The Lugano Diamonds Split Rock Jumping Tour (SRJT) capped off its week in Paso Robles, California with the $100,000 Lugano Diamonds 1.45m Grand Prix CSI2*. After a six-horse jump-off, Karrie Rufer (USA) and Stern dei Folletti (Toulon x Berlin), owned by Morning Star Sporthorses, emerged on top upon navigating Anderson Lima’s (BRA) first and second round tracks without fault. This win marks Rufer’s second grand prix victory on this year’s tour after taking the win in the $75,000 Lugano Diamonds National Grand Prix at Split Rock Portland 1.
Sunday’s feature competition saw 43 combinations tackle the 16-effort course. The first clear came from the winner of both Thursday’s $10,000 Morning Star Sporthorses 1.40m Speed CSI2* and Friday’s $38,700 1.45m Welcome CSI2*, Cassio Rivetti, (BRA), this time with his own and Monarch Farms’ Edesa’s Vidal 8. Horse-and-rider combinations fell victim to various areas of the course, with the most trouble coming at fence four, a large oxer just out of the corner near the ingate; the Dalman flower triple combination (vertical-oxer-vertical); and the double combination (oxer-vertical) at the penultimate obstacle, with only five more pairs finding their way to a fault-free round.
The shortened course consisted of eight jumping efforts, including the addition of a new jump, the Lugano Diamonds vertical at fence 15. Rivetti and Edesa’s Vidal 8 set a quick pace as the first to go in the jump-off and the first to go double-clear, crossing the timers in 36.05 seconds. Rufer followed just after aboard Stern dei Folletti, utilizing a strong gallop that allowed her to leave out strides between the first two fences and to the final fence to take over the lead in 35.59 seconds. Rivetti had one more opportunity to overtake Rufer and maintain his domination of FEI competition with his twice-winning partner, Nadale Van Dorperheide, owned by Ilan Ferder. The duo gave a promising run that came close to Rufer’s time, but ultimately fell just three-hundredths of a second short, clocking in at 35.62 to finish in second place. Rivetti would also claim third place with Edesa’s Vidal 8.
“I walked the jump-off and thought I had a plan, talked about it with a couple of other riders, and I thought my plan was right – but then I saw Cassio go and I walked in the ring thinking ‘I’m changing everything,’” commented Rufer on today’s competitive second round. “Cassio is such a good executor of plans like that and obviously he believed in his horse, so I thought ‘I should believe in mine too’ and we may as well go for it while we’re here. Luckily my horse was with me the whole way and let me make adjustments…he’s always game for anything.”
“I love Split Rock. They always make such a good production out of any facility they come to. Derek [Braun] always does a great job and I’ve always had good luck at his shows. I won my first-ever 2* at a Split Rock show so it will always hold a special place in my heart,” Rufer concluded.
SRJT heads next to Lexington, Kentucky for three weeks of competition from September 20th through October 8th for the Kentucky National and Split Rock Hunter Jumper Fall 1 & 2 CSI3*. All of the weeks will include hunter and equitation classes for all levels, and each counts towards eligibility for the $300,000 Split Rock Championship Series in Sarasota, Florida next January.