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Julie Welles and Shane Sweetnam jumps to victory on opening day of 2014 American Gold Cup CSI4*-W

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Julie Welles and Twan. Photo by Emily Riden/Phelps Media Group.The 2014 edition of the American Gold Cup CSI4*-W kicked off today at Old Salem Farm, and from the perfectly manicured jump field to the phenomenal weather and the equally phenomenal competition, there was no place better to be horse showing today - particularly if you were Julie Welles or Shane Sweetnam.

Welles and Sweetnam each rode away with victories in the $8,000 Danbury Porsche Audi 1.40m Open Jumpers. With over 100 entries, the 1.40m class was run as two split sections on the Grand Prix Field at Old Salem Farm. Welles earned the top call in the morning's first section aboard Twan and Sweetnam and Bijzonder finished with the blue ribbon in the second section.

Welles and Twan, co-owned by Stephex Stables and Missy Clark of Warren, VT, were one of 22 pairs to go clear over the first Alan Wade designed course and advance immediately to the jump-off course. As one of the last to go, Welles and Twan's time of 30.478 seconds just edged out second place finishers Laura Kraut and Wilhelmus, owned by Graham Fletcher, who had a time of 30.534 seconds.

It was a tight race at the top of the list; third place finishers Beat Mandli and Grant Road Partners LLC's (New York, NY) Zaza Harvey were just hundredths of a second behind Kraut and Wilhelmus, tripping the timers at 30.572 seconds.

"The jump-off was a lot of fun," Welles said. "It was a nice gallop and a rollback and a nice long gallop to the last. You just had to pick and choose how tight you turned and what kind of a direct line you wanted. I was fast enough so it worked for me!"

Welles has had the successful ride on Twan all summer after the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding came to North Run following the 2014 winter circuit in Florida. The pair earned a grand prix victory at the Vermont Summer Festival Horse Shows, and they have been extremely consistent since.

"He's so much fun. He just goes in there and tries his hardest to leave the poles up, go fast and do whatever you want," Welles said. "He has a massive stride. So once you get your gallop, you can kind of hear him counting the strides for you. Once you pick up that canter you know you're good to go. As long as you aim him at the right jump and tell him where to go, he just does it for you."

In addition to compliments for her mount, Welles had nothing but complimentary things to say about the American Gold Cup itself. "I think we have to give Stadium Jumping a huge thank you for throwing this event. They do a fantastic job putting on this show," Welles said. "It's a delight to come here. It's relaxing; it's beautiful, and they do everything to please the exhibitor."

Welles continued, "I love going out on the grass field. There aren't that many grass fields that you get to go out on, and it's nice to do it, especially when the horses jump so well off of it."

Sweetnam, who won the same class on last year's opening day of the American Gold Cup, is also quick to compliment the show and the continuous improvements he sees it making each year. "It's a great show. They've put in a lot of effort in the last couple years to make this a really high standard show," Sweetnam said. "It's maybe one of the best in America at the moment."

He is also quick to compliment his winning mount today, 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Bijzonder. "He's been doing very well this year. I'm very happy with where he's at at the moment," Sweetnam said. "He's already won on grand prix in Kentucky, and he placed well in the Hamptons. He's going to do the [$100,000 Hermès American Gold Cup Qualifier] class on Friday, which will probably be his biggest class yet. I'm not sure he'll be competitive this Friday, but it will be a good opportunity for him to learn."

Finishing in second behind Sweetnam, it was again Laura Kraut. This time she took the second place position aboard Woodstock O, owned by Treesdale Farms in Carmel, IN.

All competition will be webcast live throughout the week at www.theamericangoldcup.com, and more information can be found by visiting the website.

$8,000 Danbury Porsche Audi 1.40m Open Jumper Results


Section 1:

PLACE ENTRY # HORSE NAME RIDER NAME JF1 TF1 AF1 TIME 1 JF2 TF2 AF2 TIME 2

1 461 TWAN JULIE WELLES 0 0 0 0.000 0 0 0 30.478

2 256 WILHELMUS LAURA KRAUT 0 0 0 0.000 0 0 0 30.534

3 111 ZAZA HARVEY BEAT MANDLI 0 0 0 0.000 0 0 0 30.572

4 623 BALLY QUIRKE TIP TOP ANDREW BOURNS 0 0 0 0.000 0 0 0 30.697

5 158 CHAQUI Z SHANE SWEETNAM 0 0 0 0.000 0 0 0 31.311

6 336 SKARA GLEN'S SIENNA PAUL O'SHEA 0 0 0 0.000 0 0 0 31.623

7 379 QUI VIVE DE SONGESZ HEATHER CARISTO-WILLIAMS 0 0 0 0.000 0 0 0 31.810

8 269 DOBRA DE PORCEYO SCHUYLER RILEY 0 0 0 0.000 0 0 0 32.135

9 552 WANNICK WH CHRISTINE MCCREA 0 0 0 0.000 0 0 0 32.392

10 650 RMF VIVA COLOMBIA CHRISTOPH SCHROEDER 0 0 0 0.000 0 0 0 32.685

11 103 WASHINGTON SQUARE GEORGINA BLOOMBERG 0 0 0 0.000 0 0 0 33.935

12 102 LILLI GEORGINA BLOOMBERG 0 0 0 0.000 0 0 0 34.950

Section 2:

PLACE ENTRY # HORSE NAME RIDER NAME JF1 TF1 AF1 TIME 1 JF2 TF2 AF2 TIME 2

1 156 BIJZONDER SHANE SWEETNAM 0 0 0 0.000 0 0 0 31.946

2 701 WOODSTOCK O LAURA KRAUT 0 0 0 0.000 0 0 0 32.255

3 553 ZERLY CHRISTINE MCCREA 0 0 0 0.000 0 0 0 33.440

4 200 LYONELL CARA RAETHER 0 0 0 62.330 0 0 0 33.672

5 790 CASPER LORCAN GALLAGHER 0 0 0 0.000 0 0 0 35.151

6 165 RECORD DE PLEVILLE SHANE SWEETNAM 0 0 0 0.000 0 0 0 38.350

7 493 QUIDAM MB LAURA KRAUT 0 0 0 0.000 0 0 0 39.590

8 132 ACORTE AUDREY COULTER 0 0 0 0.000 0 0 0 39.994

9 528 WAOMI MEAGAN NUSZ 0 0 66.660 98 0 98 0.000

10 496 NOVEMBER ALEXA LOWE-WISEMAN 0 0 0 66.660 WITHDR

11 262 BALLADE VAN HET INDIHOF BRIANNE GOUTAL 0 0 0 66.660 0 0 WITHDR 1.000

12 624 CASPER ANDREW BOURNS 0 0 0 66.660 0 0 WITHDR 32.255

Source: Press release from Phelps Media Group Inc.

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