Wellington, FL - December 2, 2011 - Irish rider Shane Sweetnam and Spy Coast Farm LLC's Little Emir galloped to victory in the $31,000 G&C Farm 1.45m FEI ranking class on Friday at Equestrian Sport Production's Holiday and Horses event. The pair stopped the clock in 42.90 seconds to edge out Katie Dinan and Grant Road Partner's Nougat Du Vallet, who were the only other combination to make it to the jump-off. Dinan and Nougat Du Vallet finished second with their time of 45.10 seconds.
Anthony D'Ambrosio set a challenging course for the 33 entries in today's class and just the two riders were able to jump clear. An oxer to vertical double-liverpool combination caused problems for many, and a tight time allowed caught several others. Sweetnam and Dinan finished first and second, followed by three riders with time faults.
Emilie Martinsen of Denmark finished the course with one time fault in 84.76 seconds to place third on Carisma. Margie Engle and Pauly Du Breuil, owned by the Garbers, Engles and Lea Allen, had one time fault in 84.93 seconds to finish fourth. Jessica Springsteen and Stone Hill Farm's Vornado Van Den Hoendrik had three time faults in 86.22 seconds to place fifth. Columbia's Daniel Bluman and Fatalis Fatum had the fastest four fault round in 77.50 seconds to take home sixth place honors.
Following his victory, Shane Sweetnam commented on D'Ambrosio's course, saying, "I thought he did a great job today because yesterday there were a lot clear, probably too many. Today was only a 1.45m, so it was going to be tricky not to have so many clear again. The double water trays seemed to cause a lot of problems and in general the time allowed was tighter today. People were trying to go a bit quicker and just picked up rails here and there, so I thought he did a great job."
Katie Dinan was first to go in the jump-off and finished fast and clear, but Sweetnam had the advantage of watching her round to see where he could make up the time. He explained, "I was in the lucky position to be second of the two, so I saw what Katie did. She had a nice round, her horse jumped well, but she left some time early down the first line. She made the inside turn to the water trays and she did one less down the last line than I did, but I had made enough time I thought by then to take a pull. I was lucky enough to see what she had done and then I could just try to better it."
Little Emir is a 13-year-old German bred gelding that Sweetnam has been riding for five years. Of their partnership, Sweetnam noted, "He has been a great servant for me. He was actually my first horse that I did in a Nation's Cup, so I have had him a long time. He has won classes here during circuit, he placed in Aachen and Spruce Meadows this summer and he placed in Dublin, so he has been great."
"He is quite sharp and he is naturally very quick," Sweetnam said. "He has a funny mouth, but he is a very smart horse, so if you can get his eye on the jump then he is going. He is kind of sharp, but he is a real winner."
Sweetnam plans to show two of his younger horses in tomorrow night's $50,000 Holiday and Horses CSI 2*-W Grand Prix, and explained that Little Emir will have some time off and then continue to show in the 1.45m FEI ranking classes during the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival circuit. "He is a little past the bigger grand prix classes, but he can still do well in these classes, so that is where I will leave him," the rider acknowledged.
Sweetnam is looking forward to the winter circuit and has many promising horses to compete. "I have three or four coming through the ranks into the bigger classes, like the two I am doing tomorrow night, and I think they can be very successful this circuit," he stated. "Also my stallion Amaretto d'Arco will be back jumping as well, so I am hoping it is going to be a good circuit this year."
The 2011 Equestrian Sport Production's Holiday and Horses competition will continue tomorrow evening with the $50,000 Holiday and Horses CSI 2*-W Grand Prix. The week will conclude on Sunday with a $20,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby. For more information, please visit www.equestriansport.com.
Final Results: $31,000 G&C Farm 1.45m
1 LITTLE EMIR, SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), SPY COAST FARM LLC: 0/0/42.90
2 NOUGAT DU VALLET, KATHERINE DINAN (USA), GRANT ROAD PARTNERS: 0/0/45.10
3 CARISMA, EMILIE MARTINSEN (DEN), EMILIE MARTINSEN: 1/84.76
4 PAULY DU BREUIL, MARGIE ENGLE (USA), GARBERS, ENGLES & LEA ALLEN: 1/84.93
5 VORNADO VAN DEN HOENDRIK, JESSICA SPRINGSTEEN (USA), STONE HILL FARM: 3/86.22
6 FATALIS FATUM, DANIEL BLUMAN (COL), DANIEL BLUMAN: 4/77.50
7 FAUSTINO, KIRSTEN COE (USA), CAYLA RICHARDS: 4/79.21
8 GOLDMARIE 33 , SCHUYLER RILEY (USA), WOLFSTONE STABLES: 4/79.62
9 ROLETTE, SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), SPY COAST FARM LLC: 4/79.74
10 EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE 3E, HUGH GRAHAM (CAN), OLIVIA JACK: 4/80.36
11 G&C SINATRA ,PABLO BARRIOS (VEN), GUSTAVO MIRABAL: 4/80.63
12 CINCINATTI LA SILLA, JESSICA SPRINGSTEEN (USA), STONE HILL FARM: 4/ 83.10
Photo Credit: Shane Sweetnam and Little Emir won the $31,000 G&C Farm 1.45m FEI ranking class; Little Emir and Shane Sweetnam with class sponsors, Carolina and Gustavo Mirabal, of G&C Farm. Photos © ManciniPhotos, www.manciniphotos.com.