Helios VD Nosahoeve and Alex Granato Fly to $62,500 Spring Classic CSI3* Victory at Kentucky Spring Horse Show

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Alex Granato and Helios VD Nosahoeve - Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

Edited Press Release

Lexington, KY – May 9, 2024 – FEI show jumping action took center stage on Thursday evening during the Kentucky Spring Horse Show as 40 horse and rider combinations gathered at the Rolex Stadium to vie for the winning prize in the $62,500 Spring Classic CSI3*. At the end of the night it was Alex Granato and Helios VD Nosahoeve who flew through the finish line to capture the victory. Granato and his veteran partner bested Canada’s Tiffany Foster and Electrique by a full second, while Spain’s Francisco Goyoaga Mollet and Onatella VD Vinkhoeve rounded out the top three in the international field.

“It’s a great feeling,” smiled Granato after his win. “I have my young horse here this week, but Helios has been my experienced horse over the last two years. It’s nice to be able to really count on him while I’m getting the young horse miles – it was a nice way to start the week with him.”

Course designer Anderson Lima tested riders with a technical 13-obstacle track that utilized the expansive Rolex Stadium. It featured an oxer-vertical combination early on, as well as a vertical-vertical-oxer triple combination before a final bending line towards home. Ten pairs advanced to the tiebreaker, which began over the first two fences, included the last part of the triple combination and introduced a new bending line as the final test to a wide oxer.

Francisco Goyoaga Mollet & Onatella VD Vinkhoeve – Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

Seven combinations were able to produce a second clear effort, and Mollet set the time to beat with Onatella VD Vinkhoeve, breaking the beam at 40.59 seconds with all the rails intact. It was not until the final two rounds that his time was beat. Granato picked up a fast gallop on his way to the first oxer with Helios VD Nosahoeve and found everything out of stride, making a quick rollback to a vertical in the middle of the ring before laying it all on the line down the final line. The risk paid off as he tripped the timers in 38.06 seconds to go straight to the top of the leaderboard. Foster and Electrique were the final pair to return, and they aimed to edge out Granato but fell just shy with a time of 39.41 seconds to slide into second place, just ahead of Mollet. Granato returned at the end of the night to lead the lap of honor with Helios VD Nosahoeve.

“I went late enough that I got to see pretty much everybody’s plan,” explained Granato. “I knew getting eight strides up the first line, which quite a few people did, would set him already up for a good pace. He was quite fresh tonight, but really with me rideability-wise. I could be fast and still choose where I wanted to be. The last two jumps came up really forward and smooth and he was really with me.”

Tiffany Foster & Electrique – Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

Helios VD Nosahoeve is a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Kisma Equestrian, who Granato has been riding for the last two years. “He was always a very talented horse, very scopey but not the most rideable,” noted Granato. “He had a very rangey stride but would be a bit heavy. I spent a lot of time really working on the rideability with a lot of dressage and flat work with little jumps. It’s made a huge difference in him over this winter because he won three or four 1.40-1.50m classes. I jumped him a couple weeks ago at the Invitational and he was very good in front of the crowd. He loved it and I think that energy is kind of carrying him into this week.”

Granato was happy to be back at the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows concluding, “I love it here. The spring shows have actually always been one of my favorites to come to and now I base my business here in the summer. The horses take a huge breath. It’s just nice with more space on the open fields, riding the horses out on the grass and then coming into these shows a little fresh off of Florida. They do a great job with these spring shows, so I’m looking forward to the next two weeks.”

The next event for Granato will be Saturday night’s $125,000 Hagyard Lexington Grand Prix CSI3*. FEI show jumping will continue next week during the Kentucky Spring Classic, which will feature another $62,500 Spring Classic CSI3* on Thursday, as well as the $125,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI3*, presented by Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. Riders can also compete each Sunday during the $35,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix, presented by Sterling Equestrian/Forest Hill and the $15,000 U25 Grand Prix.

For more information on the Kentucky Spring Series please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.