James Kann Cruz and Shane Sweetnam Score $125,000 Hagyard Lexington Grand Prix CSI3* at Kentucky Spring Horse Show

Shane Sweetnam and James Kann Cruz - Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

Edited Press Release

Lexington, KY – May 11, 2024 – It was all about speed and accuracy on Saturday night during the Kentucky Spring Horse Show’s main event, the $125,000 Hagyard Lexington Grand Prix CSI3*. A field of international athletes was narrowed down to 12 combinations for the jump-off, where only the fastest had shot at the podium. Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam galloped home with the winning prize aboard James Kann Cruz. They narrowly edged out Canada’s Tiffany Foster and Electrique, beating them by just 2/10ths of a second. Argentina’s Luis Pedro Biraben and Chacco Bumpy took home third place as one of the first to turn in a second clear effort.

“He’s very talented – he can be a little bit spirited, but I don’t mind that,” noted Sweetnam after his win. “I like that he really understands his job, so if I can keep him in the right place then he’ll do the rest. From the start, we’ve been a good match, so hopefully we can stay that way!”

Shane Sweetnam and James Kann Cruz with Hagyard Equine’s Dr. Karen Wolfsdorf and Dr. Nimet Browne. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

The Anderson Lima designed course tested riders from start to finish with a vertical-oxer-vertical triple combination by the gate followed by a triple bar. The final line was an oxer-vertical double combination with a direct line the final oxer towards the gate. Twelve riders were able to complete the first round without error, and the tiebreaker asked new questions, beginning with a new oxer to a vertical on an angle. It also featured the double combination and a long gallop from a single vertical to the final wide oxer away from the gate.

Luis Pedro Biraben and Chacco Bumpy – Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

Seven horses turned in a second clear round, with Biraben and Chacco Bumpy setting the early time to beat with a fault-free effort in 41.44 seconds. Their time held up until Foster and Electrique entered the Rolex Stadium and laid on the gas to break the beam in a very quick 40.83 seconds. The always speedy Sweetnam went one round later with his veteran partner James Kann Cruz. An inside path with a fast gallop early on in the course helped them make up time and they stayed on it through the final line to dash through the timers in 40.68 seconds, to just edge out Foster and lead the lap of honor at the end of the night.

Tiffany Foster and Electrique – Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

“He was quite handy coming inside the gazebo – I think that line and the line after I was quite quick,” explained Sweetnam. “That really got me a headstart to catch up with Tiffany. The last two I just kept coming a little bit, but nothing wild. I think it was early on the course that got it for me.”

Sweetnam has been riding James Kann Cruz, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, for three years, and is using the Kentucky Spring Horse Show as preparation for representing Ireland in the Nations Cup in Rome in a few short weeks. “It’s a great facility and they do a great job here, so we are happy to be back,” he concluded. “They have good footing, good atmosphere, and always have nice courses. Anderson did a good job with the course, so I just thought it’d be a good getting going. He hadn’t jumped since WEF 12, and I think it was a nice course.”

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.