karl Cook / USA / Signe OSTBY / 0 | 62.79 / 0 | 33.48
3. Venice Beach / Rodrigo De Paula Pessoa / BRA / Artemis Equestrian Farm LLC / 0 | 60.84 / 0 | 33.81
4. Farrel / Daniel Coyle / IRL / Ariel Grange / 0 | 64.38 / 0 | 33.94
5. Boheme de Fleyres / Ashlee Bond / ISR / Ashlee Bond & Little Valley Farms / 0 | 65.19 / 0 | 35.54
6. Batida Pj / Jenni Mcallister / USA / Viksberg Sateri Ab / 0 | 66.44 / 0 | 38.51
7. Valentino d’Elte / Vanessa Mannix / CAN / Vanessa Mannix / 0 | 66.67 / 0 | 40.45
8. Billy Dorito / Darragh Kenny / IRL / Vlock Show Stables LLC / 0 | 61.06 / 4 | 33.36
9. Kimba Flamenco / Billy Twomey / IRL / Billy Twomey & Kim Barzilay / 0 | 66.69 / 4 | 35.29
10. Lux Lady / Richard Fellers / USA / Richard Fellers / 0 | 66.18 / 8 | 35.83
11. Stanger / Andrew Ramsay / USA / The Stranger Group / 4 | 64.10
12. Lord Pizarro / Enrique Gonzalez / MEX / Ursla Puschak / 4 | 64.80

For full results, please click here.

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