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Capt. Brian Cournane captures win in CaptiveOne Advisors

Sunday, 17 February 2019
Winter Equestrian Festival 2019 – Week 6

Photo © Sportfot. Laura Southard of CaptiveOne Advisors and ringmaster Steve Rector with Capt. Brian Cournane and Penelope Cruz. Photo © Sportfot.

Capt. Brian Cournane of Ireland and his mount, Penelope Cruz (Ustinov x Peter Pan), topped a 40-horse starting field to win the $36,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Classic CSI3* held at the Derby Field at Equestrian Village on Saturday afternoon.

Cournane and the 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Stiller, were one of seven entries to advance to the jump-off after navigating the first-round, Ana Catalina “Catsy” Cruz Harris (MEX) designed course without fault. Time proved to be a bit of a factor over the opening course, with four additional entries kept from the jump off by just one time fault apiece.

When Cournane returned to the grass field midway through the jump-off order, the time to beat had been set at 45.25 seconds by Liza Finsness (USA) and her own longtime mount, Shiver (Stakkato x Grannus). Cournane and Penelope Cruz, however, swiftly took over the lead with a time of 44.89 seconds, and while three riders would follow Cournane, none would catch either he or Finsness, securing him the victory and Finsness the second-place honor. Finishing in third on a time 45.43 seconds were Mattias Tromp and Eyecatcher (Harley VDL x Orthos), owned by Beyaert Farm Inc.

“In the jump-off round, I tried to set a fast pace from the start, because really you were galloping jump to jump, and again, the course designer used the full field, which was really nice,“ said Cournane, who has had the ride on Penelope Cruz for the past year, after acquiring her from Ireland’s Darragh Kerins, who had produced the mare to that point.

“She’s a wonderful, generous mare,” said Cournane of his winning mount. “She’s quite a small mare. Looking at her in the stable, you think she’s a bit of a plain Jane, but when you get up and start jumping her, she’s a great horse. She’s only 16.1, but when you’re on her, she grows! She feels a lot bigger.”

Cournane has seen great success in the International Ring at PBIEC throughout the 2019 WEF season, including earning a top three finish in the $72,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI 2* during week two, but he enjoyed the change of venue at the Derby Field on Saturday.

“It’s wonderful out here because it’s just a nice, big field, and the horses love jumping on grass,” said Cournane. “I love jumping in the stadium as well, but this just gives us a bit of variety.”

Whether in the ring or on grass, Cournane has found that Penelope Cruz excels, and he is looking forward to the remainder of the circuit with the mare.

“She’s so confident on grass, indoors, outdoors,” said Cournane. “She’s great because she can win a class like this, and then she can also – if my other horses can’t jump the grand prix – she can go and jump the grand prix. I’d like to think there’s a grand prix win in her. I’d love to do that just for the mare because she’s such a good mare. I’d love to win a grand prix for her.”

Prior to Cournane’s win on Saturday, Ireland’s Daniel Coyle bested a field of 49 top under 25-year-old riders to win the $10,000 Hermès U25 Grand Prix Series Welcome CSI U25 aboard his own CHS Krooze.

Coyle, 24, and his nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare tripped the speed class timers in 64.67 seconds to take the win, while Brian Moggre (USA) and MTM Flutterby, owned by Major Wager LLC, finished just tenths of a second behind Coyle in 64.94 seconds to take second. Rounding out the top three were Alex Matz and Cashew CR, owned by D.D. Matz, with a time of 65.89 seconds.

WEF week six competition concludes on Sunday, February 17, with featured events of the day including the $25,000 Hermes U25 Grand Prix CSI U25, the $25,000 CP National Grand Prix, the $5,000 World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Adult Hunter Classic, and the $5,000 WCHR Junior 3’3” Hunter Classic.

Press release from Equestrian Sport Productions

Photo © Sportfot

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