Irish riders made it two-from-two at the American four-star venue, while Goresbridge Supreme Sale graduate Dougie Douglas (ISH) took third place on the podium.
Following an opening day win for Kilkenny’s Richie Moloney and Slieveanorra (ISH) at the CP National Horse Show in Lexington, Kentucky USA, Cork’s Shane Sweetnam added to Irish success with victory in the $130,000 CP Grand Prix at the same venue in the early hours of this morning.
Sweetnam guided the Spy Coast Farm-owned 10-year-old stallion Chaqui Z to victory, posting the fastest double clear round (38.13) when first to go in the 11 horse jump-off.
When asked if he was expecting to win the class, Sweetnam replied, “No, absolutely not. I was pretty tight everywhere. I wasn’t galloping fast or taking big risks. So when I came out of the ring, I thought maybe top four or something like that but everything seemed to work out. Today was my day.
“I show here at the Kentucky Horse Park all summer so it’s great to win here,” continued Sweetnam. “Chaqui Z’s a great stallion. We haven’t competed much together, but we’ve always been consistent. It’s great to win a class like this.”
Course designer Michel Vaillancourt built a technical first-round track with a tight time-allowed, where only 11 combinations cleared all 13 obstacles with no time faults. Only five would go on to master Vaillancourt’s short course with no penalties.
“I did a turn from fences two to three in the first round – I think I was the only one who did it because I thought I was going to have a time fault if I would have stayed around so I had to do something about it,” said Sweetnam. “The slower horses did struggle unless they did something different like turning back on the last line. If they stayed wide they were always going to be in trouble. The combinations took a little bit of riding. The last line was causing problems. I have a good horse; I was most
As Sweetnam kicked off the tiebreaker with a blazing fast and clear effort, it was fellow Irishman and winner of Wednesday’s $35,000 Welcome Speed Class, Richie Moloney, aboard Equinimity LLC’s Carrabis Z, who produced the next clear round to move into second place in 46.57 seconds.
Charlie Jacobs (USA) and Cassinja S, owned by CMJ Sporthorse, LLC, followed Moloney’s path to also finish clear in 40.69 seconds – six full seconds ahead of Moloney’s time, which would garner him second place honors in the final results, while Moloney would eventually take fifth place.
America’s Margie Engle and Elm Rock Partners, LLC’s Abunola also kept the faultless streak alive, crossing the finish line in 41.40 seconds to move ahead of Moloney and secure fourth place.
Last to go in the jump-off was Katie Dinan (USA) and The Irish Sport Horse Dougie Douglas, owned by Grant Road Partners LLC. They were the final horse and rider to finish double clear and, paired with their impressive speed, rounded out the top three rankings of the class in 40.74 seconds.
“I was super happy with my horse,” said Dinan. “He jumped great. I went in to the jump-off hoping to be clear and competitive, but still have a good round. I was thinking a little bit about Saturday but I was really happy with him.”
With the 2017 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Finals on the horizon, everyone is working to gain valuable ranking points to qualify for Omaha, including Dinan, who purchased Dougie Douglas (ISH) at the Goresbridge Supreme Sale of Show Jumpers in Ireland this time last year.
“If I qualify and feel ready to go, I’d love the opportunity to go to World Cup Finals,” said Dinan. “To represent the U.S. at the World Cup would be a huge privilege, but I will take it one day at a time. I’ve only been riding [Dougie Douglas] since the beginning of this year. I’m very lucky to have him. I think we have really built up a partnership with him over the past 11 months. He is a privilege to ride and I’m thrilled to be his rider.”
“It’s a bit far away, but if I do well this week and at Toronto next week…you never know,” said Sweetnam. “I’ll see how it goes! We’re also working towards the European Championships in Sweden next year. He’s the right age at 11 years old. We didn’t have a team at the Olympics this year, and last year he was a bit too green to do the European Championships in Aachen. Next year could be a good year for him, but we will see.”
Prior to Thursday’s Grand Prix, Jessica Springsteen and Stone Hill Farm’s Davendy S topped the leaderboard in the $35,000 Suncast Speed Class. They edged out Wednesday night’s winners, Richie Moloney and Equinimity LLC’s Slieveanorra (ISH) who took runner-up spot.
Results: $130,000 CP Grand Prix CSI4* Lexington USA
Rider/Country/Horse/Owner/First Round Faults/Second Round Faults/Time
1. Shane Sweetnam/IRL/Chaqui Z/Spy Coast Farm LLC/0/0/38.13
2. Charlie Jacobs/USA/Cassinja S/CMJ Sporthorse LLC/0/0/40.69
3. Katherine Dinan/USA/Dougie Douglas (ISH)/Grand Road Partners LLC/0/0/40.69
4. Margie Engle/USA/Abunola/Elm Rock Partners LLC/0/0/41.40
5. Richie Moloney/IRL/Carrabis Z/Equinimity LLC/0/0/46.57
6. Aaron Vale/USA/Finou 4/Thinks Like A Horse/0/4/35.42