Firestone And Iceburg Win $50,000 Kilkenny/ICH Internationale Cup
FL - February 15, 2004 - Topping a field of 37 riders, Alison Firestone,
27, of Upperville, Virginia, aboard Iceburg for Mr. and Mrs. Bertram
Firestone, won the $50,000 Kilkenny/ICH Internationale Cup CSI***
today at the 32nd Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida.
In the 10-horse jump-off, five horses went clean with Firestone
racing just splits in front of Anne Kursinski aboard Sun God who
placed second, and Kimberly Frey riding Marlou who placed third.
Frank Rothenberger of Germany designed the course.
16-effort Round One track was something of an enigma - one-third
of the field went clean, yet three retired on course and those with
faults chalked up several, with nine riders going into the double
digits. "Most riders if you stood at the ingate would tell
you, we were all surprised [at the number clear]. I thought that
was tougher than that," said Kursinski, 45, of Frenchtown,
New Jersey. "The horses jumped well, they just jumped well."
She noted that Rothenberger removed the water jump from the original
track most likely due to the heavy rains that preceded the event
and by doing so altered the difficulty.
described the course as 'technical' and that the most difficult
parts of it were the lines to the combinations. Rothenberger set
an early triple at Fence 4 with a huge triple bar at Fence 3 leading
up to it, and a double at Fence 12 heading straight to a final oxer
at the outer edge of the field. "To have a triple combination
that early in the course, and a big triple bar coming in, it's always
tough to get your horses going for that," explained Firestone.
"Usually it's a little bit nicer for the horses to have a big
combination like that towards the end of the course. Their stride
usually opens up a little bit after galloping on the field. The
blue in-and-out (No. 12) was very tight inside, and either a very
tight five to another wide oxer or a really forward four. If the
line had been set the other direction, towards the ingate, I think
everyone would have done four because the horses would have wanted
to go, but to have to go into that corner towards the scoreboard,
they all were backing off from it. I expected mine to back off a
little bit. I was planning to do the four, but I landed just on
the other side of the back rail so I fit in five."
into the jump-off Eric Lamaze, 36, of Schomberg, Ontario, led off
aboard Tempete V/H Lindehof for owner Stacey Krembil, and set the
pace with his clear trip in 41.040, which placed him fourth in the
final results. Kursinski riding Sun God for owners Ron and Cheryl
Krise immediately took over the lead with her clean trip in 39.23,
which held up for the next five riders, including two more clear
trips. Kate Levy clocked in clean at 44.13, which put her fifth,
and Kim Frey riding Marlou for owner Windmill Ranch LLC tripped
the timers at 39.66 for third place. But it was Alison Firestone
and Iceburg who edged Kursinski into second place and took the victory
with 39.17 seconds. Two more riders chased her but incurred faults
in slower time.
she had the advantage of going last in the Jump-off, Firestone said
she did not see Kursinski's ride so did not strategize off that
trip. "I took a little shot to the second jump and then I slowed
down over to the outside line because in the first round my horse
got very surprised at how big the triple bar was," explained
Firestone. "When he got there he felt like he took a second
look at it, so I wanted to give him a really good ride down to the
triple bar the second time. As soon as I got through the combination,
then I just let him go. He's so careful I can take a shot at running
down to the jumps a little bit."
is aiming for the Olympic Selection Trials this year, but not with
the 14-year-old Iceburg.
"If I make the team for the Olympics, Casanova is the horse
I want to take. He's jumped a lot of Championship courses and I
think I have the best shot with him at the Olympics," she said.
"Today, if I had both of them in the jump-off, Iceberg for
sure would have been faster, but for a really huge, scopey track,
Casanova is my horse for that."
Olympian Kursinski said it was her horse's biggest event yet since
he was partnered with her a year ago. She also noted that Sun God,
a nine year-old chestnut Hanoverian gelding by Drossel Klang II,
will join her 1992 Barcelona Olympic mount, Eros, in her quest for
a fourth Olympics. "I would have liked to have won," she
said of today's competition. "I'm tickled that he's as good
as he was." She pointed out that the band, standing-room only
crowd and atmosphere of the Sunday Grand Prix at WEF were all new
to Sun God. "But he stayed totally focused in the ring. A good
horse will do that. I wasn't just sure how he would react to all
that and he rose to the occasion beautifully." Kursinski said
she had the pedal all the way to the metal on her green Grand Prix
mount. "We haven't gone that fast together over even a lot
of smaller courses so I was delighted that he went that fast and
left the jumps up," she said. "He has all the ability,
now we need some mileage."
was also aboard a new Grand Prix mount that she is aiming for the
Olympic Selection Trials in May. "This is only my third big
class," she said, pointing out that the 10-year-old Dutch mare
by Jus de Pomme has only recently started the Thursday Challenge
Cup Series of Grand Prix at WEF. "She's relatively young. When
I walked the course I said, well let's see if she can jump this
high. She's got a ton of ability and I'm really thrilled with her.
She really rises to the occasion all the time, so although she hasn't
done a lot of big courses I feel very confident. She's very, very
confident herself. If I put that [Olympics] in front of her I'm
sure she would give it her best shot."
complete results, visit www.stadiumjumping.com
WINTER EQUESTRIAN FESTIVAL TICKET INFORMATION
Show days for the 2004 Winter Equestrian Festival are Wednesday
through Sunday. Gates open at 8:00 am. Ticket Prices: Wednesdays
are free to everyone; Children 12 and under are admitted free every
day; Young Adults 13 to 18 and Seniors are $5 on Thursday through
Sunday; Adults are $5 on Thursday and Friday, $10 on Saturday, and
$15 on Sunday. The Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club is located on
Pierson Road off South Shore Boulevard. For additional information,
visit www.stadiumjumping.com or call 561-793-5867.
WEF SCHEDULE OF COMPETITIONS
February 18 - 22 Florida Classic/WCHR Spectacular CSI-W/Y CSI-Ch
February 19 - 22 Zada Enterprises, LLC Florida Dressage Classic
February 25 - 29 PDP Capital Wellington Masters CSI***
March 3 - 7 CN Wellington Open CSI-W
March 10 - 14 CSIO United States Cosequin Finale CSIO***
March 18 - 21 Zada Enterprises WEF Dressage Classic CDI***/Y
(Qualifier for Olympic Selection Trials)
March 24 - 28 Tampa Bay Classic CSI-W (Bob Thomas Equestrian Center)
March 30 - April 3 Tournament of Champions CSI-W (Bob Thomas Equestrian
April 3 Budweiser American Invitational (Raymond James Stadium)
2004 MILLION DOLLAR GRAND PRIX SERIES
February 22 $60,000 Idle Dice Classic, presented by Palm Beach Post,
February 29 $75,000 PDP Capital Masters Cup, CSI***
March 7 $75,000 CN Wellington Open presented by Estates of Wellington
March 12 $50,000 Samsung Nations' Cup, presented by CN, CSIO****
March 14 $100,000 Cosequin U.S. Open Jumper Championship, CSIO****
March 28 $75,000 Grand Prix of Tampa, presented by Kilkenny/ICH,
April 3 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational, presented by The