Sydney Shulman and Villamoura Race to Victory in the $36,600 CSIO5* Palm Beach Masters Classic

Sydney Shulman (ISR) and Villamoura recorded their first CSIO5* victory in the $36,600 Palm Beach Masters Classic during Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Week CSIO5*/CSI2* at Deeridge Farms. Photo by Kathy Russell Photography

Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 — Wellington, FL — Sydney Shulman (ISR) came into Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Week CSIO5*/CSI2* at the Palm Beach Masters Series® thinking that she’d already won. 

The appearance marked Shulman’s first CSIO5* competition at the venue, and she arrived hoping only for a positive experience. Saturday afternoon, the 25-year-old recorded a memorable victory, riding longtime mount Villamoura to the top of the $36,600 CSIO5* Palm Beach Masters Classic.

The duo topped an eight-horse jump-off, crossing the timers of Alan Wade’s (IRL) shortened 1.50m track in 36.61 seconds. Lucas Porter (USA) and Hope Street took runner-up honors with a 37.18-second time, while Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) and Venice Beach were third on 37.91 seconds.

“To be even invited for Israel here at this show is a big deal,” Shulman said. “I’ve never gotten into a five-star here before, so that was the first exciting part, and to finish it off with a win is so cool.”

Natural speed, sharp turns, and a strong partnership carried the pair to the top of the leaderboard. Shulman and Villamoura, an 11-year-old Selle Francais mare known for her small-but-mighty mentality, have been partnered for more than four years. The pair’s confidence in each other shined through as they made risk-taking look easy with their immediate turning and acceleration on course.

“Her normal canter is faster than any horse going full-out. Just naturally, she’s a speed demon,” Shulman said. “I think to the wall [toward the end of the jump-off]—I didn’t count the amount of strides I did over there, but I just felt like I got there on a really sharp angle, enough that it had to be fast enough. She [has a tendency to drift] left, so I was thinking to give myself a little bit of space to the last jump [set on a left-hand turn], but the second she landed [off the fence before], she was looking for the next jump. I just went with her, and it worked out.”

What’s more, a bit of bad luck early in the pair’s day ended up working in their favor. 

“I actually pulled a shoe in the schooling ring before the first round, so I had to move down to the end of the class. We were waiting, and she’s not really a horse that wants to wait around, so I was [thinking], ‘I hope she doesn’t get too antsy!’” Shulman exclaimed. “She kept it together, but then I was just thinking to give her the best ride [I could], because she was a little stressed out. I just [wanted to] make it easy and make it nice for her, which, honestly, she did for me more than I did for her! She’s amazing!”

Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Week CSIO5*/CSI2* at the Palm Beach Masters Series® concludes Sunday, Feb. 16, with the featured $230,000 CSIO5* Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ USA at 1:30pm ET.

Results: $36,600 Palm Beach Masters Classic CSIO5*
1- Sydney Shulman (ISR), Villamoura 0/36.61
2- Lucas Porter (USA), Hope Street 0/37.18
2- Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA), Venice Beach 0/37.91
4- Alexandra Thornton (GBR), Charielle 0/38.30
5- Nicolas Pizarro (MEX), Pia Contra 0/39.40
6- Carlos Hank Guerreiro (MEX), H5 Market Irminka 4/38.12
7- Schuyler Riley (USA), Quilimbo 4/38.83
8- Amanda Derbyshire (GBR), Luibanta BH 8/38.63
9- Roberto Teran Tafur (COL), Dez’ Ooktoff 1 73.98
10- Alexandra Thornton (GBR), Cornetto K 1 75.49
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