Edited Press Release
The Lugano Diamonds Split Rock Jumping Tour (SRJT) welcomed a packed house to the Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas on Saturday night for the $250,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Fort Worth CSI4*-W, presented by Lugano Diamonds.
Much to the delight of the crowd, athletes put forth an exciting second round with a risky rollback at play that would knock the Irish off their winning streak and ultimately see the youngest contender of the night, 19-year-old Skylar Wireman (USA) secure her first FEI Jumping World Cup™ win with her own Tornado (Diarado x Chacco-Blue).
Athletes from eight nations would contest Anderson Lima’s (BRA) 16-effort first-round track with six pairs navigating the challenge fault-free. More than one-third of the class would dislodge the penultimate fence on course, a 1.65m liverpool vertical just out of the corner seven strides from North American League oxer at the last.
Several pairs would also incur penalties in the combinations, with a majority of those rails coming at the “B” element of the triple (vertical-oxer-vertical) combination and the “A” element of the double (oxer-vertical) combination.
Third to go in round one, Jill Humphrey (USA) delivered the first clear round of the night to lead the way in the jump-off aboard Branscomb Farms LLC’s Chromatic BF (Connor x Concept 2). She opened the door for an impressive pace, taking a tight turn from the oxer at fence 3 inside of unused elements on the course to a new vertical for round two. While her risk paid off for the quickest time of the night in 34.69 seconds, it was also costly as she picked up four faults at the oxer following the inside turn.
Wireman entered next with a plan to match Humphrey’s track, but realized it wouldn’t be possible after leaving a stride out to the oxer ahead of the inside turn. Her quick change in plan ultimately earned Wireman the advantage with a clear round to take the lead in 36.54 seconds.
With favorable odds after each earning an FEI win earlier in the week, Irishmen Shane Sweetnam with RR Combella and Darragh Kenny aboard VDL Cartello followed, attempting the inside turn but both earned faults along the way. Nicolas Gamboa (COL) opted to follow Wireman’s outside track and seemed to be just on her heels, but fell just off the pace as he clocked in with NKH Mr. Darcy in 36.79 seconds.
Texas local Colleen Acosta (USA) was the final to challenge with a close time of 36.99 aboard Lancome, but it would come at the expense of the final rail. Wireman would maintain the lead to earn her biggest career win, while Gamboa finished in second place and Humphrey in third.
“It doesn’t feel real – it’s incredible,” Wireman remarked on her win. “[Tornado] is incredible and every time we’ve jumped a bigger track he’s just jumped better and better. We started in the 1.45m six months ago and it was his first 1.45m so I did not expect this at all but here we are.”
The pair has been in great form ever since, finishing top-8 in the $226,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Las Vegas CSI4*-W in November and earning second place on Thursday in the $80,000 Lugano Diamonds 1.50m Welcome CSI4*-W.
Saturday’s event concluded the last leg of 2023 for the North American League, with two legs remaining in 2024 ahead of the FEI Jumping World Cup™ Finals in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The competition also fueled the excitement and atmosphere of Fort Worth as the city looks to host the FEI Jumping World Cup™ and FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final just around the corner at Dickies Arena in 2026.