Traverse City, Michigan, USA – September 18, 2021 – The final day of Major League Show Jumping Competition got underway in the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring with the MLSJ $36,600 Cabana Coast Large Tour 1.45m Grand Prix CSI 2*. The class showcased 45 horse-and-rider combinations, ending in a competitive and close fight for the top placings. Saving the best for last to nab the win by only three-tenths of a second, Tomas Yofre (ARG) of Argentina took home the lion’s share of the prize money aboard Cardora. Karl Cook (USA) and Ircos IV secured the second place finish, while Shane Sweetnam (IRL) rounded out the top three with Alejandro.
Georgina Bloomberg (USA) set the pace during the first round of the class by being the first rider to jump Alan Wade’s (IRL) 12-obstacle course clean on Sempa Fidelis, owned by Gotham Enterprizes, LLC. After Bloomberg, nine other riders were able to complete the course without penalty to earn their right to come back to the ring to complete the shortened jump-off course.
Bloomberg (USA) again set the pace in the jump off with a second clear effort, stopping the clock in a time of 33.690 seconds. Immediately following, Christine McCrea (USA) tried to catch Bloomberg’s effort, but came up short, finishing in a time of 37.530 seconds. Cook (USA) was the next rider to take a shot on Ircos IV, a horse that he has already been successful with during the Traverse City Horse Shows series, winning the $137,000 Agero Grand Prix CSI3* just one week ago. Cook (USA) used Ircos IV’s huge stride to his advantage and easily overtook Bloomberg’s (USA) leading position to trip the timers in 33.020 seconds. Cook (USA) had extra incentive to win class, as he was looking to secure points toward the $30,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Open Jumper Rider Bonus up for grabs. Another rider known to be one that is difficult to out run in the jump off, Shane Sweetnam (IRL), tried his hand at Wade’s shortened course riding Alejandro, but fell just short of Cook’s (USA) time, crossing through the timers in 33.450 seconds.
The final rider in contention for the top title was Argentina’s Yofre (ARG) riding Stellium Sport Horse LLC’s Cardora. Yofre, who has been competing in the United States successfully for more than five years, left it all on the line as he pushed the 11-year-old Holestiner mare to victory in 32.710 seconds after galloping the last line in six strides, where all of the previous athletes had been more conservative to ride the line in seven strides. The win marked a turning point in Yofre’s (ARG) relationship with Cardora. After starting the mare in the 1.30m classes in Wellington, Florida, earlier in the year, Yofre recognized the untapped potential Cardora possessed and started working towards testing her at bigger classes throughout the summer. Yofre has high hopes for the partnership and looks forward to entering the FEI CSI5* class later in the year and in 2022.
Immediately after the MLSJ $36,600 Cabana Coast Large Tour Grand Prix 1.45m CSI2*, the MLSJ $72,900 1.45m Winning Round CSI5* took to the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring. Thirty-nine horse-and-rider pairs put their names forward to contest for the CSI5* win and the largest portion of the prize money over Alan Wade’s (IRL) 12-effort course. The clear-round pathfinder of the class would be Alex Matz (USA) and Beechwood Stables LLC’s Ibbo Van T’Keldertje, who stopped the clock in 76.74 seconds to qualify for the jump-off at the conclusion of the class. Also adding their names to the list of the 10 fastest clear rounds to qualify for the tie-breaker was Sam Walker (CAN), Brianne Goutal-Marteau (USA), Sweetnam (IRL), Grace Debney (GBR), Paul O’Shea (IRL), Shawn Casady (USA), Cook (USA) Simon McCarthy (USA) and Cormac Hanley (IRL).
Returning in reverse order of time from round one, Hanley was the first to tackle the six-obstacle shortened track with RMF Chacco Top. The pair set the standard early on, tripping the timers in 36.75 seconds with no faults to their name. McCarthy (IRL) and Matz (IRL) would try to overtake the lead, but faults on course would leave Cormac comfortably in first. Cook (USA) made a valiant effort with Kalinka, putting in a clear effort but stopping the clock in 38.34 seconds to slide into second. O’Shea (IRL) completed the next clear aboard Eye Candy Jumper’s Squirt Gun. The Irishman leapt up the leaderboard with a time of 36.070 seconds, a time that would prove to be unbeatable at the conclusion of the class. The remaining six pairs would try to catch O’Shea’s (IRL) time, but only Sweetnam and The Blue Buckle Group’s Indra Van de Oude Heihoef could come close on a time of 36.46 seconds. In the end, it would be a clean sweep for Ireland with O’Shea (IRL) and Squirt Gun taking home the top honors, Sweetnam (IRL) placing second and Hanley rounding out the top three in third.
Show jumping competition will continue Sunday, September 19 with the $25,000 SJHOF High Jr/Amateur Jumper Classic kicking off at 8:30 a.m. in the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring. The day will conclude with the $30,000 Traverse City National Grand Prix and presentation of the CaptiveOne Advisors Open Jumper Rider Bonus, which is awarded to the athlete with the most points among the field of international competitors that attend Traverse City Horse Shows.
Final Results – $36,600 Cabana Coast Large Tour Grand Prix CSI 2*
Place / Rider / Horse / R1 Faults / R2 Faults / R2 Time
1) Tomas Yofre (ARG) & Cardora – 0 / 0 – 32.710
2) Karl Cook (USA) & Ircos IV – 0 / 0 – 33.020
3) Shane Sweetnam (IRL) & Alejandro – 0 / 0 – 33.450
4) Georgina Bloomberg (USA) & Sempa Fidelis – 0 / 0 – 33.690
5) Jennifer Waxman (USA) & Scato van de Molenbrug Z – 0 / 0 – 34.790
6) Jonathan Millar (CAN) & Isotropic Shadow – 0 / 0 – 35.520
7) Christine McCrea (USA) & Julieta – 0 / 0 – 37.530
8) Ashley Vogel (USA) & Madiba AG Z – 0 / 4 – 34.590
9) Lauren Hough (USA) & Christy JNR – 0 / 8 – 35.100
10) Jonathan McCrea (USA) & Glen – 0 / 12 – 37.740
11) Christian Heineking (USA) & NKH Shiloh – 1 / 73.940
Source: Press Release from Traverse City Horse Shows
Photo: © Andrew Ryback