After twelve weeks of competition, last Sunday (30 March) saw the conclusion of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida. Our British riders finished in style as London 2012 Olympic team gold medallist Scott Brash claimed the final Grand Prix of the Floridian show, and also took home fourth place in the FTI Consulting Rider Challenge. It was however team mate Ben Maher who earned top points in the Rider Challenge to finish as the FTI WEF leading rider, whilst Tim Gredley was crowned league winner of the Suncast 1.50m.
A competitive start list lined up for the $500,000 prize fund in Sunday Grand Prix, which was forced to postpone from its original Saturday night scheduling due to heavy rain. Thirty eight top class combinations set out in the first round with just seven of those riders posting clears to advance on to the jump-off, including Brash on Lady Kirkman and Lord & Lady Harris’, Hello Sanctos.
The only British representative in the fiercely contested jump-off, Brash produced an outstanding clear round to stop the clock in 43.44 seconds. Over a second separated first and second place and it was Ireland’s Richard Moloney (Slieveanorra) that finished behind the on form Brash, with America’s Jessica Springsteen completing the top three, on board Vindicat W, former ride and Olympic team gold medal winner of Britain’s Peter Charles.
World Class Showjumping Performance Manager, Rob Hoekstra, summed up the amazing achievements of the past few weeks, “It's been a tremendous festival for our riders this year and to finish today on such a high just couldn't have been better. Scott rode brilliantly today and thoroughly deserved his win, both he and Sanctos were superb. Ben, has had an exceptionally good show which has resulted in him being named as Leading Rider; a great achievement. Tim Gredley was leading rider in the Suncast 1.50m today. We are delighted!"
The release of this month’s Longines FEI rider rankings added to the incredible accomplishments by our British riders as both Brash and Maher retain their world number one and two statuses respectively, a position the British riders have held since before the start of 2014.