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Shane Sweetnam and Irandole du Flot save the best for last in the CSIO5* Derby Région des Pays de la Loire

Saturday, 08 June 2024
CSIO5* Jumping International de La Baule 2024

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Shane Sweetnam and Irandole du Flot won the CSIO5* 1.50m Derby Region des Pays de la Loire in La Baule. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ.


Text © World of Showjumping



As the last pair out, Ireland's Shane Sweetnam – current world number nine – and the 10-year-old Irandole du Flot (Vivaldi du Seigneur x Ogano Sitte) snatched the win in Saturday's CSIO5* 1.50m Derby Region des Pays de la Loire from Switzerland's Steve Guerdat and Easy Star de Talma (Quick Star x Opium de Talma). 

As the first clear round in the class with a time of 140.54 seconds, Guerdat and Easy Star de Talma were holding the lead until Sweetnam and Irandole du Flot entered the ring at the packed François André Stadium. Stopping the clock on 137.97 seconds, the Irish rider pushed Guerdat to the runner-up spot, while Great Britain's Lily Attwood and Johnnie Walker (Harley VDL x Numero Uno) finished third as the fastest four-faulters. 

"Obviously it is an advantage," Sweetnam explained to World of Showjumping about his position to go last, knowing that Guerdat was the only clear. "However, my horse had never done a derby, so you don't actually know. She is a careful and smart horse, she is very aware of everything, but until you do it you cannot know if they spook or not. Inside, as we went along and got to the start of it, I felt like we were on, so I tried to keep the pace up as much as I could. My feeling coming towards to the end was that we were up in time, so I took an extra check to the last – and it worked out fine."

"They do an amazing job here with the show," Sweetnam said about the beautiful French venue. "I think it is my tenth time here. La Baule was my first international show back in the day when I came from America and I have always loved coming back here. The derby – if you have the right horse – is a special class. Honestly, for the young riders, if they have a horse for it, they should try to do it as it is great experience." 

"Derby classes are great and I wish we had more of them," second-placed Guerdat told World of Showjumping. "You have to come well trained, but I think the horses like it and the audience does enjoy them as well. My horse jumped great and I am very happy with him, even though we did not win." 


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