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Shane Sweetnam and Alejandro claim $140,000 Hagyard Grand Prix CSI3* at Kentucky Spring Horse Show

Sunday, 15 May 2022
CSI3* Kentucky Horse Show 2022

Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography. Shane Sweetnam and Alejandro. Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography.


Press release from Kentucky Spring Horse Show


Jumper competition at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show reached its pinnacle on Saturday night with $140,000 Hagyard Grand Prix CSI3* in the Rolex Stadium. 38 horse-and-athlete combinations gathered to vie for the victory and the lion’s share of the prize money, and ultimately it was Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam aboard Alejandro who was triumphant in the competitive field at the conclusion of the jump-off. 

The Grand Prix CSI3* course, expertly laid out by course designer Oscar Soberon (USA), challenged riders to navigate their mounts through a technical first round course if they were to add their names to the jump-off list. After each of the combinations had tried their hand at the track, just five made it through to the second round unscathed. 

First to return to the Rolex Stadium for the shortened course was Jessica Mendoza on her own Play, a 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding. The combination set the pace for the remaining riders with a lightning fast 42.06 seconds, leaving all the rails up around the tight track. James Arkins on his own EuroStar 1, a 10-year-old Stallion, was the next contender, also making it clear over the course but tripped the timers in 45.78 seconds, unable to beat Mendoza’s speedy time. Santiago Lambre and his 11-year-old Westfalian mare Comtess 202 attempted to unseat her as well, successfully besting Arkin’s time in 44.01 seconds but having two unfortunate rails that would knock him out of the running for top three. Conor O’Regan and Dynomite Ranch LLC’s Medini Dr. were hot on Lambre’s heels across the timers in 44.59 seconds, but also accumulated 8 jumping faults and ultimately settled for a fifth place finish.

Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography. Shane Sweetnam and Alejandro. Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography.

One of the last into the ring, Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam on Sweet Oak Farm, Paul Tracy, and Spy Coast Farm’s Alejandro, a 13-year-old Rheinlander gelding, set their sights on beating Mendoza and Play’s time with a careful but quick jump-off round. Taking strategic risks that paid off in the end, the pair clinched the victory at the end of the night with a double-clear effort and a second round time of 40.33 seconds, more than two seconds quicker than the next combination on the scoreboard. Mendoza took home the second place ribbon on Play, while Arkins and EuroStar 1 finished in third place.

Jumper competition at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show will conclude on Sunday, May 15, with the Low Amateur Jumper Classic at 7:30 a.m. The Commonwealth Grand Prix, set to start at 1:45 p.m. will wrap up competition in the Rolex Stadium for the week. 

FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE: Shane Sweetname – $140,000 Hagyard Grand Prix CSI3* Winner

On his strategy:
“I just wanted to jump clear on the first round, the way the class started I thought there were going to be a good few clear, but it settled down and there weren’t so many. It was a nice first round, he jumped well and relaxed which I was happy with. The course designer did a great job of having it be that number. There were not too many big scores so I thought he did a good job for both sets of riders. 

On being last in the jump-off:
“The jump-off, being last to go I knew what I had to do. The last Grand Prix in Miami, we were second. We were early in the draw that day, so today I didn’t want to leave it there. I know he’s a quick horse, so we were quick at the start, slowed down for the double and was quick again to the last, and luckily it worked out.”

On his upcoming competition plans:
“He’s going to Vancouver in two weeks, next week I jump my younger horse, Hollywood. She has done a couple 3*s and I am hoping she can get some good experience and maybe be competitive as well. It’s a great venue for her and to jump under the lights is great.”

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