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Team Eye Candy serves up success in the Desert

Sunday, 04 December 2022
CSI5* MLSJ Thermal 2022

Photo © ESI Photography. Team Eye Candy topped the podium in the second-to-last leg of MLSJ 2022. Photo © ESI Photography.


Press release from Desert International Horse Park



Team Eye Candy is hungry for another Major League Show Jumping title, and they made that very clear during the $200,000 Whittier Trust MLSJ CSI5* Team Competition. The team has been behind Helios all season long, but they made the competition that much closer Saturday of Desert Holiday I, taking the second-to-last title of the 2022 season of the tour.

Eye Candy put in a completely clear slate in round one, joining Lugano Diamonds, Spy Coast Spies, and Trailblazers in the top four, with the advantage of going late in the second round. Conor Swail (IRL) with Theo 160 and Amy Millar (CAN) with Christiano put in the fastest combined times with no rails to add, putting them in pole position for the gold medal.

In the final round, Natalie Dean (USA) of Lugano and Paul O’Shea (IRL) of Eye Candy went head to head in the gold medal matchup. Dean and Cocolina pulled one rail to add three seconds to their final time, but stayed on the pace. O’Shea knew what he had to do, and got some wise words from Swail heading into the ring.

Photo © ESI Photography. Conor Swail and Theo 160. Photo © ESI Photography.

“He had to go quick enough still,” Swail said of his advice to his fellow countryman. “[Squirt Gun] is relatively fast, so he had to have a good, tidy round. The horse was awesome and so was Paul, so it worked out well.”

O’Shea’s time of 42.65 seconds sealed the deal and handed Eye Candy their third win of the 2022 season.

“It’s been a good season,” Swail continued. “Look at us now; we’re three points behind [the lead]. We feel like we could have done a little better here and there but we’ve had a lot of podium finishes. We always have a good plan going into it and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Thankfully, more often than not it does with the horses and riders we have.”

Photo © ESI Photography. Paul O’Shea and Squirt Gun. Photo © ESI Photography.

Millar, who hasn’t jumped for the team the past few events, is happy to be back on the roster and back at DIHP. “I really enjoy coming here,” she said. “The footing on this field is fantastic. It gives back to the horses. My horses feel like they have springs in their shoes. Everyone is so nice. The car racing was amazing. It’s quite a treat to come out here for this event and Major League really treats us well, as does this horse show.”

O’Shea was named the leading rider of the 2021 season, along with the team title just one year ago, so he is optimistic about the team’s chances heading into next week’s final. “It’s great we have a realistic chance now. It’s going to make it more exciting, so that’s good for the whole league. We’ll be doing our best,” he said.

Photo © ESI Photography. Amy Millar and Christiano. Photo © ESI Photography.

The league points are now close enough that Team Helios is breaking a sweat. Helios, who placed fifth in Saturday’s team event, is sitting on 64 points with Eye Candy on 61, so it all comes down to what happens in the final, set for Thursday, December 8.

The $217,200 Whittier Trust MLSJ CSI5* Grand Prix concludes the first week of Major League Show Jumping at DIHP on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

Final Results: $200,000 Whittier Trust CSI5* MLSJ Team Competition

1. SQUIRT GUN: 2011 OS gelding by Diarado x Quick Star
PAUL O’SHEA (IRL), Eye Candy Jumpers: 0/42.65

1. CHRISTIANO: 2012 BRAND gelding by Canoso x Compliment
AMY MILLAR (CAN), Future Adventures: 0/41.14

1. THEO 160: 2012 HOLST gelding by Christian 25 x Calando IV
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Team Philippaerts: 0/40.39

2. GAKHIR: 2011 KWPN gelding by Spartacus TN x Labor’s VDL Indorado
ERYNN BALLARD (CAN), Ilan Ferder: 0/41.33

2. AUSTRIA 2: 2008 HOLST mare by Casall x San Patrignano Corrado
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Take The High Road, LLC: 4/44.39

2. COCOLINA: 2011 OS mare by Conthargos x Papillon Rouge
NATALIE DEAN (USA), Marigold Sporthorses LLC: 0/43.31

3. AGANA VAN HET GERENDAL Z: 2011 ZANG stallion by Aganix Du Seigneur x Naminka
LILLIE KEENAN (USA), Chansonette Farm LLC: 0/42.23

3. VICK DU CROISY: 2009 SF mare by Mylord Carthago x Vondeen
LUIS GONCALVES (POR), Sigma Stables LLC: 0/44.34

3. CHIC CHIC: 2011 WESTF stallion by Comme Il Faut x Contendro
DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Vlock Show Stables LLC: 0/40.96

4. HUBERTH B: 2012 KWPN gelding by Verdi TN x Mr. Blue
RODRIGO LAMBRE (BRA), Ilan Ferder: 4/45.54

4. ROYCE: 2004 OS stallion by Cafe Au Lait x Grandilot
MARGIE ENGLE (USA), Gladewinds Partners, LLC: 0/41.40

4. PICADOR: 2007 AES gelding by Lupicor x Concorde
JORDAN COYLE (IRL), Elan Farm: 0/42.91

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