Thermal, California – November 11, 2021 – Show jumping action at the Desert International Horse Park continued on Thursday during Week II of the National Sunshine Series. As the sun set over the desert, top athletes took to the Grand Prix Arena for the highlight event, the $30,000 FarmVet Grand Prix. The crowd gathered to watch as 65 entries took on the 1.50m first round. Just three entries managed to jump clear rounds, but only two jumped off, and ultimately it was Shawn Casady (USA) back in the winners circle as the sole double-clear effort with Cortechico to claim his second grand prix win in a row.
Manuel Esparza (MEX) designed a challenging 13-obstacle track for the impressive lineup featuring a sharp rollback to an oxer-vertical-vertical triple combination, a vertical-oxer double combination, a triple bar to a careful skinny vertical, and a skinny plank vertical set across the middle. With the time allowed extended from 78 to 81 seconds, riders still had trouble crossing the beams within the allotted time and many fell victim to rails down on course or refusals as a result of tricky course design and rushing to make the time allowed.
Shawn Casady (USA) drew an early start in the order with Tiffany Sullivan’s Cortechico and rode to the first clear round in a time of 78.398, the quickest first-round time of any competitor of the night. Not far behind him was Jamie Taylor (USA) who entered the ring aboard the Spyglass Hill entry Cocoliche of Greenhill Z to guarantee a jump-off with a second clear round for the night.
Brazil’s Cassio Rivetti (BRA) made it three for the jump-off as he completed the course fault-free with Daisy 920.
Jamie Taylor (USA) took an unfortunate fall off her second mount, Quatar, later in the order and subsequently withdrew from the second round of competition, leaving just Casady (USA) and Rivetti (BRA) to battle it out in the jump-off. First to take on the short track, Casady attacked the course with Cortechico’s massive stride and natural footspeed, not taking all the inside options but blazing around the turns to cover ground and make up time. Leaving all rails intact, he crossed the timers in 39.435 seconds, putting the pressure on Rivetti to improve upon his time with a clear round.
With a smaller stride to work with than Casady (USA) had, Rivetti (BRA) used Daisy 920’s quick pace and footspeed to blaze through the track and he took all the inside turns available, going inside Casady’s footprints. Heading into the double, the last obstacle in the jump-off, it seemed Rivetti had the win in the bag, until the final oxer came down, putting them on a score of 4 faults with a time of 38.575 for second place.
Winner’s Circle – Shawn Casady (USA) $30,000 FarmVet Grand Prix
“He has a good attitude – a little bit cocky, a little bit playful and cheeky – but now that he’s matured as a horse it’s used to his advantage. It’s going to help him grow in the future to jump bigger jumps. I started riding him in the spring and I left to go do Major League in Michigan over the summer, and when I got back [Tiffany] asked if I still wanted to ride him. We’re just taking it class by class. He’s competitive, he’s winning classes, and he’s jumping clear rounds. We’ll step him up into some bigger classes and see what he does with it and hopefully we’ll keep going from there.”
On his jump-off track:
“I had to go before Cassio. I didn’t love the inside turns and in hindsight I probably could have done them but I just wanted to use his stride and pace to my advantage. I walked six or seven [strides], but he landed not looking so I opted for seven [down the first line] then I was really tight to the outside line against VIP. He walked the seven [down that line], then he was really quick to the vertical which was a plank, and then I turned a little shallow into the double. He had rubbed the back rail of B in the first round, but he flew over the oxer the second time so he learned from his mistakes.”
On making the time allowed in the first round:
“I was going to tear the course down no matter what; I wasn’t going to have a time fault. I did a leave-out across the middle. It walked a step long in five [strides] so a lot of people opted to do six, but at that point I knew he was covering a lot of ground so it was going to be a lot more work to do the six than to just do the five. He jumped it super carefully and it helped me to the green oxer by VIP. I put a little shape in the five to the last jump so I was able to really ride the back rail again.”
Final Results – $30,000 FarmVet Grand Prix
1) Shawn Casady (USA) & Cortechico – 0 / 0 – 39.435
2) Cassio Rivetti (BRA) & Daisy 920 – 0 / 4 – 38.575
3) Jamie Taylor (USA) & Cocoliche of Greenhill Z – 0 / 79.817
Source: Press Release by Tori Bilas / Phelps Media Group for Desert International Horse Park
Photos: © Phelps Sports / Tori Bilas