World of Showjumping
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Pals gets motivated for CSI2* Wyndham St John Memorial Grand Prix

Sunday, 26 May 2024
CSI2* Vancouver 2024

Photo ©tbird/Kim Gaudry. Johnny Pal (NED) and Chacco's Girl. Photo ©tbird/Kim Gaudry.


Press release from Thunderbird Show Park

Johnny Pals (NED) has been carefully managing Chacco’s Girl’s schedule, and he decided that if the jump-off got too large in the CSI2* Wyndham St John Memorial Grand Prix 1.45m, he’d save his mount for another day.

After jumping a beautiful first round clear, Pals’ friend Matthew Sampson (GBR) approached him ahead of a 10-horse jump-off. “He said, ‘Johnny, you have to go for it.’ So we made a strategy to do it, and it worked out today,” Pals said.

Pals admitted, he wasn’t sure how fast he was going when he returned for the jump-off over Gregory Bodo’s (FRA) short track, but things went to plan, and he hoped it was good enough. “I was fast enough to win the Grand Prix, so that’s good,” he said.

Photo ©tbird/Kim Gaudry. Johnny Pal (NED) and Chacco's Girl. Photo ©tbird/Kim Gaudry.

The winning time was 34.09 seconds. Conor Swail (IRL) finished second with My Lady Lavista (34.27s), followed by Kyle King (USA) and Ezio de Emeraud (34.73s). 

“She’s a super jumper,” Pals said of his mount, a 13-year-old Oldenburg mare by Chacco-Blue. “She’s super sweet and wants to do a good job. She’s careful and has all the scope. I just fell in love with her.”

Pals has been paired with Chacco’s Girl since last fall; he now owns the mare in partnership with Karel Cox. Previously campaigned by Georgia Tame (GBR) up to the five-star level, the mare has jumped throughout Europe, but tbird’s Canadian Premier marked her first international competition in North America.

“[Another] good friend, Darragh Kenny said, ‘Come to America,’ so I made a plan,” Pals said. “I’d jumped all the shows in Europe already, so I wanted to do something new and see some new people, and I think it’s nice to do.”

Pals is now Canadian based until December, and when he returns to Europe, he’ll have a new base for his stable in Belgium. “We have a big stable at home. We have a lot of horses, and [my wife] organizes everything at home,” he shared. “It’s very exciting. Next week, the horses move in [to the new stable].”

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