Las Vegas, NV - German Course designer Olaf Petersen, Jr. set a track that required precision and speed from both horse and rider in order to earn a top spot in the $35,000 Las Vegas FEI Welcome Speed Classic, presented by Park Place Foundation. Serving as a qualifier for Saturday's $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Las Vegas, presented by Interactive Mortgage, riders had their eye on a chance to compete for valuable World Cup™ points by securing a top thirty position on their declared World Cup™ mount. Brazilian Eduardo Menezes answered all the questions clean and fast and earned first place aboard his own Quintol.
Among the fifty-seven starters, twelve pairs representing Brazil, Germany, the United States and France successfully answered Petersen's questions and had fault-free rounds. The course included options for distances between bending lines as well as snug inside tracks. Among the nearly 20 four-fault scores, the jumps that fell most often were fence 8, a gray liverpool vertical set off a short turn across the middle of the arena, and fence 10, the light-in-the-cups red plank jump.
First to impress and fifth to go was American Richard Spooner, who piloted the Belgian gelding Chivas Z (owned by Little Valley Farms) quickly and clean around the course in a time of 67.43, ultimately finishing in fourth place. The twenty-eighth duo in the ring, Menezes and the Oldenburg gelding Quintol, rode a short track from start to finish in an unbeatable time of 62.01. Two more Oldenburg geldings rounded out the top three places - German rider Christian Heineking on AJE Cluny stopped the clock in 64.39, and American Will Simpson, aboard Monarch International's The Dude, in 65.20.
Menezes experienced the magic of a ride where each step went according to plan. "Fortunately, I didn't go blazing fast, but I did the strides I planned in every line and I got the green light in every turn. Quintol has a big step. It worked well for me."
Now the top horse in the Brazilian's string, the ten-year-old Quintol (Contender x Cento) caught Menezes' eye as a seven-year-old. "I looked at my partner on the day I bought him and said, 'This horse is going to take me to Rio.'"
With a ninth place individual finish in the Pan American Games, a Nations Cup win at the Spruce Meadows Masters, plus tonight's win, the pair has proven they are contenders in an international field.