Edited Press Release
The Lugano Diamonds Split Rock Jumping Tour (SRJT) returned to the Kentucky Horse Park to kick off the 2022 tour schedule, highlighted by CSI3* and 2* jumper competition for the first week of the Split Rock Hunter Jumper series. Friday saw Caelinn Leahy climb to the top of the podium in the $50,000 Equestrian Closet 1.50m Welcome CSI3* aboard Steve Schaefer’s Coldplay 31 (Cassini II x Phantom).
Anderson Lima’s first-round track was set at a height of 1.50m and asked athletes to deliver a flawless round over 16 efforts. First to deliver a clear round was Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam, after the time allowed was adjusted up to 83 seconds. Six riders followed suit to set the stage for an exciting jump-off competition.
Sweetnam set the second-round pace early at a time of 39.02 seconds, seemingly leaving little room for error until Leahy (USA) tried her hand aboard Coldplay 31. The pair made up time thanks to the 13-year-old gelding’s naturally fast stride that was well suited to the jump-off track. As second to go in the order, no other athletes would come close to their time of 36.85 to help seal Leahy’s second FEI victory of the week.
“I’ve had Coldplay in my string for the past year and a half. He’s been an amazing horse for me and really helped me evolve as a rider…We’ve always clicked, but it’s really cool to see our evolution over the past year. This time last year I had a great split Rock show too, so it’s cool to see it come full circle with this week’s results,” Leahy commented.
“Split Rock in general is always an amazing show. My horses really love showing here – being at the [Kentucky Horse Park] and the way Derek [Braun] runs this show and facilitates the horses. I’m feeling great and I’m so grateful for how this show has started out and I’m excited to see how it goes.”
Ultimately finishing in second was Sweetnam with Birdy Du Thot, while Nicole Shahinian-Simpson (USA) and Akuna Mattata rounded out the podium.
Earlier in the day, 44 athletes from 11 nations tried their hand in the $37,000 C. Jarvis 1.45m Welcome CSI2*, but Ireland ruled the pack as Richie Moloney and Huzaar stole the victory after a competitive jump-off.
Lima’s 16-effort track saw a total of 16 athletes going clear with all electing to jump off. First to set the pace was Heather Caristo-Williams (USA) aboard Dionysos De La Vigne, holding the lead for the next eight trips.
Ireland’s Simon McCarthy was the first to overtake the long-held lead from Caristo-Williams as he shaved off nearly two seconds, crossing the timers with Rock Ridge Farm’s Gotcha in 39.11 seconds. However, it wouldn’t be long until it became a battle of the Irish as Darragh Kerins and Intuitive narrowly took the lead by half of a second to finish in 38.77. As the last to go Moloney sealed an all-Irish podium, edging ahead with a time of 38.06 to take the win aboard the 10-year-old gelding by Untouched.
While the jumpers dominated the Walnut Ring, top hunter competition heated up in the Rolex Stadium with the $20,000 Platinum Performance USHJA International Derby Regional Championship where Augusta Iwasaki and Small Kingdom put in an impressive handy round to secure the victory.
Iwasaki entered the handy round in the second position, having scored a 183 in the first round just behind Greg Crolick who led with Chappy on a score of 185.5. She impressed the judges with Small Kingdom, taking advantage of all four high options and earning a matching pair of nine handy bonus points from each panel. Combined with base scores of 95 from panel one and 91 from panel two, Iwasaki’s handy round total of 212 catapulted her into the lead with an overall score of 395.
Victoria Colvin and Jordantinus settled for second place with a two-round total of 378, while Kelley Farmer and Meaningful finished in third on 374.5.