Lauren Fisher for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Jennifer Wood for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Wellington, FL - February 25, 2011 - Meg O'Mara and Sinatra IV jumped to victory in the $15,000 Artisan Farms Young Riders Grand Prix on Friday night at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Showing under the lights in the International Arena of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, O'Mara and Sinatra IV were the only pair to jump double clear in the evening's class to earn top honors over a field of 54 starters.
The FTI Winter Equestrian Festival's seventh week of competition continues through Sunday, February 27. Week seven, sponsored by Fidelity Investments, will feature the $78,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix, CSI 2* on Saturday at 7 p.m. and the Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Classic on Sunday at 1 p.m. The 2011 WEF will continue through April 3 and award more than $6 million in prize money.
Today's class was the second of four qualifiers for the EY Cup Finals, held at the FEI World Cup Finals in Leipzig, Germany. The top three riders at the conclusion of the series will have the opportunity to travel to Germany to compete. The third event, which is a Team Event, will be held on Thursday, March 10 in the International Arena. The final $15,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix will be held on the grass derby field at The Stadium on Sunday, March 20, 2011. Through their sponsorship, The Dutta Corporation & International Horse Transport will be shipping the winning horse to the Finals and covering travel expenses for the highest scoring rider in this series.
|Meg O'Mara and Sinatra IV with Michael Stone of|
Equestrian Sport Productions, ringmaster Cliff Haines,
and Carlene Ziegler of Artisan Farms
Tonight's course was designed by Olaf Petersen, Jr. of Germany. Petersen set a challenging course for the young riders, and just three were able to jump clear in the first round. Reed Kessler and Ligist returned first for the jump-off and set the standard with a fast time of 45.854 seconds, but an unfortunate rail at the last fence placed the pair in second.
Meg O'Mara rode Don Stewart's Sinatra IV into the ring next and jumped a fast, clear round to take the lead. The pair's time of 45.177 seconds and double clear rounds earned the victory.
Completing the jump-off, Chase Boggio and Hennessey had a rail at the second fence on course to earn four faults in a time of 47.929 seconds, finishing in third place.
David Arcand and Santo's Utopia finished with just one time fault in 77.507 seconds to receive fourth place. Charlotte Jacobs also finished with one time fault riding Promised Land, owned by Candy Tribble and Windsor Show Stables. The pair stopped the clock in 77.778 seconds to finish in fifth place. Coming in sixth, Quentin Judge and HH Manrique Z had two time faults in 78.860 seconds. Navona Gallegos and Bar X Ranch LLC's No Fear finished with three time faults in 79.996 seconds to receive the seventh place prize.
Class winner Meg O'Mara is from Rumson, NJ, and turns 17 years old tomorrow. O'Mara trains with Don Stewart and Megan Edrick and received help from Ralph Caristo this evening. O'Mara usually shows in Ocala during the winter and was excited to get a win tonight after arriving in Wellington just half an hour before the course walk. "It's really, really exciting because I'm never here," O'Mara laughed. "We had someone ride my horse for the week, and he was really good. It is kind of shocking to go into this huge class and do so well. We were gold medalists in the Prix des States and I won my first grand prix three weeks ago, but this is probably one of the biggest classes I have done."
O'Mara has been riding Sinatra IV for just over a year and will soon be purchasing him. Sinatra IV is an 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding by Churchill. "He's perfect for me," she explained. "I don't like to kick around the course. He is really fiery. Anyone who has schooled in the same ring knows he is a little feisty! He has his quirks, but once he's in the ring he is perfect and he jumps around great."
|Reed Kessler and Ligist|
O'Mara has her sights set on qualifying to compete in the EY Cup Finals and explained that she has never shown internationally. "This is definitely one of the biggest series that I have done. I really want to try and qualify to go to Europe; it would be amazing. It would be such a great opportunity for me to go at such a young age," the rider noted.
Although she has finished second in both qualifiers so far, 16-year-old Reed Kessler is currently in the lead for the series standings with her clear rounds aboard horses Onisha and Ligist. Talking about her ride tonight aboard Ligist (also known as Goose) Kessler stated, "Last time Goose was in here, we did the six bar and we jumped 6'4". His eyes were definitely wide open tonight. It looked small to Goose, so I guess that was a good warm-up!"
Ligist is an 11-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding by Levantos II x Robin Z. Praising Ligist, Kessler explained, "He has been fantastic and he has been jumping the WEF Challenge Cup Grand Prix, so he was ready for this height and I think this was the best he has ever gone."
"Goose has a lot of power, but the jump-offs take a bit of finesse," Kessler continued. "He is not the kind that you can whip back and be wrong and figure it out; you just have to be on it. I was a little conservative here and there because I was trying to be neat and sweeping. I knew Meg was behind me and her horse is so naturally fast, so I didn't want to be too conservative. It was a shame that we had that rail; he really just touched it behind. He is usually so brilliant behind, but what can you do? He did all the hard parts so beautifully. It was one of the best jump-offs he has ever done and I am really lucky to have him. I am really, really happy that I have a lead in the series."
|Reed Kessler and Ligist with ringmaster Cliff Haines,|
Michael Stone of Equestrian Sport Productions, and
Carlene Ziegler of Artisan Farms
Final Results: $15,000 Artisan Farms Young Riders Grand Prix
1 SINATRA IV MEG O'MARA DONALD STEWART: 0/0/45.177
2 LIGIST REED KESSSLER REED KESSLER: 0/4/45.854
3 HENNESSEY CHASE BOGGIO CHASE BOGGIO: 0/4/47.929
4 SANTO'S UTOPIA DAVID ARCAND DAVID ARCAND: 1/77.507
5 PROMISED LAND CHARLOTTE JACOBS CANDY TRIBBLE & WINDSOR SHOW STABLES: 1/77.778
6 HH MANRIQUE Z QUENTIN JUDGE DOUBLE H FARM: 2/78.860
7 NO FEAR NAVONA GALLEGOS BAR X RANCH LLC: 3/79.996
8 ROCKY W KAITLIN CAMPBELL KAITLIN CAMPBELL: 4/71.843
9 VIGARO SARAH TREDENNICK WOOD RUN FARM: 4/73.834
10 BULL RUN'S LA BAMBA KRISTEN VANDERVEEN BULL RUN JUMPERS LLC: 4/74.668
11 WRIGLEY CALLIE SCHOTT JOHN MADDEN SHOW STABLES INC: 4/75.326
12 CAMIRAGE CHRISTINA KELLY DIAMOND EDGE FARM: 4/75.672