Sunday’s $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Classic at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival was won by Paulo Santana from Brazil and Taloubet, over a starting field of 31 entries. Paulo20Santana20Taloubet20Meter205020jp20Sportfot20loPaulo Santana and Taloubet. Photo by Sportfot.Course builder Olaf Petersen designed a challenging course for the class, which narrowed down the field to just six entries who continued to the jump-off. Santana and Taloubet were the fastest of three double clear rounds to take home top honours. An eleven-year-old KWPN gelding by Baloubet Du Rouet x Quidam De Revel, Taloubet was smooth and confident in the jump-off and earned great praise from his rider. The pair went second over the short course and put down a clear, fast round in 34.537 seconds that would hold up for the win.
Nick Skelton and Carlo 273 were fast and clear, but stopped the clock just short of the target time in 34.905 seconds to finish in second place. Ken Berkley and Ax-Cent from the US jumped clear in 36.508 seconds to finish in third.
“This is his first time showing at the Winter Equestrian Festival, so it could not have been a better start,” Santana smiled following this win. “We have had some really good, uphill results. He is getting more focused and maturing and we are getting some consistency. We got Nelson Pessoa to help us with him and he is doing a really good job. He used to be a very inconsistent horse; he would win one time and then have all of the rails down in the next class, but he has been great and today was a happy Sunday.”
“He is kind of a particular horse; he can have too much power and too much scope,” Santana said. “When the options are gaps and wide jumps where you really need to go for it he gets more comfortable. It was not a course where I had to control him too much; I think it was more of a scope test, so it was absolutely his style.”
Commenting on jumping before riders such as McLain Ward and Nick Skelton, Santana noted, “It was a jump-off of very respectable riders to go up against and I knew that we could not leave any window open for the people that were going after us. They are masters on speed, but when he lands he always chooses the right side to turn, so it happened a lot that I did not have to control him and waste any time doing that. He was great and I am really happy with this win.”
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