By Emily Kerr
Forty-one pairs put forward their best efforts Thursday afternoon against Course Designer Alan Wade’s (IRE) twelve obstacle course in the $30,000 FarmVet Grand Prix. Of the original pool, eight pairs rode fault free to advance into the jump-off and it was Australia’s Katie Laurie who captured the top spot aboard Cera Caruso with a time of 38.599 seconds.
In second place, posting a time of 39.233 seconds in the jump-off, was Hanna Mauritzson (SWE) and Parkmore Lux, owned by Ritz Fuente LLC. Landing third place, and setting the initial Roeckl Gloves Time To Beat in the jump-off, was Laurie with her own Casebrooke Lomond for their time of 39.266 seconds.
“Cera Caruso – he’s known as Elvis at home – he’s a really cool horse. I’ve ridden him for some really good New Zealand owners for a few years now. He’s super careful and fast,” shared Laurie. “He actually jumped really good in the Grand Prix last week; we missed week one because we came down a little bit late, so I thought I would give him a start this week as well. It was pretty good for him because he enjoyed it.”
Right before Laurie’s winning round, Mauritzson took over Laurie’s original Roeckl Gloves Time To Beat by thirty-three one thousandths of a second. Last in, Laurie and Cera Caruso were able to shave off 0.634 seconds off Mauritzon’s time and take the lead.
“It was a really nice course, I thought it was good for the Grand Prix today,” noted Laurie. “The jump-off was a really nice jump-off. You could make up time in different places and slice vertices where you wanted. The horses, with Alan [Wade]’s courses, jump better and better the more they jump them.”
Originally from New Zealand, but riding for Australia, Laurie has appreciation for her roots down under. “Australia has a really good circuit and a really good group of riders […] The riders there are so competitive. Even when you’re just in a normal class, to win money you have to jump clear and go fast,” Laurie reminisced. “It’s a really good place to bring up horses and it’s good competition. I think anyone who comes now from Australia actually has quite a good shot at doing well because they have such a good starting ground back there.”
Junior competitor Carlee McCutcheon (USA) rode her own MTM Unexpected to win the $1,000 AIG U25 Classic, held as an overlay to the $30,000 FarmVet Grand Prix. The pair also claimed fourth place in the Grand Prix for her time of 39.485 seconds.
“MTM Unexpected – we got him from Mike and Tracy McCormick when he was seven and he is ten this year,” shared McCutcheon. “We have just grown up together. I did all my first junior jumper classes on him and he has just been great.”
Walking the course, McCutcheon noted the lines walked on the shorter side. “It’s sort of perfect for my horse, who has a big stride. Everything just showed up the way I wanted it to and he was right there to help me out. I was super nervous for sure but I am always confident riding him because we know each other so well.”