Guadalajara, MX, January 26, 2019 – Time was of the essence at the Guadalajara Country Club for the $1,900,000 (~$100,000 U.S.) Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Guadalajara. After a 24-strong first round and four-horse jump-off, Mexico’s own Salvador Onate and Big Red claimed the top spot in the feature event of the 2019 Triple Copa Scappino CSI4*-W, presented by Audi.
A change in the time allowed proved key to Onate’s victory. He originally finished course designer Guilherme Jorge (BRA)’s 1.60m first round track with a single time fault, but when that time allowed was adjusted from 79 to 81 seconds, he secured his place in the jump-off.
“I don’t change the time allowed very often,” Jorge said. “Salvador is normally a fast rider, especially with Big Red. I knew my [original] time allowed was a good time allowed, but I built a fairly big and difficult course. I think we have to add the tests little by little. I’ve started putting height, the spread, and the difficult questions—all those technicalities. Now, I have to add the time allowed as well. I felt that I asked enough on course, that I didn’t need the extra pressure of [a tight] time allowed. Today, it was the correct decision, because we got a good amount of combinations in the jump-off.”
“I knew there weren’t going to be many clear rounds, and when I had the time fault, I felt very bad for myself—because it’s a rider’s fault; not the horse,” Onate said. “Then, they switched the time, and I got into the jump-off. I was lucky today, all the way.”
His good fortune continued as he galloped in first of the four clear first round competitors. Onate and Big Red finished the round with four faults, but so too would the remainder of the podium finishers. The duo’s 42.66 second time held, securing them the victory. The remaining three attempted to best his score and speed but could not touch his time. Spain’s Paola Amilibia and VIP finished second (4/46.49s), while Simon Nizri (ISR) aboard D Amour From Second Life Z were third (4/47.71s). Andres Torres Hernandez (MEX) and Chabacon finished fourth with two rails in 51.89s.
“It’s kind of a disadvantage to be the first one to go in the jump-off,” Onate said. “I just wanted to go as fast as I could. I knew there were fast riders. As soon as I had one rail, I knew that I had to go. That’s what I did, and it worked.”
Onate has had the ride on Big Red, a 14-year-old Westphalian gelding [Ludwig von Bayern / Lamoureux I] for the past year and a half. The chestnut has competed underneath a myriad of top notch riders, including Richard Spooner (USA), Steve Guerdat (SUI), and Nikolaj Hein Ruus (DEN), and while he has accumulated an impressive resume, this Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Guadalajara victory marks his first in an international grand prix.
“He’s the smartest horse I’ve ever ridden,” Onate said. “He’s super special. We have a connection. This is the first grand prix that he’s won. He’s gotten many seconds, but this is the first win. I’m honored to be riding him.”
The event’s result further confirmed how the level of sport in Mexico has skyrocketed in recent years. Jorge was pleased at how the riders responded to arguably their toughest test yet. His course also served as an event in which riders could earn a Certificate of Competency for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo (JPN). There were two 1.60m verticals on course, including the final fence, a 1.61m test that followed a 1.70m spread.
Organizing Committee representative, Rafael David, also praised the result, the venue’s improved footing from Westwind Surfaces, and the expansion of the sport in Mexico, with another World Cup event set to take place in Leon in two weeks time.
“I’m very happy to have this [World Cup] show in Mexico,” he said. “We’re improving every year, and now we have two venues. We are really glad to have that. We have the best footing for our show, and we take care of our horses and riders.”
“It’s an amazing place,” Onate said. “The people down here are just amazing. The course is amazing, and everything has just worked out really well.”
The Triple Copa Scappino, CSI 4*-W, presented by Audi continues through Sunday, Jan. 27th, 2019. Sunday’s feature event is the Clasico Audi Scappino, a 1.45m jump-off class. After heading to Wellington next week for the Palm Beach Masters CSI4*-W, the West Coast sub-league of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League resumes in Leon at The Ban Bajio Classic CSI4*-W on Feb. 7-10, 2019.
FULL RESULTS: https://awsresults.hippodata.de/2019/1537/docs/r_19.pdf