World of Showjumping
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Simon McCarthy and Gotcha with Friday's biggest win at CSI4*-W Live Oak International

Saturday, 16 March 2024
CSI4*-W Live Oak International 2024

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Ireland's Simon McCarthy and Gotcha took the top honours in Friday's CSI4*-W 1.55m Live Oak International Qualifier. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ.


Text © World of Showjumping



The 2024-edition of Live Oak International in Ocala, USA, got underway on Friday and it was Ireland's Simon McCarthy and Gotcha (Stakkato x Cassini I) that took the top honours in the CSI4*-W 1.55m Live Oak International Qualifier. 

Counting for the Longines Ranking Group D, the 1.55m Table A competition – a qualifier for the Longines Grand Prix – saw 40 horse-and-rider-combinations line up for the challenge set by the German course designer Olaf Petersen Jr., with fifteen of them delivering a clear. 

McCarthy and the 13-year-old Gotcha clocked the winning time of 64.50, followed by Daniel Coyle (IRL) and Incredible (Clinton x Heartbreaker) in second in 66.90, while Lucas Porter (USA) and Vigakata (Vigo d'Arsouilles x Stakkato) placed third in 68.50. 

“I just have to say a massive thanks to her [Gotcha]," McCarthy said. "She gave me a 120%, all I can say is thank you to her. She's been a horse of a lifetime to me and she has given me a lot of firsts. I am just delighted with how she came up here, it’s our first time here and she performed so well. I came to Live Oak International aiming for this class with her and whenever you achieve your goals it’s always a really special feeling. Having had her for three years now, she's only gone from strength to strength."

"Olaf is actually one of my favourite course designers, I think he is incredibly smart," McCarthy commented on Friday's course. "It was decently tall, the oxers weren't too wide – which suited me –and there were a couple of options where you could do a leave-out and with the footing here being so amazing, those leave-outs were actually quite easy in the end. There was the combination, the last double of verticals was quite tall, and towards the end of the course you had to give a big effort there and keep the shape, so I am very, very happy with my mare that she was able to finish very strong." 

"I think that could be the first time I've ever pipped Daniel in a big class," McCarthy smiled about the Irish one-two finish. 

Sean Jobin (CAN) and Coquelicot vh Heuvelland Z (Catoki x Cassini II) finished fourth in 68.80, and Alessandra Volpi (USA) aboard Gracieux du Pachis (Tinka's Boy x Caretino) fifth in 69.46. 


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