Nick Skelton takes second at WEF Wellington's Ariat 4* grand prix on a new ride

Nick Skelton on new ride Untouched (pictured) claimed second in the big-money, $216K Ariat 4* grand prix at WEF, Wellington behind Canada's Eric Lamaze and Check Picobello Z. Untouched is a new ride for Nick and is standing in as top horse as Big Star is sidelined by an infection in a cut on his leg. Here's what Nick had to say:.

Nick Skelton has a talented new mount in Poden Farm’s nine-year-old Westphalian stallion, Untouched (Untouchable x Capitol I), and was happy with his second place finish in Sunday’s grand prix.

“He is really relatively low in experience at this level, so I am very pleased with him,” Skelton said of Untouched. “He has been graduating over the last four weeks and he is getting better all the time.”

“I plan to bring him along until Big Star is back in a couple of weeks,” Skelton continued. “Big Star picked up an infection in his leg from a cut, but when I get him back going, I will have two really nice horses.”

Skelton spoke of the first round and then detailed his plan in the jump-off, stating, “I think the course was quite difficult today. There were very tall verticals and the combination was in a difficult place. All in all, it was a good four-star course.”

“I planned to go as quick as I could and not put the fences at risk because I knew whatever I did, Eric was going to beat me,” Skelton said of the second round. “He is always going to be faster; the only chance I had was if he had one down. That was my only hope I think, but I was very pleased with the horse anyway. I have not been in the jump-off in a couple of years, so I am really pleased.”

USA-based Brit Amanda Derbyshire was denied a jump-off chance in the grand prix with four faults in the first round on Lady Maria BH. And Ben Maher suffered a similar fate in the world cup qualifier, Serena also incurring four faults. The USA's Kent Farrington won on Uceko.

WEF Palm Beach Equestrian Center Photo © Sportfot