Alex Granato and Helios vd Nosahoeve Grab First in $63,000 CSI4* Welcome Stake

A clear blue sky and mild Michigan weather set the stage at Flintfields Horse Park on Friday afternoon for the $63,000 Traverse City Horse Shows CSI4* Welcome Stake, a highlight of the second week at the Spring Series, presented by Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel. From a 10-horse jump-off, Alex Granato (USA) led an all-American victory gallop after clocking in the best time aboard Helios vd Nosahoeve.

Bernardo Costa Cabral (POR) built a course true to form for the experience level of the 34 combinations that contested his first-round track. Granato was one of only a few contenders with a single horse to return, but quickly put the pressure on after leaving all rails in the cups in a tidy time of 36.21 seconds.

Alex Granato & Helios vd Nosahoeve are presented as winners by Matt Morrissey of Traverse City Horse Shows. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“We’ve been building a partnership for a while, but he’s become truly consistent in the last six months,” explained Granato of the 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion (Numero Uno x London) owned by Michigan-based Kisma Equestrian, LLC. “He’s always been super talented but inexperienced and he can be a bit spooky, which works to his advantage in the ring as he’s brave, but he gets distracted by things going on outside. Getting to know him and playing with how he reacts to things has been a fun process.”

Several in the field fought to overthrow the leading time from Granato by leaving a stride out in the final line. However, the move repeatedly proved to be a costly choice as the final fence tumbled from the cups.

“I went in the middle of the pack, but I didn’t really care when I went because my plan for him was pretty set,” Granato detailed. “I wanted to lay down the best plan I could for today and I figured it may not be the winner, but he was quite fast and turned well with me today, so they ended up having to chase me a bit. There were several faster than me after, but they had a rail as they went on to leave the stride out at the end.”