Ireland’s James Chawke Chalks Up First CSI3* Grand Prix Victory at Caledon Equestrian Park

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Ireland’s James Chawke riding Skara Glen’s Presence won the $100,000 CSI3* Grand Prix, presented by RAM Equestrian, at the CSI3* Classic at Palgrave Phase 2 held Sunday, May 26, at the Caledon Equestrian Park in Caledon, ON. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography

Caledon, Ontario – James Chawke of Ireland won the $100,000 CSI3* Grand Prix, presented by RAM Equestrian, to close out the CSI3* Classic at Palgrave Phase 2 show jumping tournament held May 22 to 26 at the Caledon Equestrian Park in Caledon, ON.

The $100,000 CSI3* Grand Prix was held on Sunday, May 26, in a two-round format that saw the top 13 horse-rider combinations return for a second round.  At the end of the second round, three had maintained a clear score sheet over the tracks set by American course designer Ken Krome to force a jump-off.  Chawke had left all the rails in place with two mounts, Grasshopper and Skara Glen’s Presence, while Jonathon Millar of Perth, ON, qualified Daveau for the tie-breaker.

Ross Millar, left, congratulates James Chawke aboard Skara Glen’s Presence as the winner of the $100,000 CSI3* Grand Prix, presented by RAM Equestrian. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography

Chawke, who hails from County Laois, was the first to return for the jump-off and concentrated on jumping a third clear round with Grasshopper, an eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Phin Phin x Cartano) owned by Stonepine Stables Ltd. of Calgary, AB.  His clear round in a time of 48.94 seconds put the pressure on Millar, 44, who rose to the challenge by guiding Daveau, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Zento x Glennridge) owned by Millar Brooke Farm of Perth, ON, home fault-free in a time of 45.96 seconds to move into the lead.

Chawke still had one more shot at victory, however, and took the necessary risks to stop the clock in a time of 43.04 seconds riding Skara Glen’s Presence.

“I went first on Grasshopper; he is only eight so I just wanted to be clear and put a little pressure on Jonathon and maybe he would make a mistake, which he didn’t,” said Chawke of his jump-off strategy.  “Conor [Swail] had watched Jonathon for me and told me what I needed to do.  Skara Glen’s Presence is 11 and more experienced so I went bit faster and, luckily, it was good enough to win.”

Conor Swail of Ireland, pictured riding Koss van Heiste, won the $36,500 CSI3* Open Welcome, presented by Horseware, and tied himself for victory in the $40,000 CSI3* Speed, presented by Pommies Cider Co. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography

Making the win even more impressive, Chawke has only been paired with Skara Glen’s Presence for two weeks.

“This is only my fifth class with him, and my third FEI class,” said Chawke of the 11-year-old Canadian-bred Holsteiner gelding (Contendro x Nekton) owned by Skara Glen Stables.  “He’s a very friendly and cheeky fellow in the stable.  When it comes time to go in the ring, he knows his job and wants to do it.  He’s careful and quick, and I just have to stay out of his way.”

Caledon Equestrian Park, host of the equestrian events for the 2015 Pan American Games, was the first venue that Chawke competed at when he came to Canada.  Now, it has become the site of his first CSI3* Grand Prix victory.

“This is the first place I ever showed at when I came to Canada,” said Chawke, 31, who works alongside fellow Irishman, Conor Swail, and Canadian Show Jumping Team member, Vanessa Mannix.  “It’s an incredible place.  The facilities are fantastic, it has big rings, and everyone here is so nice and willing to do whatever you need.

“Thank you to the horse show and the sponsors, and to my sponsors and everyone involved in the win today,” concluded Chawke.

Conor Swail of Ireland, mounted aboard Koss van Heiste, is presented as the winner of the $36,500 CSI3* Open Welcome by Horseware representative, Kelly Nicholls. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography

Chawke wasn’t the only Irishman in the winner’s circle during the CSI3* Classic at Palgrave Phase 2.  Swail had dominated earlier in the week, winning the $36,500 CSI3* Open Welcome, presented by Horseware, on Thursday, May 23, riding Koss van Heiste, a nine-year-old grey Belgian Warmblood gelding owned by Eadaoin Collins.  A total of 15 horses had qualified for the jump-off but none could catch Swail’s winning pace of 37.74 seconds.  Canadian Olympian Amy Millar, 42, of Perth, ON, came closest, guiding Ericson, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion owned by Millar Brooke Farm Ltd. and Partners, to a second-place finish in a time of 39.10 seconds.

In Saturday’s $40,000 CSI3* Table A Speed, presented by Pommies Cider Co., Swail did the seemingly impossible, tying himself for victory with an identical time of 65.54 seconds riding Koss van Heiste and Pin Up de Hus Z, his nine-year-old bay Zangersheide mare (Pilot de Hus x Casall).  Amy Millar was again the closest contender, delivering a clear round in a time of 67.98 seconds to take third with her 2016 Rio Olympic partner, Heros, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding owned by AMMO Investments.

For more information on the Caledon Equestrian Park, including its full 2019 competition schedule and results from the CSI3* Classic at Palgrave Phase 2, visit www.caledonequestrianpark.com.

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