Sweetnam produces another Irish win at Florida Winter Festival
- 12 March 2014, 15:04
TODAY (Wednesday) saw yet another opening day win for Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam with the Irish Sport Horse Solerina in the $34,000 1m45 speed class at Florida’s Winter Festival (WEF).
Sweetnam has had an outstanding winter circuit in Florida so far, with wins in four very competitive FEI World Ranking classes, among other top finishes.
“I think it was a tricky enough course,” Sweetnam stated after his win. “There didn’t seem to be too many clear. I didn’t get to see all of the class, but from what I saw, it looked like it was hard enough to jump a clear round in the first place.”
Sweetnam has had a lot of success with Sweet Oak and Spy Coast Farms’s Solerina and explained that she showed with fellow Irish rider Conor O’Regan before he got the ride. She had done well in some smaller grand prix classes at that point and has since stepped up to have great success with the Cork rider in the last few years.
“She is a quirky mare for sure,” Sweetnam said of Solerina’s personality. “She is not the most lovable horse in the stable, but Lilly Johnson, her groom, does a great job with her. Lilly loves her, and I love her because she does her job in the ring, you’re just not going to be hanging out with her in the stable or anything.”
The tenth week of WEF is sponsored by Horseware Ireland, and runs from March 12-16. The week will feature the $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 10 on Thursday, the $34,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.45 on Friday, the $125,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 3* on Saturday, and the $34,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic on Sunday.
The FTI WEF, held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, features 12 weeks of world-class competition through March 30, awarding $8 million in prize money.