2020 Palm Beach Masters Series - Week One Daily Updates

The 2020 Palm Beach Masters Series consists of three world-class show jumping events: Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Week CSI4*-W/CSI2* (Jan. 28-Feb. 2); Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Week CSIO5*/CSI2* (Feb. 11-16); and the Palm Beach Open CSI5*/CSI2* (March 10-15).

To learn more about the events at Deeridge Farms, visit PalmBeachMasters.com.



Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Week CSI4*-W/CSI2* (Jan. 28-Feb. 2) - Daily Updates


Nicole Shahinian-Simpson & Akuna Mattata Earn a Turbo-Powered Winin $36,600 Turkish Airlines Classic CSI4*-W

Nicole Shahinian-Simpson (USA) and Akuna Mattata put pedal to the metal to win the $36,600 Turkish Airlines Classic CSI4*-W at the Palm Beach Masters Series®. Photo by Kathy Russell Photography

Saturday, February 1, 2020 — Wellington, FL — Last to go in the 1.50m $36,600 CSI4*-W Turkish Airlines Classic at Deeridge Farms, Nicole Shahinian-Simpson (USA) knew she had one more ace in her pocket aboard Akuna Mattata.
“She’s very funny, she covers a lot of ground. When you land and you accelerate, she kicks into turbo, and she really grabs the ground,” said Shahinian-Simpson, who dashed through the jump-off timers in a winning time of 33.01 seconds. “Over the years and time [together], I’ve become comfortable with that. She can leave out a stride easily, and that’s where she won today.”
The pair finished just ahead of a foot-perfect Karl Cook (USA) and Fecybelle with 33.48 seconds and a smooth-but-speedy Rodrigo De Paula Pessoa (BRA) in third with Venice Beach on 33.81 seconds.
Held in the Sand Arena during the Palm Beach Masters Series® Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Week CSI4*-W/CSI2, Course Designer Alan Wade’s (IRL) 12-obstacle, first-round track proved challenging for a number of combinations in the 30-horse field. Ten moved forward to contest the shortened course, and there, the ability to harness Akuna Mattata’s raw power moved Shahinian-Simpson to the top of the pack.
“[Akuna Mattata] is super sensitive, and although she looks very active, she’s not at all strong. She roots, but she’s very manageable and easy to rate to the jumps,” the Wellington-based rider said. This is the second win of the week for Shahinian-Simpson and the 12-year-old American-bred Holsteiner, who also topped the 10,000 CSI4*-W Palm Beach Masters Warm-up on Thursday.
Despite Akuna Mattata’s specialized program for loading into the start-gate and exiting the arena, Shahinian-Simpson says the mare’s unconventionality is part of her strength. “We’ve done some training with her, keeping her manageable in the [schooling ring], and getting into the ring. We got a little bit of a handle on it, because it was getting pretty out of control—all of it is adrenaline with her.”
Shahinian-Simpson, who also rode Akuna Mattata’s mother, Carole Rosenstein’s M-Dragonfly, says that knowing the mare for so many years has helped them build a special bond. “A lot of it is trust. I couldn’t imagine trying to change her in any way, because I don’t think I would win, or anybody would win, so you just accommodate,” she said.
“I guess it’s what makes her good!”


Sergio Alvarez Moya & Charmeur Shine Brightest in $72,900 Candy Tribble Qualifier CSI4*-W

Sergio Alvarez Moya (ESP) and Charmeur bested an eight-horse jump-off to win the $72,900 Candy Tribble Qualifier CSI4*-W at the Palm Beach Masters Series®. Photo by Kathy Russell Photography

Friday, Jan. 31, 2020 — Wellington, FL — As the sun dipped behind the horizon during Friday’s $72,900 CSI4*-W Candy Tribble Qualifier, Sergio Alvarez Moya, the only Spanish rider in the international field of 60, rode away with the day’s highest honor aboard his longtime partner Charmeur. It was the first big victory of the year for Alvarez Moya, who said the day’s result took even him by surprise.
“Honestly, I didn’t expect [Charmeur] to be so good, because he was off for a few months last year,” Alvarez Moya said. “I started showing him again in November, and it took him a little longer than I expected to get fit. But it seems like he really likes it here!”
Alvarez Moya topped a star-studded eight-horse jump-off that included two Olympic gold medalists in Laura Kraut (USA) and Beezie Madden (USA), along with defending Champion Alex Granato (USA). The top pair posted a winning time of 37.23 seconds. Adrienne Sternlicht (USA) and Bennys Legacy finished second with a time of 37.82 seconds, while Ashlee Bond (ISR) and Donatello finished third on a 38.08-second time.
Eighth to go over Course Designer Alan Wade’s (IRL)1.55m jump-off track, with two riders still to come, Alvarez Moya said he had no time to worry about losing his hold on the top spot.
“I came out, and [Charmeur] is always a bit nervous, as you can see, so I had no time to think about it,” he laughed. “He keeps me busy all the time—he’s a bit of a special horse! [But] once you’re on and in the ring, he always tries hard, and he’s always with you.”
According to the Spanish rider, the 13-year-old KWPN stallion is as opinioned as he is talented, a fact that doesn’t always work to the pair’s benefit. "He can be very [quiet] in the first round, and then you come out for the jump-off, and he doesn’t let you get [back] on!
“When he’s fit, he’s a fun horse to have, and he’s very competitive,” said Alvarez Moya, who also received the Sue Grange Award as the owner of the day’s winning horse.
Despite two standout rounds from Sternlicht and Bond, Alvarez Moya knew he had a shot at the podium.
“In the jump-off, [Charmeur] is naturally very quick, and he enjoys it, so I can [either] have a rail [in the first round] or normally, he’s in the top three,” he said. “I think I had a very good turn to the double back to the combination. He has a lot of experience, so he knows exactly where I’m going. He has a lot of intuition for that.”
Alvarez Moya also credited the venue at Deeridge Farms for his horse’s performance.
“I have to say, the grass is not only beautiful, but it’s comfortable for them to jump [on],” he said. “Even with my horse, if you’d asked me last week if he was ready to win such a class, I would say no, [but] probably the ground has a lot to do with that. He just feels comfortable, and then the scope grows a little bit, and they want to do it right.”
The $72,900 CSI4*-W qualifying class was named in honor of Candy Tribble, a longtime supporter and dear friend of the Palm Beach Masters Series®. Tribble was the proud owner of a number of top showjumping horses and often sat at Deeridge from sunup to sunset, watching every class. The top 40 riders in the $72,900 CSI4*-W Candy Tribble Qualifier will return to contest the $213,300 CSI4*-W Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Wellington on Sunday, February 2, at 1:30pm ET.

Moffitt Starts a Streak in $36,600 NetJets Speed Challenge CSI4*-W

Less than 24 hours after taking home top honors in the $36,600 Suncast Welcome Stake CSI4*-W, Emily Moffitt (GBR) and Tipsy du Terral led a second straight victory gallop.

This time, they won the $36,600 NetJets Speed Challenge, topping a field of 28 international entries with a winning time of 60.18 seconds.

"Yesterday, I mentioned that everything came up perfectly, and I guess today, the same happened—I would even say better," Moffitt said.

Remarkably, second-place finishers Erynn Ballard (CAN) and Judge Hof ter Zeedycke also repeated their result from the Welcome. This time around, their time was 61.17 seconds. Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) and Venice Beach finished third with a time of 62.19 seconds.

Jumping in the first half of the order, Moffitt and her mount were able to maintain their lead through 17 rounds. With a comfortable margin of victory of nearly a second, the 21-year-old attributed the win to stride and smoothness.

"The course was obviously quite suited to me and Tipsy," Moffitt said. "I started with a good pace and kept it the whole way around. Everything showed up nicely, and I never had to take a pull. That’s why we were so quick.

"She has a monster stride, so I just went for it," she added.

Moffitt has a weekend of rest planned for her horse.

"She’s been great, so we’re actually going to take her home," she said. "She’s been so good. We’re going to give her a nice reward, take her home early and let her have lots of carrots!


Emily Moffitt (GBR) got "back on [her] feet" with a win aboard Tipsy du Terral in the $36,600 Suncast Welcome Stake CSI4*-W Thursday afternoon at Deeridge Farms

Emily Moffitt (GBR) and Tipsy du Terral were best in the $36,600 CSI4*-W Suncast Welcome Stake. Photo by Kathy Russell Photography

Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020 — Wellington, FL — The longtime partners bested a field of 45 to take the win, crossing the timers of Alan Wade's (IRL) 1.45m speed track in 60.38 seconds. Erynn Ballard (CAN) finished second with Judge Hof ter Zeedycke (60.43 seconds), with Daniel Coyle (IRL) and Farrel third (61.78 seconds).

"It all kind of panned out quite fantastically!" Moffitt exclaimed. "I went in and [trainer Ben Maher] just said, ‘Let’s do it. Let’s go for it. Let’s win something.’ I haven’t had the best start to the season, so it’s great. I feel like I’m back on my feet now. She’s my trusty little steed. We throw her in anything, and she gets it done."

With just five-hundredths of a second separating the top two, Moffitt credited her win to her mare's carefulness, particularly in the combinations on course.

"With her, she’s so careful in doubles," she explained. "That allows me to really gallop in, whereas to the last jump I have to hold her off a little bit. That's probably where I got it done today.

"It was just one of those rounds where, everything came up perfectly," she added. "I was lucky that happened, because that makes a big difference."

Moffitt, 21, has been partnered with Tipsy du Terral for nearly three years, recording a half-dozen victories at the international level, from Europe to Wellington. 

"I had her for a few years now," Moffitt explained. "She’s very strong, and my little chicken arms have to step up their game when I ride her! It’s nice, because she drags you to everything. You’re just along for the ride, and she’s like, ‘Come on, let’s do this!’ I love that. She’s just a really great partner to have."

Moffitt is just beginning her winter season at the Palm Beach Masters Series®, as she will represent Great Britain in the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ USA CSIO5* that will take place at Deeridge Farms on Feb. 16.

"I love everything [about this venue]," she said. "It’s a real change of scenery, and I love the [lake] and the backdrop and everything. It's just nice to have that big grass field. I love it, and all my horses seem to like it as well."


Nicole Shahinian-Simpson & Akuna Mattata kick off CSI4*-W competition with a win in $10,000 Palm Beach Masters Warm-up

CSI4*-W competitors took to the Grass Arena for the first time in the $10,000 Palm Beach Masters Warm-up. Nicole Shahinian-Simpson (USA) and Akuna Mattata emerged victorious after 51 combinations took on Alan Wade's (IRL) course for the 1.40m two phases special competition. Their winning second-phase time was 30.23 seconds.

Jordan Coyle (IRL) and Des le Debut finished second with a 30.89-second time, while Amy Millar (CAN) and Ericson were third (31.61 seconds).

"The easy part with her, is that she has one speed, one gear," Shahinian-Simpson said of her longtime mount. "The course was straightforward, so I just let her go in her gear. I made some angles and turns and dared her at the jumps, and it was sort of my school [for the rest of the week], in a sense."

Shahinian-Simpson plans to compete "Nala" in Friday's $72,900 Candy Tribble Qualifier CSI4*-W with an eye toward securing a spot in Sunday's $213,300 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Wellington.

"She felt great today," Shahinian-Simpson said. "She felt really game. The footing was super, and the field rode beautifully."

Ansgar Holtgers, Jr. Wins Inaugural
Sunset Challenge Event at 2020 Palm Beach Masters Series®

Ansgar Holtgers, Jr. and Queretaro won the $5,000 Northstar Tour CSI2* Sponsored by EnviroEquine, the first ever class held under the lights at Deeridge Farms.

Photo by Kathy Russell Photography

Competition under the lights at Deeridge Farms kicks off with the $5,000 Northstar Tour CSI2* Sponsored by EnviroEquine.

Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020 — Wellington, FL — Ansgar Holtgers, Jr. (USA) rode Queretaro to victory in the $5,000 Northstar Tour CSI2* Sponsored by EnviroEquine, the first class ever held under the lights at Deeridge Farms.

The event was part of the brand new Sunset Challenge, which features competition under the lights in the evening hour. There will be a CSI2* Sunset Challenge division at either the 1.30m or 1.40m/1.45m heights at every 2020 Palm Beach Masters Series® event, an opportunity for horses and riders to get experience competing under the lights or to simply enjoy high performance sport in the most picturesque of settings.

Holtgers, Jr., at just 14 years old, bested an accomplished field of 56 in the 1.30m event, held in a two phases special format. He and the 14-year-old Zangersheide stallion owned by Gut Einhaus, LLC, finished with a winning second-phase time of 27.23 seconds. Katie Dinan (USA) and Ulpi N de Brekka finished second with a 27.46-second time, while Blythe Masters (GBR) and Eriana were third. That duo's time was 28.46 seconds.

"[This is] a really good experience for me," Holtgers, Jr. said. "It helps to get to know a horse and how they’re going to be under the lights and prepare for future [competitions in this setting]."

Holtgers, Jr. has been partnered with his mount for more than three years, but Wednesday's competition marked the pair's first under the lights together.

"We call him Q. He’s a weirdo!" Holtgers, Jr. exclaimed. "You never know what he’s going to do! When he’s really good, he’s really good! You can’t deny it. I’ve had him for about three and a half years. He’s just super."

A star-studded cast took on course designer Alan Wade's (IRL) course. Also competing were World No. 1 Martin Fuchs (SUI), Olympic gold medalist Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA), and Olympic bronze medalist Cian O'Connor (IRL).

"Cian O’Connor came up to me and said, ‘That was a cracking round!’ That meant a lot to me," Holtgers, Jr. said. "That was really cool. He gave me some tips, and I really appreciated that."

The Sunset Challenge continues Thursday, Jan. 30 at 5:00pm ET with the $5,000 Northstar Tour Qualifier CSI2*.

"It’s a fantastic show," Holtgers, Jr. said. "I feel like they really put effort and time into this show. I love coming here."