Shaw Johnson-Price and Custom Made Crowned Amateur-Owner Hunter Grand Champion
Lexington, Ky. – Nov. 3, 2016 – Spy Coast Farm’s Shane Sweetnam (IRL) had the hometown advantage heading into Thursday night’s $130,000 CP Grand Prix CSI4* at the CP National Horse Show. As first to return for the jump-off with Chaqui Z, a 10-year-old Zangersheide stallion, Sweetnam left no door open for the following 10 horses and riders who trailed him, after he set the pace to beat in a double clear performance at 38.13 seconds for the win.
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 concerned with the time.”
As Sweetnam kicked off the tiebreaker with a blazing fast and clear effort, it was fellow Irishman and winner of Wednesday’s $35,000 Shelby Drazan Foundation International Open Jumpers Welcome Speed CSI4*, Richie Moloney (IRL), 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.
“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.”
America’s show jumping sweetheart Margie Engle (USA) 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 Katherine Dinan (USA) and 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 – just 1/10th of a second behind Jacobs’ time.
“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.
“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. I’d love to go given the opportunity and hopefully we earn enough points to go.”
“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® Commerical™ International Open Jumper Speed. Their time of 57.68 seconds would hold out for the win in the faults converted speed class, even with a 4-fault score, besting Wednesdaynight’s winners, Moloney and Equinimity LLC’s Slieveanorra. Moloney’s time of 57.79 seconds would be good enough for second, while the early leaders, Leslie Howard and Peter Howard’s Donna Speciale, took third place with their time of 58.4 seconds.
“I’m so excited!” said Springsteen. “She jumped so well yesterday. She is trying so hard and she really deserved the win tonight. She can be done for the week. I thought it was a good course. These classes are nice because even if you have a rail down you may still be in contention. It worked in my favor. She was so quick everywhere that I was able to still win with a rail. There was a lot of tight inside turns and she handled it very well. I didn’t want to watch [Richie’s] round because he is super fast and very competitive on that horse. I definitely got lucky!”
Earlier in the day, in the first round of the USEF Under 25 National Championship, Hilary McNerny and her own Z Acodate DDL clocked a time of 63.507 seconds in the speed-style, faults converted competition to take home the win. Second place went to Brett Burlington and Alden Burlington’s Bluf, who tripped the timers in 64.145 seconds. Finishing in third was Lucy Deslauriers and Hester, owned by Lisa Deslauriers, with a time of 64.752 seconds.
Jumper competition kicked off on Thursday with the T & R Development $5,000 Amateur-Owner/Junior Jumper Welcome Stake, where Deslauriers and Eve Jobs, in a rare turn of events, bested a jump-off field of 10 to tie, down to the millisecond, for the top prize in 33.137 seconds. Deslauriers piloted Hamlet and Jobs was aboard her own Calizz to win the “Skymaster” Memorial Trophy, donated by Patricia Adikes-Hill & The Adikes Family Foundation, and both lead the victory gallop side-by-side. Following Deslauriers and Jobs was Teddy Vlock and Chakito, owned by Vlock Show Stables LLC, in 34.726 seconds.
Results: $130,000 CP Grand Prix CSI4*
Rider/Country/Horse/Owner/First Round Faults/Second Round Faults/Time
- Shane Sweetnam/IRL/Chaqui Z/Spy Coast Farm LLC/0/0/38.13
- Charlie Jacobs/USA/Cassinja S/CMJ Sporthorse LLC/0/0/40.69
- Katherine Dinan/USA/Dougie Douglas/Grand Road Partners LLC/0/0/40.69
- Margie Engle/USA/Abunola/Elm Rock Partners LLC/0/0/41.40
- Richie Moloney/IRL/Carrabis Z/Equinimity LLC/0/0/46.57
- Aaron Vale/USA/Finou 4/Thinks Like A Horse/0/4/35.42
- Tiffany Foster/CAN/Victor/Artisan Farms LLC/0/4/38.77
- Audrey Coulter/USA/Capital Colnardo/Copernicus Stables LLC/0/4/38.88
- Nick Novak/USA/Dirkie D/Nick Novak/0/4/40.13
- Ali Wolff/USA/Casall/Blacklick Bend Farm/0/12/36.39
- Danielle Torano/USA/Callas III/Danielle Torano/1/73.08
- Callan Solem/USA/VDL Wizard/Horseshoe Trail Farm Inc/1/73.36
Shaw Johnson-Price and Custom Made Crowned Amateur-Owner Hunter Grand Champion
Shaw Johnson-Price shed tears of joy as she walked into the ring to accept the championship ribbon for the Amateur-Owner Over 35 Hunter division. A short while later, Price and Custom Made once again made their way center-ring to accept the prestigious Grand Champion Amateur-Owner Hunter Ruxton and Scot To Do Challenge Trophy at the 2016 CP National Horse Show.
“This is the most amazing thing to happen,” Price said. “It is really unexpected, and I’m thrilled. I am so happy to end on a good note after the last class. We’ve had an incredible circuit. It feels like a million dollars to win grand. I am beside myself happy to have this horse and to be a part of our farm.”
The victory came as a surprise for Price, who thought the division’s tricolor was going to her barnmate Kelly Corrigan and her horse, Game Day. Both ladies train with Havens Schatt in Lexington, Kentucky. Schatt said even she was surprised when it was Price’s name who was called to accept the championship, as Jane Gaston and Because trailed by half a point to claim the reserve championship honors.
“Shaw rode cautiously yesterday, but didn’t ride badly at all,” Schatt said. “She didn’t want to make a mistake. I told her before the last class today to go in and have a good time and trust her horse. She went in there and nailed it. I didn’t think it was possible for her to be champion; it wasn’t on my radar at all.”
Despite the initial shock, Price, Schatt and Custom Made returned to the red carpet all smiles to accept the Grand Champion Amateur-Owner Hunter Ruxton and Scot To Do Challenge Trophy. Rounding out a spectacular day, Price also accepted the In Dutch Memorial Perpetual Trophy for the highest-scoring round in the Amateur-Owner Hunter stake classes.
Price and Custom Made are no strangers to winning at this level, as the pair also claimed the Amateur-Owner Grand Championship at the Washington International and Pennsylvania National Horse Shows.
“He goes in and gives his all,” Price said. “He’s for sure my horse of a lifetime. I’m so thankful for everyone at the barn; they are here at 4 a.m. getting everything ready, it’s a whole team effort. I am so lucky for everything that has happened the past three weeks for me. It’s really special.”
In the Amateur-Owner 18-35 Hunter division, it was Laura Sexton and Set To Music, or Calvin as he’s known in the barn, who claimed the championship. The division’s reserve championship went to Stephanie Danhakl and First Light.
“It’s very exciting to win,” Sexton said. “Calvin is a younger horse, and this is my very first indoors on him. It’s a different group of horses for me but it’s an amazing experience to have it pan out this way. I couldn’t have asked for a better year!”
Sexton, who trains with the Cunniffes at Whipstick Farm in South Salem, New York, said she enjoyed wrapping up her successful year at the CP National Horse Show.
“This is such an amazing facility,” Sexton explained. “I know it’s an indoor, but it feels like you are riding outside. The show is a class act with the way they run everything, and it feels very special.”
The hunter action will continue Friday with the Small and Large Junior Hunter divisions.
Other highlight classes throughout the CP National Horse Show include Friday’s $35,000 Salamander Hotels and Resorts Accumulator Class, Saturday’s $250,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Lexington CSI4*-W and Sunday’s $30,000 USEF Under 25 National Championship. The ASPCA Maclay National Championship will take place over the course of Saturday and Sunday.
The world’s top international competitors return for the 2016 CP National Horse Show Nov. 1-6 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky.
General admission tickets for Friday are only $5 and $10 on Saturday and Sunday, and can be purchase here. Children 12 and under are admitted free.
With over $800,000 in prize money offered, the 2016 edition of the CP National Horse Show has again been designated a CSI4*-W event by the FEI. The international Open Jumpers will compete for almost half a million dollars in prize money, while the top rated hunter divisions have a total purse of $195,000. Meanwhile, $130,000 in total is offered to the Amateur-Owner and U25 Jumper divisions.
Founded in 1883 at the original Madison Square Garden, the National Horse Show is America’s oldest indoor horse show, firmly established as a major fixture on the international sports and social event calendars. The National Horse Show Association’s primary activity is the annual production of the National Horse Show and all ancillary events.
For more information on the National Horse Show, please visit our website.