You can watch a lot of show jumping and still never see an end result like that of Thursday night’s T & R Development $5,000 Amateur-Owner/Junior Jumper Welcome Stake at the CP National Horse Show. After besting a jump-off field of 10 riders, Eve Jobs on Calizz and Lucy Deslauriers aboard Hamlet tied for first place with the dead-even time (down to the millisecond!) of 33.137. Both riders led the victory gallop, side-by-side.
Also in the winner’s circle on Thursday evening was Spy Coast Farm’s Shane Sweetnam (IRL), who had the hometown advantage heading into the $130,000 CP Grand Prix CSI4*. As the first rider to return for the jump-off with Chaqui Z, a 10-year-old Zangersheide stallion, Sweetnam left no door open for the 10 horses and riders to come, setting the pace to beat in a double clear performance at 38.13 seconds.
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.”
Course designer Michel Vaillancourt built a technical first-round track with a tight time allowed; only 11 combinations cleared all 13 obstacles with no time faults, and only five would go on to master Vaillancourt’s short course with no penalties.
Fellow Irishman and winner of Wednesday’s $35,000 International Open Jumpers Welcome Speed CSI4*, Richie Moloney (IRL), aboard Equinimity LLC’s Carrabis Z, went next in the jump-off, going clear and moving into second place with a time of 46.57 seconds. Charlie Jacobs (USA) and Cassinja S also finished clear in 40.69 seconds—six full seconds ahead of Moloney’s time (Moloney would eventually take fifth place).
“Shane is being a bit modest when he said he didn’t expect to win this class because I was in the stands when he went,” said Jacobs. “I had aspirations to go really fast and have a crack at it, but when I saw him go, I decided it would be better for me to go off the gas and focus on having a nice clean round, which we were fortunate enough to do.
“Myself and my horse came here with the goal of picking up some points on Saturday and this was the first step to qualify for Saturday’s class,” continued Jacobs. “It may not seem like a big feat, but we’ve been to horse shows where we don’t do well on Thursday and you don’t get to jump. So we’ll put it in our back pocket and feel good going into Saturday.”
Katherine Dinan (USA) and Dougie Douglas, owned by Grant Road Partners LLC, were last to go in the jump-off, finishing double clear and, paired with their impressive speed of 40.74 seconds, rounding out the top three rankings of the class just 1/10th of a second behind Jacobs’ time.
“I was super happy with my horse,” said Dinan. “He jumped great. I went into 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 in Omaha, Nebraska on the horizon, Jacobs and Dinan both expressed their interest in gaining valuable ranking points in order to qualify.
“I aspire to go to the Finals in Omaha,” said Jacobs. “I was in Gothenburg this year and from what I’ve been told, it will be radically different with the venue and size of the ring. Knowing my horse, I think he will be well suited for it.”
“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.”