Shane Sweetnam (IRL) was the winner of the $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic with a brand new mount on Saturday during week four of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Guilherme Jorge (BRA) set the course for 38 entries in the morning's 1.50m, with four clear rounds, and a win for Sweetnam aboard The Blue Buckle Group's Buckle Up. WEF 4 concludes on Sunday, February 7, with a feature class, the $216,000 Ariat® Grand Prix CSI 4*, in the International Arena on the WEF show grounds at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
Cian O'Connor (IRL) was first to jump-off in the 1.50m riding Callisto, owned by Ian O'Grady, Philippe de Balander and Ronnoco Jump Ltd. The pair set the pace at 39.70 seconds, eventually settling for second place. David Blake (IRL) and Pine Hollow Farm's Binkie were next to go, dropping one rail in the short course to finish fourth in 44.95 seconds. Sweetnam and Buckle Up followed with the winning double clear in 38.93 seconds. Last to go, Jordan MacPherson (CAN) jumped into third place with one rail in a time of 39.57 seconds, riding Sved Stables' Aldine.
Buckle Up is a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Colandro x Caretino) that Sweetnam recently got the ride on. "It is a new horse. I have only had him two weeks," Sweetnam explained. "I bought two horses in a syndicate including Lisa Lourie, the Gilbertsons, the Devries, Paul Tracy, and myself. We are excited to get such a good result already."
Buckle Up was purchased from Norwegian rider Ole Meland and has shown in major Nations Cup and World Cup competitions. "He did a couple of 4* Nations Cups last year and he did the World Cup in Madrid in November, so he was ready to go and do this already," Sweetnam noted. "He is very careful. I am still getting to know him, but he makes life easy for you. He wants to leave the jumps up, and he is brave. He is nice to ride."
Commenting on the course and his winning jump-off round, Sweetnam detailed, "I thought Guilherme did a great job. The first round was nice. It was a full 1.50m; nothing stupid, but enough to make us pay attention. Then the jump-off, I was later to go of the four. I saw what Cian did, and I did what he did, just a little quicker. Then I just hoped that the last one did not beat me."
Buckle Up will jump again in next week's CSI 5* competition and possibly come out again during week seven. "I'm just getting to know him at the moment, so I just have to play it by ear, but hopefully we will do big things," Sweetnam concluded.
Source: Press release Equestrian Sport Productions News // Picture © Sportfot
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