Shane Sweetnam (IRL) wasn’t going to let the summer pass without a big victory. This one came in Thursday’s $37,000 CSI3* Corcoran Group Speed aboard Alejandro, a horse no stranger to the winner’s circle.
Sweetnam had two rides out of the 36 starting entries in Thursday’s class. Over a track built by Germany’s Olaf Petersen, Jr., the Irish rider piloted Caraghs Quality Lady, owned by Anna Beth Athey, to an early lead after clocking in at 65.45 seconds. His lead would hold strong until he returned to the ring 32nd in the order aboard Alejandro, the 13-year-old Rhinelander gelding (Acorado’s Ass x Continue) he owns with Seabrook LLC and Spy Coast Farm.
Putting his own time to the test, Sweetnam raced around the long, windy track and shaved off just below half a second which set a new time-to-beat of 64.60 seconds with only four remaining to challenge him.
The only pair to come close was Lisa Goldman-Smolen (USA) with Sovereign as the final combination on course. Denying Sweetnam the one-two finish, she piloted Barbara Disko’s 16-year-old Selle Francais stallion (Frontal x Galoubet A) across the finish line in 65.01 seconds to secure second place and pushed Sweetnam to third aboard Caraghs Quality Lady.
“I was lucky I had been around once already with Caraghs Quality Lady,” Sweetnam reflected on his plan with Alejandro. “I’d been pretty quick with her so I had a feel for the course. When I went with Alejandro, I knew the ones after me were really quick so I thought I’d try to get a bit quicker around the corners and the turns than I did with the first one.”
While Sweetnam has traveled back and forth between Traverse City and Europe to show and train, Alejandro has stayed primarily in Europe, competing at top venues.
“This year we’ve been going fast at most of the shows,” Sweetnam said about the horse’s progression. “He’s been the backup horse so he’s had to do a lot of speed classes. We’ve been getting a little quicker. This year he’s had more opportunities to go fast, and he’s beginning to get the hang of being quick without forcing it.”
“I turned back to the plank, and the start [of the turn] wasn’t great but the second half ended up being quicker,” he said, of where he thought he made up the time. “Coming home to the last I was really fast, and he was quick in the air so I think it made a difference there. He jumped really well, and I’m very happy with him.”
Sweetnam’s entire team at Sweet Oak Farm has had a successful season, from FEI jumping to pony hunters. “We love it here,” he commented. “We’ve been coming here for a long time. During COVID they ran fantastic shows here and we were here most of the summer, and same for last year we did six or seven weeks. We’re now here for a three-week spell. I find for the clients and students it’s great because they get up and running and can jump at a high level and learn to deal with that level. Then it’s also good for younger horses to get mileage; I have a good few eight-year-olds who are getting in the ring here and haven’t had much jumping this summer. It’s a great facility. The Morrisseys, Tom Blankenship, and everyone run a great show, and we’re happy to be here.”
International athletes will compete again Friday in the $37,000 CSI3* GGT-Footing Welcome Stake before Sunday’s $138,600 CSI3* Agero Grand Prix.
Final Results: $37,000 CSI3* Corcoran Group Speed
1. ALEJANDRO: 2009 RHEIN gelding by Acorado’s Ass x Continue
SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Shane Sweetnam, Seabrook LLC, and Spy Coast Farm: 0/64.60
2. SOVEREIGN: 2006 SF stallion by Frontal x Galoubet A
LISA GOLDMAN-SMOLEN (USA), Barbara Disko: 0/65.01
3. CARAGHS QUALITY LADY: 2013 ISH mare by Obos Quality x Limmerick
SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Anna Beth Athey: 0/65.45
4. CARLCHEN W: 2008 MECKL gelding by Chacco Blue x Continue
ALEX GRANATO (USA), The Bright Lights Group: 0/65.65
5. BABYCOMEBACK: 2011 SF mare by Corofino II x Joyau D’or A
ROBERTO TERAN TAFUR (COL), Trefoil Farm LLC: 0/66.24
6. HIGHWAY FBH: 2010 KWPN gelding by Plot Blue x Cornet Obolensky
JACOB POPE (USA), Team Rakowsky Equestrian LLC: 0/66.77
7. AKUNA MATTATA: 2008 AHHA mare by Quinar Z x Landwind II
NICOLE SHAHINIAN SIMPSON (USA), Silver Raven Farms: 0/66.98
8. SANTANA: 2013 HOLST gelding by Cascadello x Carthago
ROBERTO TERAN TAFUR (COL), Rocking Basilisk Farm LLC: 0/68.07
9. IDEAAL ES: 2013 KWPN gelding by Ukato x Conway
FILIPPO PIGNATTI (ITA), Take The High Road, LLC: 0/71.82
10. CAPTAIN COOPER: 2007 KWPN gelding by Namelus R x Corland
HILARY MCNERNEY (USA), Hilary McNerney: 0/72.17
11. LOVELIGHT: 2011 HOLST stallion by Lord Z x Lordship
HILARY MCNERNEY (USA), Hilary McNerney: 0/72.59
12. EXTASY: 2012 HOLST mare by Quadros x Clearway
VICTORIA KETCHUM (USA), Copperline Farm LLC: 0/73.55
Nacho Nails USHJA 4-Year-Old First Final
It was the four-year-olds’ time to shine Thursday morning in the USHJA Young Jumper Championships as 13 top young horses took to the Four-Year-Old First Final to display style and jumping abilities to claim top honors. At the conclusion of jumping, it was Nacho, owned by North Star and ridden by Aaron Perrin, who emerged the winner. The 2018 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Berlin x ) was bred by A.C. Smolders in the Netherlands.
Judged over two days of competition, four-year-old jumpers were put to the test over a course of fences set between .90m and 1.0m in height. Horses were awarded points based on jumping penalties and style points throughout the First Qualifier and the Final to determine their overall scores.
Perrin and Nacho were last on course in the Final, bringing with them a score of 65 from the First Qualifier. After jumping the final round, they added a score of 65.5, for a two-round total of 130.5 and the win by five points.
Reserve championship honors, as well as award for the highest-placing American-bred horse, went to Cuhrious Munny, ridden by Taylor Flury to a score of 125.5 overall. Flury had the ride aboard Aliboo Farm Inc.’s 2018 Oldenburg gelding (Carrasca Z x Up To Date), bred by Muny Sunk Stables Inc.
Just behind on a score of 124.5 was HFF Deep Pockets, a Holsteiner gelding (Diamant de Semilly out of Sienna) owned by High Finance Farm and bred by Nagel Bjoern, taking the third place position with Lauren Ditallo aboard.
Perrin has not had the ride aboard Nacho for long, but has come to know the young horse quickly. “He’s really starting to develop now and has started to get a lot stronger,” he said about the horse’s progression. “He still has a bit to go but I think he will be a really good horse in the next few years and hopefully a top horse for the future. He’s got a great way of jumping, he’s got a very good brain, he’s careful, he’s got a good canter, and he really likes the work.”
The course, set by Germany’s Olaf Petersen, Jr., took the young horses on a tour through the entire Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring, following three minutes of flatwork to show off the horses and get them accustomed to the atmosphere.
“I just kept on the rhythm and kept him straight,” Parrin said of his plan for the day. “It was a long, twisty course so to keep moving and try to show him off as best I can.”
Parrin, who works for Joan Jacobs and Greg Broderick, is used to campaigning young horses and has several rides among the 4-, 5-, and 6-year-olds in the 2022 USHJA Young Jumper Championships. “It’s nice to start when they’re young and have them for a few years bringing them up through the levels,” he remarked. “You get to know the horse and it’s a good way to bond and create a good partnership.”
Perrin also holds the lead after two days of competition in the USHJA Five-Year-Old Young Jumper Championships aboard the North Star entry Montana. Kelly Soleau-Millar leads the way with M. Michael Meller’s Fire Fly in the USHJA Six-Year-Old Young Jumper Championship. Patience van den Dries, owned by Copperline Farm LLC, and Victoria Ketchum hold down the lead in the USHJA Seven-Year-Old Young Jumper Championship, and Sandra Dalman with the Dalman Show Jumping entry Elite Girl lead the USHJA Eight-Year-Old Young Jumper Championship. After a day of rest Friday and Consolation rounds Saturday, the 5-, 6-, 7-, and 8-year-olds will take to their respective finals Sunday.
Final Results: USHJA 4-Year-Old Style and Jumping Championships
1. Nacho / Aaron Perrin / North Star / 130.5
2. Cuhrious Munny / Taylor Flury / Aliboo Farm Inc. / 125.5
3. HFF Deep Pockets / Lauran Ditallo / High Finance Farm / 124.5
4. HFF Blind Trust / Lauran Ditallo / High Finance Farm / 123.5
5. FF A’Lady / Timothy Gaffney / Freestyling Farms LLC / 121.5
6. Cornets Pleasure Z / Taylor Flury / Sara March / 120.5
7. S Aliblue ABF / Taylor Flury / Aliboo Farm Inc. / 120
8. Valencia / Taylor Embs / Michael Kvistad / 117.5
9. Carerra Z / Melissa Hirt / Lauren Tribble-Laucht / 115
10. Montague 18 / Lauren McGuire / Rachel Kane / 114.5
11. Joli Pomme / Emily Young / Emily Young / 108.5
12. Nikita NS / Aaron Perrin / North Star / 108